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--How to Overcome Them!       Maria #180 DO 2839 9/90
--From a Talk with a Staff Member
--By Maria

       1. There's a very big difference between someone doing something to deliberately hurt or wrong you, & someone doing something unintentionally that you merely interpret as an act against you. The reason you have stored up so many grudges & bitternesses & negative feelings against others is not because you have actually been deliberately wronged & mistreated, but because you have misinterpreted others' words & actions to be malicious & malevolent. You've imagined that others were intentionally trying to hurt you. However, the reality is that they never meant any harm or hurt to you at all.
       2. As you recall, when we met together not long ago, you related to us several past incidents that still bothered you, in which you felt that people had deliberately wronged you or tried to hurt you, or at least that they had misunderstood you or didn't like you. Thank the Lord, we were then able to set the record straight by showing you how none of us had ever meant to harm or mistreat you at all, & that your conclusions regarding those events were a result of a misunderstanding or misinterpretation on your part. We love you, & would never have deliberately done anything to hurt you.
       3. In light of what you learned then, I think you should now be able to say to yourself, "Well, if I was wrong about those particular incidents, I could very easily have been wrong about an awful lot of other incidents as well!--So maybe I should just consider that my interpretation of all of them was incorrect, & just `erase erase' & forget them all & start over with a new clean slate!"
       4. Knowing that you have drawn some wrong conclusions along those lines should sort of relieve you & help you to realise that a lot of those times when you've thought people were purposely mistreating you or mishandling you, that was just the way you took it, & they weren't really meaning to hurt you or do anything wrong to you at all. So since you don't know now which incidents were intentional & which weren't, or which were real or which were imagined, then that should make it easier for you to just forget all those negative past experiences & forgive the people involved & start over again! You really don't need to worry about those things.
       5. Even if you feel quite certain that someone has intentionally wronged or mistreated you, you should still forgive & "be not bitter against them!"--Col.3:19. Whether people intentionally hurt you or not, the best thing to do & the best habit to form is to give them the benefit of the doubt & look on the positive & the bright side, put things in the best light.--Look at things with love, which covers a multitude of sins. (1Pet.4:8.)
       6. Just say to yourself, "Even if they did deliberately harm me, I'm going to refuse to harbour such thoughts, or let the poison of bitterness seep into my life over this! Either I'm wrong in thinking that they were deliberately harming me, or they were wrong in intentionally doing that to me. But whatever the case, I'm going to `erase erase!'--Otherwise, I could be guilty of accusing them falsely. So even if they were wrong, I'm going to forgive them just as I would want them to forgive me if I had done something wrong to them."
       7. In other words, if they wronged you by actually doing something deliberately against you, you should still forgive them. And if you've wronged them by accusing them falsely for something that they didn't intend or deliberately do, you would want them to forgive you. And since the fault probably lies much more on your part than others' part, you need to forgive them for their few sins so you'll be forgiven for your many. (See Mat.6:14-15.)

       Beware of the "Accuser" & His Devices!
       8. We know that the Enemy is the "accuser of the Saints" (Rev.12:10), that's his job, & he does it with a vengeance! If he knows you're an easy target, he'll accuse others to you all the time, & he'll throw all the lies & doubts & mistrust about your brothers & sisters at you that he can come up with! Since you know that's his job, that he's the accuser of the Saints, you should be very wary & hesitant to ever accept anything that's negative about others. You need to remember that since he's also the "father of lies" & the "author of confusion" (Jn.8:44; 1Cor.14:33), his accusations are usually false & are designed to confuse, divide & trip you up!
       9. But I'm afraid that all too often your first reaction has been to allow him to accuse others to you, charging them with all kinds of things of which they weren't even guilty. By just swallowing the Devil's lies & accusations against others without questioning or prayerfully inquiring to see if these things be so, you are "answering a matter before you really hear it, & it will be a folly & shame unto you."--Pro. 18:13. If you harbour & hold on to the Enemy's accusations against others without even going to the accused parties, then you're not allowing them the possibility of clearing themselves of those false charges.
       10. Now that you have already recognised & acknowledged that the Enemy has confused & hindered you in the past by causing you to question & doubt & misinterpret others' treatment of you, you should really be on your guard about those kinds of things. You should be especially on guard when you're being tempted to get on that negative track & you start thinking thoughts like, "How could so-&-so have possibly done that to me?"
       11. Whenever you find yourself thinking thoughts like this, that should be an automatic warning to you that you're getting on the wrong channel. And if you find it surprising or hard to believe that someone would actually do to you what you're imagining or supposing that someone did, the very fact that you're finding it hard to believe should be a pretty good indication to you that they probably didn't deliberately do whatever it is you're imagining they did.
       12. You are no longer "ignorant of the Devil's devices" (2Cor.2:11), & you know that he will do anything he can to try to divide & set us at odds against each other; causing disunity & friction by his distortions, doubts, exaggerations, suppositions, half-truths & outright lies! So you should now be able to give others the benefit of the doubt when you're hit with such critical thoughts about them, & just say, "Maybe I'd better check this out, maybe this isn't the whole story! Maybe this isn't really accurate!--The way I'm interpreting this could very well be the wrong way to look at things! Maybe the Devil is just lying to me!" Then just go to the person & try to talk it over, or write them a note. And if for some reason it's not possible or practical to talk with them, it's a lot safer to just figure that you're wrong in that negative outlook.--"Well, I've probably just gotten the wrong interpretation."

