“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5
Projection: the attribution of one’s own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people or to objects Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Jesus was able to clearly outline the mechanism of projection long before more modern psychology had a name for it. The process of ascribing an attribute in ourselves onto someone else, then judging it, has been a part of the human condition since- well, forever.
Jesus correctly called upon people to clear their own eyes before they can accurately assess the problems with someone else. If we have a speck in our own eye, it actually, due to its close presence, looks, and sometimes feels, like a “plank”. It inhibits us from seeing things very well. We are not in a position to be able to see something amiss in another person’s eye, or heart as it may be, to offer a remedy. We need to get our own sight better first. Jesus went on to suggest that once we deal with our own problems, we may well be able to help a brother or sister with the same affliction.
My typical discussion with clients is the need to find personal healing by sharing their story for the benefit of someone else going through the same or similar problem. In this way, we get out of the pity, as well as the projection problems that can beset us, as we work to help another person.
But first, we need to see clearly in order to do that. We own our problems, work to deal with them, then we share our story for the benefit of others.
First step- we get the plank out of our own eye.
Prayer: Thank you Father for the wisdom of Jesus on human nature. He knows us better than we know ourselves, Amen.