We try to destroy in others what we don’t like in ourselves—the part most like our shadow. If we have judgments on people, they can often pick it up. The person will annoy us more if we’re judging them. We can be hooked into each other in a non-verbal way with our negative judgments. That’s why often people unconsciously change as we drop our negative thinking of them. All they feel is that they are more at ease around us. If someone gets our goat, that means we got a goat in there to get, so we need to ask the Lord where we are like him or her, so we can pray into our part in the hooking. If they get on our nerves, we haven’t finished our work in that area.
Satan can work on things like that if we don’t pray into it and cleanse it. Perhaps God is allowing that person in our life, so we can pray for them. No one knows the whole of a person except God. When we talk about other people, some of it can be our psychological experience of the conversation. Many times we interpret the situation wrongly due to an unhealed area in ourselves. When we go into prayer, we ask God how to handle it. We trust that He can bring good out of everything. “Lord, we give this experience to You and ask that You bring whatever good is meant to out of this.”
I have found that God puts different people in my life for a reason. He often has a theme for me. That is the area I take to prayer and Reconciliation. Family relationships are paramount to our healing. If we don’t work out those relationships, God will put people in our lives with similar traits. I had a friend who had a very domineering mother. He separated from her for a while but found that his boss was just like her. Our friends are so much easier to be with since they don’t have our family history and our pain, but my experience is that I have to still work through those family relationships if I want to be whole.
My Aunt Betty and I almost always look for generational patterns in the family when I bring her a problem. If we know relatives who seem to have the same sin, we pray for them specifically, plus all those in our generations that we are unaware of. When we pray for healing, we pray to have it healed not only in me, but in my entire family as well. I have found that my children and other family members experience healing when I do. It is a good motivator for me as I don’t want to pass down dysfunctional patterns to my family. That’s why I’m so attracted to doing the generational healing work. We are connected as a family and each of us can help free the other and break the patterns of dysfunction.
If we need to discuss a dysfunctional area with someone, it is a good idea to repent of similar faults as the person we’re struggling with. I usually go to the sacrament of Reconciliation to repent, but it isn’t necessary all the time. However, I am a huge advocate of the sacrament as it does give me extra graces. I’ve noticed through the years that God has healed me of many faults or sins through Reconciliation. Of course, there are always new ones to work on so it’s a never-ending process. While receiving the sacrament, I ask for healing of these bad patterns for my relatives as well as myself. If there are conflicts, I will go into prayer and ask God how to handle my conflict. Then when I talk to the person, I’m coming from a place of mercy rather than judgment. Remember, I believe that people can often pick up when we have negative judgments on them. If we go into prayer and repentance, people are better able to hear it if we acknowledge where it is in our life. I wrote Betty’s wisdom on this below in red:
Ask the Lord to give you the grace to see Jesus in the other person. Things happen in our life to help us in areas we need to clean up. God does us a favor by allowing people into our life to irritate us to move us to deal with this stuff and stop projecting it onto others. Ask yourself, “What does God see in this for me?” I could start to turn to the Lord. “Lord, I want to be cleansed of any hooks where I’m hooking into her. Help me to not run away from the ugly parts, but rather bring them to you.” We can go into tongues or simply ask the Holy Spirit to smooth out the hooks. As we do this, God often gives us or the other person help so that they get healed. It’s hard to see our faults when it is exposed in front of us in another person. To be aware of our faults is a grace of God. There’s a redemptive side to working on our stuff. That’s real love to seek the good in others. We can miss an opportunity to grow when we complain about another. “God, you wouldn’t allow anything to happen that you didn’t intend to bring good out of it. I want to be in Your will. I’m sorry I made bad choices. Can you help both of us get free so we can live for your glory?” Often, we use other people’s stuff as an excuse not to work on our own. We need to clean up our own dwelling so God can live in us. We can waste our whole life just seeing the faults of others. Why not turn our temptation to judge another as an opportunity to get rid of our junk? God can only seek our good. Why don’t we change our temptations into a way of seeking good for ourselves and others? Some of the Saints did this and it drove Satan crazy.
Jesus said, “ I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” (Matthew 12:36)