       Putting the "Positive
Construction" on Things!
       13. Try to put the positive construction on things that happen between you & others, & look at them in a positive way instead of a negative way. If you don't know that they intentionally hurt you, it's much safer to give others the benefit of the doubt than it is to question or criticise their motives & possibly falsely accuse them. For example, if someone seems a little curt or grumpy towards you, you could give them the benefit of the doubt by figuring, "The reason they snapped at me is probably not because they're mad at me personally, but because they're just tired or not feeling well."
       14. After all, it's not always easy for people to act bubbly & happy towards everyone if they've had a rough night or if they're afflicted with a headache, backache, or some other affliction that is causing them pain, discomfort or discouragement. So if someone doesn't give you a cheerful, enthusiastic welcome or response or greeting or whatever, try not to take it so personally, maybe they need encouragement from you! Or even if it seems like they abruptly cut off a conversation with you, you could give them the benefit of the doubt by saying to yourself, "It's not because they don't like talking with me; they probably just had something else that they had to do."
       15. Whenever any of us are a little preoccupied or rushed or burdened about something or we don't have time for all the niceties, we should make an effort to explain our actions to others, & thus hopefully prevent any of these kinds of misunderstandings. We can say, "Please don't worry, I'm not upset with you. It's just that I'm tired," or "I don't feel well" or whatever.
       16. But if something happens between you & someone, & you wonder about it & they don't remember to explain it to you, why don't you just try to be a little more charitable towards them & tell yourself, "Maybe he's just tired. It's not because he doesn't like me or because he's upset about something I did." Of course, in a case like that you can always ask them. But if you're unable to ask, try to take the positive view of it, not the negative.
       17. If you can be satisfied with your non-critical conclusion that, "Oh, they're probably just tired," then that's fine, you don't even need to ask. The only reason you need to ask is to satisfy yourself so you won't feel bad or hold a grudge. But if something's going to bother you, then you should ask, because often people don't think to explain why they were curt or why they didn't smile or why they were hurried or why they didn't acknowledge you, etc. You can say something simple like, "Are you upset with me, or did I do something wrong?"
       18. Of course, many times people don't even realise that they were acting a certain way. And sometimes you might get the impression that someone spoke or acted in a questionable manner, when in reality they did nothing wrong at all; it's just that the Enemy either lied to you or exaggerated things in order to try to cause division, discouragement or to make you upset or bitter towards that person.
       19. Someone recently said in a report, "I'm learning to try to always explain those sorts of things to others & tell them, `Oh, I'm sorry I didn't smile or say hi this morning, it's nothing against you at all, I was just in a hurry.'" Of course, it would be better if we could all cultivate the habit of smiling & try not to be so hurried or preoccupied that we inadvertently cause others to wonder if we're upset or unhappy with them personally. But if sometimes we don't smile, or we do something that could cause someone a trial along these lines, we should at least try to correct it by apologising afterwards.
       20. So if you could learn to put the positive construction or interpretation on others' actions, then you wouldn't be so susceptible to holding grudges or feeling bitter against them. If you can say to yourself, "Well, it must be because they're tired or because they have so much on their mind," & let it go at that, you'll have a lot less problems with feeling badly towards others. Or, "I'm sure the reason they didn't smile at me must be because they just came out of a serious meeting about some problems & now they're a little burdened about it," or something. Or if you're used to receiving a lot of attention & correction from someone, & you don't get it for a while, you could interpret it positively by thinking, "The reason they haven't corrected me so much this past week is not because they've given up on me, but because the Lord's helping me to do better on my NWOs, TYJ!"
       21. Try to be like Pollyanna & play her "Glad Game." Try to look at things from the most positive viewpoint & it will spare you a lot of trouble & worry & concern & getting upset or feeling bothered. As I said earlier, the best thing to do when you have a problem because you don't understand something someone has said or done is to ask them about it. But if you're able to just let it pass & say, "It's probably just because they were tired, or they were sick, or they didn't feel well, or they forgot, or they were in a hurry, or they were burdened & preoccupied with something else, or they misunderstood what I wanted, or I misunderstood what they said," or whatever, then that's fine too, you don't even have to ask them, you don't have to turn it into a big deal. The main thing is to learn to resist the Enemy & avoid falling into his trap of negativity & criticism of others.
       22. Of course, it should go without saying that if you have problems with such negative & critical or doubtful thoughts about others, you should definitely pray every time you're hit with such divisive & potentially damaging "fiery darts!" Look to the Lord & resist & rebuke the Enemy & his accusations! And ask the Lord to help you think of the real reason, a good reason why the person did whatever it was that made you feel like you were being mistreated.

