Almost as soon as I wrote my original post, The Sin of Self-Defense, I intended on writing a Part II. I haven’t sat down to do that until just now. First off, let me say that I chose that title partially because it was eye-catching and a little controversial. I apologize, that should not be what motivates the choice of a title. On the other hand, the alliteration lent a little ring to it and that ultimately was what swayed my decision. Still, I could just as easily chosen “The Sin of Being Over-Defensive” or something to that effect. Forgive me?
The Sin of Self-Defense, Part II
In ‘part 1,’ I offered up for discussion how over-reacting and being defensive against some perceived attack is actually a sin. The key words there are ‘over’ and ‘perceived.’ I’m not talking about physically defending oneself against a physical attack. Likewise, if you are actually being accused of some serious crime or deed that you did not commit, I would not call it sin to provide an alibi or attempt to clear your name. However, even then I think it should be done in a Christ-like manner, it still wouldn’t justify yelling or being overly-defensive.
So these don’t apply to the point I’m trying to make. What does apply? In conversation, in passing, at work, at church, or at home, sometimes somebody will do or say something that we take the wrong way. The right thing to do would be to ask: “What are you saying?” or “Do you mean ____?” Is that always our response? It’s in our human nature to puff up and defend ourselves when we feel threatened. When we assume we are being attacked and we get defensive, I believe that is a sin. Even if that person really did mean to insult us, I still thinks it’s a sin to yell or act towards the other person in anger. We are reacting out of our pride and flesh. In that moment we are not loving that other person, we are not trusting God, and we are not showing the love of Christ in our hearts. There are many, many scriptures that we are not obeying. And when we don’t obey God’s word, that is a sin.
- “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. ” Leviticus 19:17-18
- “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
- “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:27-78
- “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” Matthew 5:38-40
- “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
- ” The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” Proverbs 29:25
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For
“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” 1 Peter 3: 8-17
As a stay home wife and mother, this applies most to my relationship with my husband. Though sometimes I might run into this at church. Or maybe at the grocery store. Or even driving down the road and getting mad at a driver who will never even know that I was ranting at raving at them for cutting me off. (I know. And God knows.) When my feelings get hurt or I get angry (for whatever reason, it really doesn’t matter ‘why’) I have two choices. I can react in the flesh, or I can act through the word of God. Those are my choices. It doesn’t get any more black and white than that. So what I need to do now, is strive to act according to God’s word instead of reacting in the flesh.
God teach me how to have a gentle and quiet spirit, one that act and reacts in love and gentleness. Give me a heart that loves beyond what I am naturally capable on my own. Grant me the self-control to choose your ways over the ways of the flesh. Reign in me. Amen.