What does that word stir in you?
About a year ago, my wife and I were talking with a counselor I’d spent some time with when my wife said, "Thank you for giving me back my Bart." I turned to her and replied, "Sweetheart, I have always been here." Our counselor friend interjected, "STOP! Do you realize how defensive that statement is?"
Having no idea what he was speaking of, I replied, "No." I was totally clueless as to his point regarding the statement I’d made to Tannah. What had started as a conversation of gratitude soon turned into a counseling session for me. Our counselor said, "Defensiveness is one of the most egregious and seductive sins we can commit. We become our own advocate rather than allowing Christ to be our advocate."
I was so deeply seduced by and submerged in defensiveness that it was unrecognizable to me! It got me pondering the defensiveness l exhibit. As I became aware of this new category of brokenness and sin and how it played out in my life, WOW—I was shocked. I realized I am defensive in so many areas of my life and personality; it shows up in most of my conversations with people. When I become defensive, I have to ask myself, “What is my motive?” In the story above, my motive was self-justification; I was trying to deflect my wife’s comment by defending that I am and have always been the person she wants. The counselor discovered otherwise from my comment.
Sometimes defensiveness is justified and holy, but I now ask myself these questions to qualify mine: “What is my motive for being defensive?” and "Am I being my own advocate or am I allowing Christ to be my advocate?" I’m finding that asking these questions eliminates such things as manipulation, argument, and self-exaltation (things I am repenting of). I’m learning that defensiveness is very deeply ingrained in my being, and I have much left to discover in this area with God.
So I ask you again, what does "defensiveness" stir in you?