In Chapter 7, Pastor Idleman takes us this week into the wonderful world of projection.
I should not say “wonderful world” because being stuck in sin and not growing beyond it; that’s not “wonderful”.
Remember the whole point of his book AHA is to shake us up from our way of life, to make us deal with the things we are doing wrong.
Here is a definition of projection:
“Projection is the misattribution of a person’s undesired thoughts, feelings or impulses onto another person who does not have those thoughts, feelings or impulses. Projection is used especially when the thoughts are considered unacceptable for the person to express, or they feel completely ill at ease with having them. For example, a spouse may be angry at their significant other for not listening, when in fact it is the angry spouse who does not listen. Projection is often the result of a lack of insight and acknowledgement of one’s own motivations and feelings.”
We could also throw in other terms to explain projection, terms like responsibility.
Have you ever been around someone who just cannot take responsibility for their actions. Responsibility gets spread around all over the place. Here is a “real life” example I just experienced today. I have an online class that I teach for my college and sometimes I get what I call “excuse” emails. I don’t call them “reason” emails because students do not provide reasons for their struggles; “excuse” emails throw responsibility all over the place. The email is full of excuses.
This online student is not doing well in my class. She does not really say that. She does not say it is “all my fault.” It is because I am not putting in the time I need for study. I don’t stay up with assignments because I don’t ever look at the due date page. When the reading gets hard, she does not admit to being a lazy reader. She gives up and does not put forth the effort to dig out the meaning. For many days I never even log on to the class website.
Here is what she says: “I went to a poor high school and my teachers did not know what they were doing. They did not challenge me with the reading assignments they gave me and they let me be lazy. My Dad and Mom never emphasized education so reading and learning was never something that was important in my life. Besides that, I have a four-year old child who had surgery and her special needs keep me from finding quiet time to study.”
Ok, it is her teachers, her parents and her child. What can I say to her when she asks me for advice about how to do better in class?
You are projecting all of your problems in my class onto everyone but yourself and you are responsible for your grade, not your teachers of the past, your parents and your child.
I don’t tell her this. This is not what she wants to hear. She does not want a teacher to be brutally honest with her.
After all, she is not being brutally honest with me.
Guess who is getting a large measure of the blame for her poor performance in the conversational area of her family and friends?