Breaking the Cycle of Self-Defense!
July 22, 2017
It is a natural response to want to defend yourself. I don’t mean physically, like from a shark attack (good luck with that), or with a shield and sword. I’m talking about defending your character, your reputation, your religion, your political ideology, your sense of direction.
Each of us likes being right. We can even prove we’re right.
Sometimes we are right and the person we are defending ourselves to is also right. In those cases, we – of course- are more right.
Defense is Created by Offense
To have a defense, there must be an offense. The offense is looking to invade your homeland and score some proverbial points. You, are trying to defend yourself against this offense. Therefore, defense is created by offense. Now don’t get lost here. This is kinda like, “I think, therefore I am.”
Defense is created by offense.
Defense occurs when there is a need for it…which is when someone, something, whatever, is on the offense.
If this were football, it would be pretty straight forward: the offense takes the ball down the field and attempts to score, the defense tries to keep the offensive team from being successful and regain possession of the ball.
Every now and then we aren’t actually defending ourselves though…sometimes we are just plain ole arguing. The only arguing in football would be whether to run the Chicken Little Flea Flicker on three, or just drop back and throw up a Hail Mary (football move…not a Catholic reference).
If you are an arguer, don’t you just hate those people who won’t argue back? Good grief! They are the worst. How dare they just sit there! That’s not right. That’s not fair. Don’t they understand the universal rules of human conversational conflict?
Wait…they probably don’t argue because they know you are right! Yep. That’s it.
You are right.
Addicted to Arguing
So, is there a difference between defending and arguing. Maybe. Depends on how it’s used. You can defend yourself with an argument based on evidence and sound logical reasoning. I was about half a step away from becoming a lawyer, so I can play with words all day, but there is no need for that.
My point today is – it doesn’t matter.
The life of a Christian is not played out in the court room or on a sports field. We don’t have to run around defending ourselves; trying to prove we are right. The Great Commission compels us to tell the world of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ. We need not defend ourselves for it.
I see too much of that going on today. Too much arguing back and forth with each other over religion, scriptures, point of view.
Social media is full of groups, sites, pages, feeds, whatever, where people have just become addicted to arguing with each other. Instead of being a forum for growth and sound Biblical learning, many of these avenues on social media are just the opposite. Many people on these Christian sites cannot wait to pounce on any post and nitpick the most ridiculous things. Then they just sit and wait for someone else to comment so they can go back and reply. And reply. And reply.
For what? Is someone somewhere keeping a score card of all the “points” you’ve made each time you hit reply? What are you going to do with that score card? Can you cash it in when you get to Heaven for a Premium-Grade Gold Street specially laid for you to walk on instead of just those regular old streets of gold?
I’m not talking about teaching someone the Word. That is not what I see happening. I see people spending countless hours arguing.
Arguing for the sake of arguing.
Wanting to be right.
Looking to score points.
Consequences of Negative Cycles
Some incredibly negative things can happen when you allow yourself to become involved in these cycles of defense and argument.
First of all, and most importantly, you are not putting God first. Now that may seem like a strange thing for me to say. You are defending your religion, your point of view on scripture, etc. So, you feel like you are putting God first. You just spent three hours arguing about God…how is that not putting Him first?
Anything that takes away from your time with God, is not putting Him first.
All that time you spent scoring points is time you could have spent in prayer, study, worship, or fulfilling the Great Commission. You just robbed yourself of valuable, intimate time with God or time you could have been sharing the Gospel. Again, let me be clear, there is a difference between Biblical learning and the negative cycle I’m talking about here.
Something else that all this bickering brings to my mind, is how is this possibly Christian behavior? We are to build each other up and love one another. I understand how a saved person could be misled or not be in the right Spirit, but just take a look at the letter Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. Love is at the forefront. Paul even admonishes them to seek to lead a quiet life and mind their own business, (1 Thessalonians 4:11). He goes further and tells them to comfort those who are discouraged, help those who are weak, be patient with each other, and live in peace, (1 Thessalonians 5). Wasting your time trying to score points is not doing any of the things Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to do. Your weak brother/sister in Christ needs your love, comfort, and patience to help them grow and learn the Truth.
I can’t find anywhere in scripture where we are to delight in the exalting of our own knowledge above our brother’s.
I believe that is pride. We all know what pride comes before.
What Would Jesus Do?
I, You, We…need to spend our time on more constructive ways to share the Gospel. If you are doubting what I’m talking about right now, let’s use Jesus as an example.
When He was finally arrested, He had all manner of accusations thrown at Him. The books of Matthew, Mark, & Luke show that Jesus said very little during His questioning. The most we are given comes from the book of John. Even as He endured being mocked, spit on, hit, and other physical abuse…He did not defend Himself, and He was right. He was more right than anyone has ever been, but as He tells Pilate, My kingdom is not of this world, (John 18:36). Jesus was fully aware of what was going happen to Him, I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice, (John 18:37).
Brothers and sisters in Christ, the issue is very simple: Jesus didn’t defend Himself or mindlessly argue, and you don’t have to either. Share the Truth with the world. Tell the story of Jesus. But don’t allow yourself to be drawn into a cycle of arguing or defending yourself. Don’t waste your time with that. I know that’s difficult; it’s going against your nature. But strive to be more like Christ.
The Truth speaks for you. Jesus speaks for you.
Spend your time developing an intimate relationship with God, pray, study, worship, and serve.
Stay in the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.
Tricia Hanks and her husband Darryl are Christians living in Southwest Missouri. They are members of the Buffalo Creek Baptist Church. They were both born and raised in Southeastern Oklahoma, but moved to Missouri about 20 years ago. Darryl is a salesman for a foundation repair company and Tricia is a teacher at an alternative high school. They are humbled to be able to share the Gospel with others through their life experiences. It is their only desire to bring glory to the name of Jesus through their service to Him.
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