The best of intentions are not always received as such. And given our many flaws and limitations, we’re prone to regularly misunderstand and misinterpret each other’s actions. Maturity is allowing for this while still holding on to ourselves – our integrity.
To be sure, it’s not easy when our good intentions are not only misinterpreted but we’re also accused of doing the exact opposite of our heart’s intent. For instance, our care is seen as selfishness, our consideration is viewed as stubbornness, and perhaps our genuine good is interpreted as manipulation.
And naturally we want to defend the goodness of our hearts in these moments. But our defensiveness often just adds fuel to the fire.
Holding on to self is not agreeing with the other’s verdict on us. We’re the only ones who can know the true intentions of our heart. And the other can only speak to their experience of us. As such, their attacks, criticism, and blame are revealing more about the deep movements in their heart than ours. Though, of course, at times they’re able to rightly name our blind spots even if not presented in the best way. And we should humbly receive the critique if it’s true regardless of how it was packaged.
In any case, we don’t launch a counter-attack. Holding on to self means we’re also very intentional about doing the next right thing, time and time again. This is Christ choosing to love us even after being beaten and hung on a cross.
And part of this love is understanding and extending grace to our shared humanity. Can we see the deeper desires, fears, and shame even when others are focusing their attacks on us? Speaking life into these tender parts allows love to conquer our many shortcomings.
In the end, don’t compromise your integrity when you’re misunderstood and others are blaming you. Hold on to yourself and continue practicing love.