Have you ever felt misunderstood? Have you ever felt like you’ve gotten off on the wrong foot with someone and they have the wrong view or perception of who you really are and your intentions? And now the ongoing relationship is affected in a negative way by that wrong perception? And on top of that—and to seemly make things worse—there are contributing circumstances that only reinforce that wrong perception and you can’t seem to undo it?
Welcome to the land of being misunderstood. I don’t know of anyone who has not felt this at one time or another. It’s a hard place. Jesus went through it for most of His ministry. Some loved and embraced Him. Some stood back at arm’s length from Him in doubt, not sure of who He really was and what He was about. And some absolutely misunderstood Him and drew the wrong perception of Him; literally hating Him.
One thing we know for sure. Jesus did not contribute to their wrong perceptions. Those that had them had them because of their own issues. Their issues led to their wrong perceptions and their hatred and continuous attacks against Him. We aren’t always innocent. Sometimes we have contributed to those wrong perceptions and we need to learn and grow to avoid them.
When you have this kind of situation going on, you can’t always fix the problem with someone. Sometimes they are the problem. You can only pray through it and try to keep yourself from being hurt and tainted with bitterness and resentment from the pain that could come from it.
One of my favorite non-Bible quotes is from Steven R. Covey. He says, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” He calls this the principle of mutual understanding. You can’t always protect yourself from other’s wrong perceptions other than from trying to learn what is causing them and do better. When they result from inward issues the other person has, you may never be able to protect yourself except to keep your distance from that kind of person. But, to keep your own heart right Covey’s principle is great. If you will not jump to conclusions about someone or why they are doing or saying what they are, and instead try to have good communication to understand their heart, that alone will usually improve the situation if, in fact, it can be improved.
The Apostle Paul gave us the most important truth from God that would keep our hearts right if we lived by it. In teaching on love he says in 1 Cor. 13:7 love “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” “Bears” is a Greek work that means to cover or give protection. “Bears all things,” means that we assume the best to protect the relationship. “Hopes all things,” is related; meaning that loves hopes the best in every situation. “Endures all things,” means that because of love, there is perseverance— diligent effort to protect the relationship.”
If we will live by God’s truth and instruction out of His agape love that indwells us, then though someone else may misunderstand you, at least you can keep your heart right. You may still hurt and feel pain, but Jesus did, too. And yet He forgave those who crucified Him. He is our role model.
I pray for any and all of you that are suffering from being misunderstood today. I pray that truth and love will prevail in that relationship and that you will become a champion of loving as God taught regardless!
Luke 2:33 (Message Bible) “Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother, This child marks both the failure and the recovery of many in Israel, A figure misunderstood and contradicted— the pain of a sword-thrust through you— But the rejection will force honesty, as God reveals who they really are.”
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.