       Forgiving & Forgetting!
       23. If something really bothers you, then you certainly should ask & get it straightened out, & I'm sure that you will find out that in almost every case it wasn't because they didn't like you or they were upset at you or they were bugged about something about you or they "had it in for you." It'll be because of some other reason. So ask the Lord for His help & the true interpretation, as well as deliverance from such false misinterpretations, & then talk to the person as well, if you're still bothered or troubled about whatever it was that happened.
       24. I'm sure if you were able to go back into the past & go over each of those incidents that are still bothering you, & talk about each of these things with the person who was involved, you would find out that the real story was quite a bit different than you had thought. That's why I think it's better to just "erase erase" all such negative experiences from the past & start over fresh today.--"Forget those things which are behind!"--Phil.3:13.
       25. As I already brought out, one reason why it's better to forget all such negative past incidents is because your conclusions might have been wrong. Another reason is because whether you were wrong or not in your interpretation of events, you're still supposed to forgive & forget & not be bitter about things. It is nice when you can think, "I'm sure they didn't deliberately hurt or mistreat me in any way, or intend to make me feel bad; they didn't really know that it was going to hurt me.--It was probably just a misunderstanding on my part." I'm sure that's usually been the case. But even if & when that wasn't the case, your love should cover their sin.

       Insanity of Holding Grudges Against Others!
       26. Maybe it will help you avoid just automatically jumping to the wrong conclusions about others if you remember that in our Family, most of our people do not deliberately do unkind or mean things to each other. In fact, they try very hard to do just the opposite!--To be kind to each other & to show love to one another & live by the Lord's Law of Love.
       27. So if you find that you're holding things against a lot of people because you feel that everybody is intentionally wronging you or upset with you, it just doesn't make sense! In our Family, people are trying to live by love & be ruled by love & they're trying to do the right thing! We've grown & learned a lot about how we're supposed to lovingly relate & interact with one another, & I think we've pretty much gotten rid of or reformed the harsh & cruel "Chain" type of leaders of the past.
       28. Of course, I can't guarantee that there are never any intentional hurts in the Family, but I can say that amongst Christians like ourselves who are trying to do the best we can, people usually do not deliberately wrong or hurt each other. When hurts happen it's often because of impatience, irritability, or because someone feels overworked or under pressure etc. It's usually because someone is having problems themselves that they wind up hurting others. But I wouldn't say that such hurts were deliberate. In other words, they aren't premeditated & they aren't done out of spite to really wrong someone, which is very often the case in the System.
       29. In fact, I'd say that not only our leaders, but virtually everybody in the Family today should have learned sufficient lessons by now about the importance of loving one another & doing unto others as we would want them to do to us, so that no one would ever do anything to try to intentionally hurt someone else. We may have had some tyrants & hirelings in the past who treated people pretty badly, but we've hopefully either gotten rid of any such dictators, or they've outgrown any such petty & immature, un-Christian, unloving behaviour.
       30. So it just doesn't make sense to think that everybody has it in for you or that everyone's wronging you or is fed up with you. It's just not logical. In fact, it's insane! It's just the Devil whispering in your ear telling you his accusations & lies!--Lies which he wants you to swallow & believe, which you probably will believe if you've developed a habit of tuning in to his negative nagging accusations against others.
       31. Even in the System, if someone starts having problems with thinking that everybody misunderstands or is mistreating them, it is looked on as a serious malady & mental disorder, which is known as "paranoia." The dictionary defines paranoia as "the tendency on the part of individuals toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness & distrustfulness of others." Another dictionary uses even stronger terms: "A disease of the mind in which the sufferer believes that others are purposely mistreating & hating them."
       32. So if you easily hold grudges & find yourself frequently critical of people for the way they are supposedly mistreating you or others, & you're distrusting & suspicious of others' intents towards you, you should question yourself & realise that you're the one who's probably misinterpreting things & in the wrong.--And just being paranoid! If you think that a lot of people are doing unfair things to you & you've got a long list of grievances & wrongs that you feel not only one person did to you, but that you think several people have done to you, then the chances are good that the problem isn't with others, but with you.
