I’ve had a pretty much conflict-free life. I’d never really felt misunderstood before. I definitely didn’t know how to respond, I actually didn’t even recognize it, at first. My response was, oh I didn’t know that about myself and I went on a journey to try to fix everything wrong with myself. Now, when someone brings criticism your way, you should always take time to weigh it and ask if it’s legitimate. If it is, then acknowledge it and work to fix it. If it’s not, then dismiss it and be grateful you have someone in your life willing to challenge you.
It turns out I lacked the ability in that season to discern what was legitimate and what was not. So I tried to fix all of it and I found myself in a bit of a talespin. It wasn’t until God literally shouted into my soul, “Stop seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes” that I stopped and said, “huh?” It turns out several lies had taken root in my soul and I had to step back and remember the truth.
I now know what feel what it’s like to be misunderstood in several different ways and I’m oddly ok with that- most days anyway. We all feel misunderstood from time to time. So why are we misunderstood and what should we do?
When we feel misunderstood it is because we are being treated in a way that is inconsistent with how we view oursleves. This means one of two things.
1.) Your self-view is wrong
2.) They don’t see the real you.
Listen, the reality is even the most self aware people still have blindspots. When someone brings something to your attention it is usually worth considering. Pause a moment and ask if there is part of what they’re saying that is correct. Talk to the people who know you best and ask if there is any validity to the claim. If there is then you now have the opportunity to grow, and it’s not easy, but it’s a gift they gave to you, rather they meant it to be positive or not. If you determine what they claim is not valid you then you can dismiss the claim outright and move on, or try to correct their perspective.
The reality is at times some people will just not see the real you. They will misread your intentions and misunderstand your motivations. You have to determine if it is necessary to try and show them who you really are or to just have confidence in who you are. Most of the time, the latter is the best course of action. I truly believe that over time, your true character will be revealed and win out. However, there may be moments when you need to stand up and clarify your position. Ultimately you have to comfortable with who you are and where you stand with God.
Romans 2:29 (NLT) …a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.
No one can truly know your motives but you. If your heart is pure, you’re intentions are honest and you’re right with God then you can’t let what other people think weigh you down. I know the opinions of some carry more weight than others. I know it’s hard to not let offense take hold in your life. So if you feel misjudged, or misunderstood today then I challenge you to pray. First, remind yourself of who you are in Christ and how He sees you. Second, pray for the one who misunderstands you, really pray for them. Pray for them as you would pray for yourself. Pray for God’s blessing, provision, joy, to fill their lives. Over time this kind of prayer enables you to release offense and treat them with the love of Jesus.
After all, that is our ultimate goal as Christians. To love people as Jesus loves us.