Why You Shouldn't Be Defensive

While being reviled, He [Jesus] did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:23).

There are two reasons why you should not be defensive when there is a critical, negative evaluation of you.

First, if you are in the wrong, you don't have a defense. If you are criticized for saying something which is out of order or doing something which is wrong, and the criticism is valid, any defensiveness on your part would be a rationalization at best and a lie at worst. You must simply respond, "You're right; I was wrong," then take steps to improve your character and behavior.

Second, if you are right, you don't need a defense. Peter encouraged us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus who "while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:23). If you are in the right, you don't need to defend yourself. The Righteous Judge, who knows who you are and what you have done, will exonerate you.

A dear lady entered my office with a well-thought-out list of "things for me" and "things against me." I suggested that she share the "things for me" first. That didn't take long! As she was going through the "things against me," the part of me that is made of earth wanted to respond to every allegation. But I didn't. When she was finished, there was an awkward pause before I said, "It must have taken a lot of courage to come in and share that with me. What do you suggest I do?" She started to cry.

Nobody tears another down from a position of strength or judges another without being judged. Judgmental people are people in pain. If you can learn not to be defensive when someone exposes your character defects or attacks your performance, you may have an opportunity to turn the situation around and minister to that person.

Dr. Anderson, Freedom in Christ and Harvest House Publishers www.ficm.org

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