Projection

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“Why do you look at the splinter in your neighbor’s eye and never see the log in your own eye?”

Some of our citizens may be confused by all the accusations of fraud and cheating in regard to to our election and the president’s inability to believe the election results. On the other hand, many of us are not surprised. The president has revealed a long standing habit of projecting on other people his own negative behaviors and impulses. While I am no psychologist or expert in diagnosing human disorders, I can recognize certain personality types. I offer my opinion for your consideration as someone who has lived a long life and met many different types of people.

If, as it seems to me, this man lives within a world view where he believes everyone has the same negative motivations and impulses as himself, it would be easy for him to project on others. It would be easy for him to believe that others will do or have done exactly what he would do in the situation. So, what he accuses others of doing is something he has first thought of in his own mind. If he would cheat, than everyone else would cheat, too. Underneath is the belief that the only thing that prevents negative behavior is fear of getting caught.

We all see a man in this president who can never admit to making a mistake or to having any flaws. Only a person who has developed a brazen sense of pride will be locked into a position like that one. Such a person has set himself up as superior over all other men and therefore will automatically shift all that is negative about himself on to other people. He will even believe what he says about them is true. It is natural for someone like this to believe he has been seriously harmed and to react with anger when his superior position is challenged in any way. He can never admit to defeat.

Those who worked to ensure a legitimate and secure election are dumbfounded at the accusations of fraud. The media reporting today continue with quizzical inquiries about the lack of evidence for any illegal or fraudulent voter activity, wondering out loud how such law suits can even go to court. Notwithstanding the confusion, the realization we need to make is that when someone displays an arrogant pride and then projects on others, he actually believes the projection. His opinion is as strong as a fact in his mind. He projects the fraud he can imagine doing himself on to others and then believes it must be true. Because of his superiority, he cannot be the loser. How do we react to this behavior? I am not sure, except, I guess, to wait it out, and pray.

Excessive pride is revealed in a heightened disrespect for other people, and we have certainly witnessed this behavior from the president. Having said this, we need to understand that excessive pride is most often a cover for fear and insecurity. I am not talking about the pride we take in our accomplishments, but a constructed pride that is spread over a person like a coat of paint, hiding poor self-worth and concealing shame. It is a sad thing and we need to have compassion and be curious about a person’s upbringing. What happened to the child that led to the man?

A person with a protective pride will often be driven to criticize others constantly, pointing out their shortcomings, belittling them at every opportunity, becoming a bully and given to name-calling. Relationships are nearly impossible to maintain with this kind of character flaw. It makes for a sad and humorless life. When I see our president, I see a humorless and unhappy person. I feel a sadness for him but also for us, because we are caught in his dysfunction.

While Matthew 7: 3 is a warning for all of us to avoid the temptation to judge others without first considering our own failings, we need to recognize that a person with excessive pride needs healing only God can provide. It is okay to discern the need for healing and to be moved to compassion. The problem is too big for us to fix. The only thing I believe we can do is pray for healing, while at the same time protecting ourselves from the harm that can come from his impulses. May God have mercy.

In the meantime, we need to be careful of our own temptations to judge others too harshly. The cure for such temptation is to realize that we are all flawed and imperfect beings. We need to be vulnerable and acknowledge that nobody is perfect, and God is okay with the way we are. God created us just as we are, knowing our natures, and still loving us fiercely. We don’t always have to be right, we don’t have to be perfect, to be loved. So, let us recognize our inherent worth as created in the image and likeness of God. We have a natural dignity and worth. Let that dignity shine.

If we allow the dignity of our creation to settle deep into our hearts we will recognize the dignity and worth of our neighbors, too. We can stand alongside one another with no need to feel superior or subordinate to anyone. We share a common human condition. We are members of one race, the human race, all children of the One God, who is Creator.

My beloved ones, pray for one another, forgive often, have compassion toward all, and shine.

Bishop Kedda

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