Have you ever caught yourself being defensive? I know I have on more than one occasion. Defensiveness is a product of our desire for justice. We want others to treat us fairly, and when we perceive that isn’t happening, we get defensive. Defensiveness is also a mechanism for self-preservation. We assume that if we defend ourselves, this will cause the accusation to go away. There is no guarantee, however, that the person with whom we are dealing will treat us fairly. Moreover, more often than not, we get defensive when we are guilty, and don’t want to be responsible for our actions. Pride often blinds us to our guilt and hence, our defensiveness.
As Christians, we should not be defensive. Defensiveness is a form of self-justification—a way to justify ourselves so as to appear righteous in the eyes of others. In Luke 16:15, Jesus said to the Pharisees: “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” The Bible teaches us that we can’t justify ourselves (Romans 3:20), but it is God who justifies us (Romans 8:33). To have God justify me is a much superior situation to justifying myself because while I may not get things right, God will always get it right.
So how does this translate to everyday behavior? We don’t need to practice self-justification. If we haven’t behaved correctly, then let’s own up to that and not be defensive. Faithful Christians will forgive and move on. For those who won’t forgive, remember that it is God who justifies, not them. We may not be treated fairly, but let’s trust that God will provide for us. God bless you and I love you.