Is Projecting Constructive or Destructive?

What is projection? Projection is when we take a behavior and transfer it over to another situation. There are several applications to projection. For instance, if we have a low self image because of our weight, height, or intellect, etc., we might find someone we deem inferior to us and then put them down in an effort to make ourselves feel better. While this may sound like a negative way to boost self image, people do it every day. Gossip is a form of putting others down. How does bullying start? Because one person feels inferior to another for some reason. Perhaps they were made fun of by their peers, siblings, or sadly, their parents. Instead of being the victim, they later victimize others.

Another form of projection is to think that others should take up the same causes that you have. If you’re all for sheep eating green grass, then everyone else should be, right? If you believe that the version of Bible you read or your church is the right one, then everyone else should also, right? That’s a projection of arrogance and superiority. That line of thinking says that you are the only one who thinks correctly and promotes you as perfect. Others perceive you to be haughty and overbearing and you don’t understand why they don’t see things your way. Sound familiar? I’ve been there before. On some issues, I still am, but I try to be open-minded, while still staying grounded in the Word, led by the Holy Spirit. That is the crux of life as a Christian. It is who Jesus Christ left us, the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. But are we truly listening? Are we being guided? Did we hear the Holy Spirit tell us to argue with others? Let’s see, the Holy Spirit’s character is to comfort, to bring forth truth, to establish peace. No, I don’t think the Holy Spirit ever told me to argue with a friend or family member.

Then one of the ways projection hurts Christianity the most is by those who project their own mindset, their own thoughts, or the actions of others towards them on God and on Christians in general. Because, somewhere, someone professing to be a Christian hurt them and they decided ‘how could Christianity be real? How could God be real? How could God love me if I have these thoughts? How can I trust another ‘Christian?’ How can I trust another church?’ Well, here’s my answer, 1. God did NOT cause any bad things to happen to you! He didn’t give you or anyone else bad thoughts! God is LOVE! He Loved you so much, and everyone else in this world, that he gave up his own son to die and brought him back to life. You may say, ‘Well he knew he was going to bring him back.’ Oh? Why? Because he’s God? So then you Do Believe in God? Because everything within us cries out for our creator and if we nearly die, we cry out to him. Don’t let a near death experience test you to find out. Get off the fence and follow his Son, who was a perfect example of a human being and perfect love. 2. Mankind will fail. There’s not a single person out there who’s not going to disappoint you at some point. There are few, very few Christians who lead a life sold out completely to follow Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to lead them. Everyone has a weakness they won’t relinquish control over. 3. As far as thinking others think like you, there are some people who are not out to hurt you and who have very pure motives. If you’re tuned into the Holy Spirit, you’ll know which ones are pure and who to avoid.

There’s another area of projection I’ve seen Christians do in their walk, that thwarts their spiritual growth. Some Christians may think another believer has more spiritual knowledge than they do, so they belittle the one they deem beyond them. Or perhaps they’re afraid to move forward with God, to take the next step, so they criticize everything another believer says or believes, putting down their church or doctrine.

Jesus wasn’t looking for a set of rules, he came to free us from the law! He wasn’t here to participate in sacraments, traditions or even a church, nor a building, he was looking for true worshippers, whose lives were lived by example, those who would follow him. He wanted those who were led by the Holy Spirit, doing the Father’s will. His “church” was/is not bound by walls, or certain days. If we project anything as Christians, May it be the love of Jesus Christ, faithfulness, gentleness, self- control, grace, compassion, patience, peace, comfort, and joy.

John 4:23-24 But the time is coming-indeed it’s here now-when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Hebrews 8:1-2 Here is the main point: We have a High Priest who sat down in the place of honor beside the throne of the majestic God in heaven. There he ministers in the heavenly Tabernacle, the true place of worship that was built by the Lord and not by human hands.

Did Jesus Die for Those Without Sin?

