Honi soit qui mal y pense (evil be to him who evil thinks). -anon.
Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee. -Ecclesiastes 7:21
Projecting. It's what psychologists say we do when we ascribe evil intent to the words or deeds of others. Simply put, we project our own hostile thoughts onto their motives. Sort of an emotional cut-and-paste, you might say.
But you know, sometimes folks are just careless or negligent. No harm intended, but the hurt is real nonetheless.
Twice, recently, I was involved in misunderstandings, one involving careless behavior, the other a missed communication. Both instances led to real (or imagined) slights.
Was I tempted to take offense? You know I was.
Did I indeed become irritated (if not angry)? Sad to say, this was my initial reaction in each case. But the story of the mote and the beam came to mind.
Prayer may be the last refuge of the scoundrel, but it is the only refuge of the sinner. In fact have you ever noticed that if you spend much time in prayer each day, how much of it is taken up in asking forgiveness?
Charles Spurgeon, my favorite dead preacher, once gave this sound advice to his ministerial students:
We in the church are fallen people, saved by grace and called to love one another. The best way to do that, as Spurgeon has noted, is to extend the benefit of the doubt, to refuse to take these things to heart.
You know, let it slide.