I’ve been told that the word “projection” is used in psychology. It refers to an individual “projecting” certain characteristics of their own or someone else’s onto another person. That’s a paraphrase, but I hope you understand. Perhaps you’ve been the “victim” of that kind of behavior. Maybe in an argument with someone you’re close to?
For example, someone accused you of being a show-off when you were able to complete a task in a rapid time, when in fact you were just relieved to get it done as quickly as you did. They called you a show-off because for them it would’ve been a “bragging point” if they’d been able to do it as fast as you had. Make any sense? How about this one . . . you’re accused of being selfish because you offer to take someone somewhere instead of letting them drive your car since your insurance doesn’t cover another driver. The fact is the other person is being selfish in assuming you can risk letting them drive your car without having them insured, not to mention they’ve had several driving infractions.
The point of this is how many people do you know in the world who project their “opinions” of human beings on the Lord? In many of my conversations with various unbelievers I’ve had to explain that as much as an individual might profess Christianity, they are still fallible. Some follow Jesus with love and grace, and others have made their own brand of religion which they decide to name “Christianity” because they don’t know what that label really means. I explain to the person if they’re banking on humans to be a perfect representation of who Jesus Christ is in His fullness, they will never be satisfied, they will always be disappointed, and they will always be able to find fault somehow. The same sinfulness that runs through their veins runs through ours as believers. No "normal" human lived a sinless life and then gave that life for the entire human race.
This New Year gives us another opportunity to examine our relationship with our Lord, our loved ones, our associates. Since God decided to allow us to be His representatives/ambassadors on this earth, how are we doing? Is our speech seasoned with salt, avoiding coarse language, filled with His insight, always ready to give a reason for our faith? This isn’t about resolutions, it’s about inventory. Improvement. Advancement. Reality.
There isn’t a lot of guess work in the biblical instructions for our conduct. Yeah, we chafe at some of them, quite frankly. Somebody cuts us off on the freeway and then slows down?! Give me a break. Someone rants at us without reason in a work situation. Retaliation anyone? Someone in a position of influence in the church is seen doing something very ungodly. Terrific. Have you ever wanted to stay angry at someone long after the sun has gone down and risen again? How about these? “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be any obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:3-5 (NIV)
This is about inventory. If someone in the world is “projecting” Jesus on you, does it turn out favorably? Are you representing your Savior, the one you claim as Lord, in a manner worthy of the name “Christian”? Or are you playing the role when it’s comfortable but abandoning it when it’s not? Who are you, really?
“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:26-27 (NIV)
Well . . . maybe it’s time to examine what we value, how we conduct ourselves, why we believe what we do, and when we intend to demonstrate it.
Those of us who wake up in 2007 have been given time to consider all these things in our faith, who we are in Christ, and ultimately why we do what we do. And we have the opportunity to go deeper into the One who gives us life both here and ever after. How could we not?
Have a faith-filled, Spirit-led, blessed and fulfilling New Year.
Heavenly Father, thank you for my life in you. Jesus, you have given me the ultimate in you. There is nothing better. Nothing. Help me to listen to your instruction and evaluation, and then help me to be more like you every day of my life. In the Name of Jesus, Amen