Did Jesus only have compassion on saints and ‘good’ Christians? Or was his compassion on sinners? Was his ministry only to those who had never been saved? Did he only minister to those who lived “right?” Did the people in the Bible live a life committed fully to God, always? Rahab, Tamar, David, Bathsheba, Solomon, Saul-Paul, Zaccheus, the Kings, tax collectors, prostitutes, harlots, thiefs, murderers, (to name a few}? Who are the ones who need Jesus, the sinners and the ones not living for him, or the ones fully committed to Him? That’s a trick question, because the answer is all. We all need Jesus. 

But I’ve noticed many times that “churches & Christians” only accept a few sinners and other “Christians” based on conditions or legalities. Many times, these same churches hold their ministers up to a different standard than that of other Christians, but Matthew 23 has a good teaching on this, in that we only have one Father – God and one teacher – the Messiah. It is when we put ministers on pedestals and they accept that worship instead of turning it over to God, that they face the greatest danger of falling off the pedestal or throne. 
  

There are times that we, as Christians, have certain expectations for those who attend church, our fellow members, whether they are grounded in faith or not, we think that those who are converted are suddenly supposed to be without sin. Although in some cases, God does work in a very quick way to rid a person of most of the sins in their lives, it is usually a slow progression that the Holy Spirit convicts each individual of things in their lives that are not amenable to the life of a Christian. We are not instantly ‘set apart’ but it is a progressive salvation. We are gently and constantly reproved by the HOLY SPIRIT, NOT BY MAN. Sure there are times that a minister must point out repeated blatant sins that might be offensive or lead others astray; instead of allowing someone to live in a state of sin, but it isn’t a list that can be handed to someone or a church’s bylaws or legalities that can set someone on the ‘straight and narrow’ path. It is gentle reproof and love. But it is usually the churches whose doctrine is steeped in legalism, traditions, rules, and regulations, that drive away the newly converted tender hearts of  Christians, back into a life of sin. If only, these churches allowed God to be God, the Father, who is able to nurture, love, give comfort and compassion, to gently reprove, through the Holy Spirit, without a litany of laws. Bedsides, Jesus REDEEMED us FROM the law. Man has reintroduced new laws, traditions, and religion over the years and has termed them the ‘correct way to live or THE religion to follow.’ Yet the correct way to live is guided by the Holy Spirit alone. 

Galatians 5:16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

1 Corinthians 2:15-16 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. For, “Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

When we are saved, we are given the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. We are given the mind of Christ. We must renew our minds by reading the Bible and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal truth to us and through those who are put in Spiritual authority in our lives, but we must choose them wisely. God is our ultimate authority and if the person we are following is not following God or the Word, we need to find someone who is. Jesus is our teacher through the Holy Spirit. May we all grow in the Word through Grace and fellowship, preferring others before ourselves. May we submit to God and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and when we are convicted; may we have the strength and desire to turn from it. May we love and accept each other in our individual walks where we are. When the Spirit leads, let those who are mature, help those who are not, in love, not condemnation, but by example. 

Prayer: I ask for you Father to touch all who read this to allow the Holy Spirit to be their ultimate inspiration and convictor. In Jesus name. Amen!

Grace

I was thinking this morning of the phrase WWJD? It is a good reminder many times of how we should behave, but it is so incomplete. A better reminder might be WDJD? (What DID Jesus Do?) He died on the cross, which is true, but what did that mean? Was it simply a sacrifice for our sins? Was it our ‘ticket’ to eternal life? While those are also true, it is so much more.

He abolished the law that man interprets (and misinterprets) and that man uses to guide his way through life. In its place, he supplanted us with His Spirit that directs us into Truth. The law can only reprove and correct, but the acceptance of his Mercy and Grace redeems us and imparts his Spirit. Words spoken from an obedient son:

“Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is from the Father who sent me. I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” – John 14:23-26

“But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate[a] won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me… When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’” John 16: 7-9&13-15

Posted below is a blog I wrote on Grace a couple of years ago at this time, it bears repeating.

Grace.