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Monday, May 20, 2013

Protecting People’s Deepest Selves

“... the real meaning of what people think is out there actually lies within them.”
— Richard M. Gula (Italics in original)
This, above, is an acute spiritual reality—one that commands our sincerest attention: what we accept as truth inwardly projects outwardly, via our behaviour, gestures and words.
Jesus said a similar thing in Matthew 12:34: “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” What we have stored within us eventually emits outwardly.
Now there are a few dimensions to consider. Firstly, upon recognising we project our deepest selves we must rationalise that people will attribute and judge our behaviour. We, too, will attribute and judge ourselves, just as we attribute and judge what others project of themselves onto their world. Secondly, there is the opportunity to provide protection regarding these projections. As a minister I’ve had to learn that innocent and naïve projections from others need to be guarded; I have no right to abuse the power people give me, sometimes without even their own knowledge. I have learned that the most responsible thing to do when dealing with other people’s projections—views they have formed of the world—is to gradually and sensitively return them to them, and best in ways they can learn and, thus, become more empowered. This is called speaking the truth in love.
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We so often share more than we would later feel comfortable.
It is, therefore, a wonderful thing to share things, including the projections of our inner hearts, within the realm of safety; in a place where the person we trust may have power, but they choose to use that power responsibly, diligently, morally, dignifying the other person.
We must learn to protect people’s projections, not gossiping about them, nor judging them, or criticising them. We have been allowed passage into another’s inner world. What right do we have to trample their inner garden?
Especially for the minister, or anyone in authority, there is the role of responsible power deployment. Power has been vested in us; to play a role. God requires we play the role responsibly, diligently, morally, dignifying the other person.
More than this; we do people a great service of love when we carry their projections, and contain them, even linking them to a better point of liberation of soul.
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When someone trusts us we have a responsibility to honour their trust; to be responsible, diligent, moral, dignifying them. What they say they believe from deep within them. It is precious ground. When we traipse gently through the garden of the inner person we get beautiful opportunities to journey with them toward healing and faith. We must respect what we wish to protect.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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