I Peter 2: 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
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. Do you think it’s time to get it right with God and those in your life?
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 at the proper time!
A Pastor share this story: 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. Sometimes you just need a good cry and allow the Lord and those who can be trusted to strengthen your heart!
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. Today’s message is for whoever will hear the urging of God in this area of your life!
Point to ponder- In this Advent season I want to be a better Servant for the Lord than I was last year at this time, How about you?
Prayer: Lord, give us the courage not to react defensively. You are the only defense we need, and we entrust ourselves to You, who judges righteously of which we are made whole in Jesus name.
For His Glory,
Pastor James Baker, Jr.