       33. Even if it's only one person who you think has been intentionally wronging you, you can still be very wrong. But you can be pretty sure you're wrong if this happens with several people, or with many people. After all, why would everybody have it in for you? Why would all these people be intentionally misusing you or mistreating you?
Positive Analysis of Situations!
       34. You've confessed that you analyse things too much. Maybe you should try to analyse & interpret things positively. If you can interpret things positively & put the positive viewpoint or the positive construction on things, that's a good kind of analysis--to find some good reason for people's words or actions--instead of having a critical spirit!
       35. Always try to find a good reason why people act or respond a certain way instead of a bad or negative reason. If you're going to analyse things or think about things, you need to approach it from the positive & think, "What good motive or reason would they have had in doing this, or in saying this?"--What I mean by "good" is in a way that is not intentionally negative towards you.--And then think of as many different positive reasons as you can for why they could have done or said that particular thing.

       Some Examples of Negative Misinterpretations!
       36. I remember an incident several years ago when one of our staff members gave away their very nice Bible to someone who was visiting our Home. Apparently our visitor needed a new Bible. But just before this visitor departed for their own country, they were able to go out & find & buy another Bible. When our staff member heard about it, they felt very hurt: Here they'd given this beautiful Bible to our visitor, & yet the visitor evidently didn't appreciate it, because they'd gone out & bought another one!--Then on top of it all, they didn't even return the one that our staff member had given them!
       37. When I first heard this story, I told our staff member, "I'm sure they were getting the other Bible for someone else, maybe they were just getting it for their teamworker or someone." And in fact, when we later looked into it, it turned out that was exactly what they had done. But our dear staff member went through this big trial unnecessarily, all because they misinterpreted our visitor's intentions.
       38. Another incident happened recently here in our Home between our secretaries: One complained that the other had asked her to put all requests & instructions down on paper & not tell her things in person any more, but just write everything down. The girl who complained said that she felt that the reason for this was because the other girl just didn't want to talk to her. So when I heard this complaint, my initial reaction to this girl was, "Maybe she asked you to put everything on paper because she has a poor memory & she just wants to be sure she doesn't forget anything." And after looking into the situation, it turned out that was exactly the case. Again, someone was convinced that somebody else was mistreating them or doing a wrong to them, all because of a big misinterpretation of that person's motives & actions.
       39. Another example where quite a few people have fallen into putting a negative interpretation on things is with their reports or OHRs: Sometimes people will turn in a report, & then when their Shepherd doesn't get back to them right away or give them an instant reply or comment, they immediately jump to all kinds of wrong conclusions: "Oh, my Shepherd doesn't like me!" or "He must be lazy & not doing his job" or "I must have said the wrong thing, & now I'm going to get in trouble!" etc.
       40. In such a case, the person who is having such battles, doubts & fears about their OHR is probably not even considering the fact that their Shepherd has a lot of other reports & responsibilities & very important work to tend to. Nor do they realise that maybe their Shepherd needs some time to pray over their report, or to counsel with others before getting back to them. And the thought never crosses their mind that maybe their report just isn't that big of an "emergency" compared to all of the other things that the Shepherd has to take care of. Maybe it's not something that the Shepherd really needs to get back to them about at all.--And maybe the Lord wants them to grow up a little bit & trust Him that once they've shared their hearts in their OHR, then they can rest their case with Jesus & look to Him, instead of being so dependent on Man.
       41. Another time when people frequently fall into negatively misinterpreting & doubting the motives or actions of others is when they are asked to make a change.--A change of ministry, a change of location, or sometimes even just a change in their daily chores, Home responsibilities or schedule. Even after it's been explained to them that the change is being made for some other very understandable reason, all too often some people will think, "The real reason they're asking me to make this change must be because they don't think I've been doing a good enough job!"--Or, "because they just don't like me, & they like so-&-so better," or "because they're just picking on me!" How sad!--And what a terribly doubtful & accusing way to judge your brothers & sisters!

