Don’t Take It Personally
If one out of six of your friends were to speak badly about you to others, you would have something in common with Jesus. For example, Judas sold Jesus for the equivalent of $30 and even Peter denied him three times in his time of need. And some of those worshippers who greeted him with palms and praises were the same who were later shouting “crucify him!”
You might be a lovely person, treating all you meet with kindness, and still be at risk of abuse and defamatory remarks. But does that mean you should take it personally?
Most of us unconsciously speak poorly of others for any number of reasons that have little to do with the truth. We project our issues – whether they be feelings of shame, indignation, jealousy or fear. Some of these issues may be acute, while others may be so deeply imbedded in our subconscious that we barely know they exist.
For example, when Virginia Dunstone was a little girl, her father took her fishing. Little Virginia wandered off to a nearby pier and fell into the water. Not knowing how to swim, she began to struggle and became very anxious. When she looked over at the shore for her father, his back was turned. Fortunately, there was someone nearby who ran over and pulled her from the water. Ever since that incident many years ago, Virginia sometimes became anxious when her husband’s back was turned toward her. The husband never knew what he had done.
I believe that which we see in others is often that which lies within us – both good and bad.
The Hebrew word “ayin” refers to the human eye and also means fountain. Normally, we think of the eye as registering information from the outside to be interpreted by the brain. However, the eye is also like a fountain because we tend to see that which we already believe.
Jesus understood the psychological tendency of projection and said to “first remove the log out of one’s own eye before attempting to remove splinter out of someone else’s.”
If another person has a strong emotional reaction to you, it may very well be that they are projecting their unhealed stuff onto you. Of course, it’s important to evaluate their criticism to see if there is any truth to it, but if after analysis, you find that their statements are inaccurate, then assume their reaction is a projection and remember to “don’t take it personally” – and just as importantly, be careful when tempted to speak badly about others, for it might just be you!
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