More on Projection
"How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."1
Sometimes, though not always, the thing that upsets us in others is the problem that we have never resolved in ourselves.
On one occasion right after I conducted a short personality test, which included only one brief question about sexual attitude, I was approached by a woman who said to me, "Wow, you sure have hang-ups about sex, don't you!"
I replied, "And how old were you when you were sexually abused?"
She looked at me in amazement and said, "How did you know?"
I said, "You just told me."
Another common example is when a preacher or a moralist continually condemns a particular sin that he is obsessed about, you can be pretty sure that that's his problem—either overtly or covertly. These people project their own problem onto others. Because it's their problem, they suspect it's other people's problem too. Or to compensate for their guilt they condemn others for what they themselves are doing or secretly want to do.
It's no wonder Jesus told us to get rid of the plank out of our own eye before we tried taking a speck of sawdust out of anybody else's.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please face me with all of my character issues and faults so I won't project or dump them onto others, and so I can bring them to the light for your healing touch. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Jesus in Luke 6:42 (NIV).