       Having United Prayer Against Negativity!
       42. It only takes just a little bit of charitableness & open-mindedness to think of good reasons or motives for people acting a certain way towards you, or doing or saying something to you. But if you're so stuck in a rut of listening to the Devil's lies & of thinking so much about yourself that you feel that everything that everybody does is intended as a deliberate slight against you, then you're really on the wrong channel!--And I would say that you'd better ask for prayer!
       43. If you have a problem with always thinking that people are mistreating you, if you find that you're frequently putting a negative interpretation on things that people say or do to you, then you should have a definite prayer of deliverance against this problem. You should not only pray each time such negative or critical thoughts come to you, but also have specific united prayer with your Home, asking the Lord to deliver you from this device of the Enemy.
       44. It's very wrong for people in our Family to have that kind of a negative attitude towards their brothers & sisters! It just shows how self-centred they are, really.--And how they're just allowing the Devil to whisper in their ear constantly, lying about other people's intentions. Dad has said, "Sensitiveness is born of pride, & pride is of the Devil!" So if you have this problem, ask for united prayer from your Home & get delivered! You don't have to carry that horrible, nagging negativity around with you all the time! Fight it & resist it & call on the Lord for deliverance, & you will be delivered!

       "Let Brotherly Love Continue!"--Heb.13:1.
       45. I very much believe that in most cases in the Family--probably at least in 90% of the cases, if not more--these kinds of slights are imagined. And even if they result in real hurts & someone really does feel hurt, it's usually because the person who's hurt is so sensitive. It's not because it was an intentional or purposeful slight or offense. Usually, the only reason it became a hurt was because the person took it that way, because they allowed themselves to be hurt!
       46. I know that's a pretty broad statement, but no matter what anyone does to us, no matter how hurt we may feel, the Word says, "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself!"--Acts 20:24. If we're really looking to Jesus, regardless of what comes our way, we don't have to be so hurt by it. No matter how difficult or traumatic something may seem to be, it doesn't have to get to us.--Especially when we remember that "all things work together for good to them that love God."--Rom.8:28. When we can see the good in something, then it doesn't hurt us so much.
       47. We have the supernatural help of the Lord at our disposal, & we have "the Love of Christ which passeth knowledge" of any real or supposed wrongdoings.--Eph.3:19. He is more than willing to help us to let go of emotional hurts & pain, to "erase erase" & forget & cover things in love. You can always call out to the Lord, "Lord, I'm determined to really trust You about what's happened! So help me now to forgive; help me, Lord, to forget."--And the Lord will hear you & help you & keep you from becoming hurt or bitter!
       48. So let's try to give each other the benefit of the doubt & not accuse or judge others harshly or in a way that we would not want others to judge us! "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged! And with what measure ye mete to others, it shall be measured to you again! Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the Law & the Prophets!"--Mat.7:2,12.
       49. And let's be on guard against the Enemy & his dirty devices & "neither give place to the Devil" & his lies, accusations & negative thoughts against others! Let's try to remember what the Lord & Dad showed us in the "Stand in the Gap" Letter (See ML#70), & let's keep the spiritual walls of our unity & fellowship standing strong against the Wicked One & all of his fiery darts of dissension, discord & disunity! Amen? GBY, ILY!
       50. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things! And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. And above all things have fervent love among yourselves: for love shall cover the multitude of sins."--Phil.4:8; Eph.4:32; 1Pet. 4:8. (--Amen!--D.)

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family