Incredible! Human beings so much in common yet unique and complex! The varied personalities too not just amidst the different people but within the same person too. If you observe one particular person, it’s not uncommon that you see a few different basic personalities. For example it’s not hard to see the personality that pleases its “superiors” (bosses, trainers, pastors etc) suppressing all negative emotions, the same personality that then turns jovial and totally laid back with peers and friends and that which becomes authoritarian with subordinates and with those lesser in social status.
The different types of people and the different types of personality or attitudes within the same person… what really goes on with them is one category to bear in mind.
Then there is the category where one’s personality is PERCEIVED (could be rightly perceived or could be wrongly perceived) to be a particular way by the other person. It’s not objective but rather subjective. For example, the person whom most people would see as pleasant and easy going but certain others would see as ‘difficult’. The perception is subjective – perhaps we perceive it to be such given our mood at the time so we think or decipher the message through our lenses. On the other hand the perception could be right in one sense – that the other person is being difficult, but that response from the other person could be due to the way we are treating the other person. For example, we could be judgmental (not understanding) towards the other person and thus the ‘alert’ system of the other person goes up.
Think about situations where you seem to be irritated with someone whenever they are around. What is it about them that irritated you? Sometimes our irritations are a result of something in ourselves that we see / perceive in the other person. A weakness we see in them that we dislike or can’t stand, could be actually playing up as we have a blind spot in our own lives. I recall two sisters I know – one would be eternally condemning the other and then I later observed that the same areas of condemnation were evident to a greater extent in the one making the complaints!
Negative emotions usually indicate that something is wrong – whether wrong with ourselves or wrong with the way we are being treated. If we are feeling negative emotions – irritation, anger, super sensitivity, feeling belittled or undervalued or even abused – towards one particular person then we need to take it to the Lord in prayer and ask what the cause is. Is it a blind spot in us that we need to ask God to search our hearts for or is it that we are feeding into some issue that the other person needs to deal with and hence we need to pull away?
Often people are quick to ‘label’ people based on their attitudes. Our behaviours vary much according to the person we are with. If someone is jumping the gun and making assumptions or not hearing us out or not giving us room to speak or making us feel little and condemning us all the time, then obviously we are going to ‘REACT’. It’s not ACT but RE-ACT… the response to their actions! Often we project our experiences and negative feelings that are not dealt with onto other peoples’ experiences and neatly categorise the other person’s experience to be IDENTICAL to what we have gone through. Different types of people, different situations, different plans of God – no, we cannot ASSUME that all are doing the same thing with the same motive. On the other hand some people try to CHANGE your personality because it doesn’t suit them!
We have to always remember that each one of us have different personalities. God has UNIQUELY created us and wired us… We are all HUMAN beings but which one of us even look alike? We haven’t been created like emotions devoid robots nor have we been created like ginger bread men with the same cutter!
If we reflect on the twelve disciples and on Paul, we can see such differences in their personalities. Peter was super duper emotional – he was the one who reacted and responded in most situations. John was centred on love – and you see that in his writings. Luke was a doctor so in his gospel you see the most records of healings. Likewise when you read the different accounts of the same incident, you will be able to see their different personalities zooming into details that stand out according to their knowledge base or characteristics. The methodical doctor would obviously notice the folded linen cloth!
God created each one with their unique personalities and different wirings. Jesus never tried to change someone’s personality. Even Jesus Himself didn’t hesitate to show emotions – He wept, He was moved with compassion, He got angry to the point of taking out a whip or calling people hypocrites! Jesus rebuked as He saw beyond appearances and to the heart’s motives. See the way Jesus responded to the woman who was ACTUALLY caught in sin!
When we try to stifle someone’s personality, we are actually telling God He doesn’t know what He was doing in creating someone the way He did! We have no right to quench someone’s personality let alone label someone based on their personality.
We do have the right however, is to speak the truth in love (truth not into their personality but rather into the sins that are ‘caught’) and help to restore them gently. We do have the right to lean on God for wisdom and discernment into a situation and respond to sinful behaviours according to how He leads us to do so.
- Is the other person wearing a mask for self protection that needs to be removed through the means of healing and being loved?
- Is that other person simply wicked with a hardened heart as they have made a CHOICE to turn away from God, where the harvest isn’t ripe and thus we simply let go?
- Is that other person under the grips of the evil one, oppressed or possessed that we need to pray for deliverance or engage in spiritual warfare?
Often we don’t want to understand each other because IT IS HARD WORK on our part. It is a painful process and we do not want to make that sacrifice. We opt out and run away because it takes too much out of us to do so:
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, – Ephesians 4:1-3
If we are unable to embrace the other in their different personalities that don’t ‘abuse’ or ‘use’ us, it’s quite likely that we are lacking HUMILITY or GENTLENESS or PATIENCE. Of course then we can’t bear with one another in LOVE. Let’s ask God why are we finding someone else to be ‘difficult’!
When we put someone down for their personality we are causing them to stop being themselves with us and thus sin! We drive them to be FALSE.
:…having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor – Ephesians 4:26-29
Each one of us need to ask God to search our hearts for ALL anxieties. If we have experienced God’s grace, mercy and love in our lives, then we can extend it to others and we wouldn’t want to try to change people but we will EMBRACE them! The more we experience intimacy with God the more our hearts beat for His love and what makes His heart beat! Our focus then wouldn’t be on personalities but rather it would be on encouraging and building one another up!