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? 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 and possibly his entire life. 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 tainted filters led to wrong imaginations about who He was and why He was doing what He was doing. This led to their wrong perceptions and their hatred and continuous attacks against Him.
We aren’t always innocent as Jesus was. Sometimes we have contributed to those wrong perceptions and we need to learn and mature in wisdom to avoid them. When you are misunderstood by someone, you can’t always fix the problem. Sometimes others are the problem. You can only continue on doing what you are doing from a right heart and pray through it to try to keep yourself from being overcome by hurt and tainted with bitterness and resentment.
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 issues another person has, you may never be able to protect yourself except to keep your distance from that kind of person. But, in order to keep your own heart right, Covey’s principle is great: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Don’t jump to conclusions about someone, deducting why they are doing or saying what they are. It may not be any of your business and you may just be being a busybody. If it is your business and you find yourself thinking negative things about someone who could be you misunderstanding their intentions, then communication with them and find out. Get it out of the imagination zone where you are susceptible to your own wrong imaginations and false conclusions. It is what you’d want others to do with you.
God, through the Apostle Paul, gave us the most important truth to keep our imaginations about others right, if we would live by it. In his teaching on love he says in 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NKJV) “love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” The word “bears” is a Greek work that means to assume the best about someone. “Hopes all things,” is related; meaning that loves hopes the best of everyone in every situation. “Endures all things,” means that because of love, there is a diligent effort to protect the relationship.
This word “love” is the word agape and it’s the God-kind-of-love. He wants you to love others with this kind of love. He wants you not to draw negative conclusions about someone from imaginations that are uninformed, but instead assume the best. If you are going to imagine anything about anyone without knowing the facts, then he wants you to believe the best, hope the best and protect them and yourself from bad imaginations. Because you love them with an agape love, if you are misunderstanding something about them, then go and ask if it’s appropriate. If it’s none of your business, assume the best and let it go.
When you walk out this kind of love in your life, it changes you. The Holy Spirit turns you from a skeptical negative person, into an upbeat, think-the-best kind of person. Over time it changes your character and helps you be misunderstood less and less. If you will live by God’s agape love, then even though someone may misunderstand you, at least you can keep your heart right toward them. If you are misunderstood, 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 2:34-35 (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,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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