“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’” 1 Peter 5:5 ESV
“Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts. The things you’re most embarrassed about, most ashamed of, and most reluctant to share are the very tools God can use most powerfully to heal others.” Rick Warren
The more touchy we are, the more we’re covering up. The more we explain, the more we’re hiding (I did this in trauma counseling). The sarcastic comeback, yep, avoiding and building oneself up at the other’s expense. Hiding receipts, substances, food or porn, shame is calling the shots. Puffing ourselves up with money, power, beauty or status–hiding a big wound somewhere.
Sin Management. I think it was Dallas Willard who coined the phrase. But Sin Management is something we’re all guilty of. We want to look better, be better than we think we really are. Nothing wrong with wanting to be better, but without the honesty and courage, humility it ain’t!
My biggest defensive problem was my parents. They weren’t perfect. No parent is. But to get down to brass tacks of some of my parents toxic behavior took years! Who wants to admit that their parents were pretty abusive? I want the parents you see on TV, (well not Breaking Bad—manufacturing meth and selling it.)
Second defensive problem. My parenting. I was a good parent but I made some whopper mistakes. Divorce always shatters and confuses kids. I own at least half. And never enough money or time as a single parent. My ex and I, at the very least, coparented. When my son brings up something I’ve done that harmed him, I want to hide. But it’s there. It’s hurting both of us.
Third defensive problem. Caregiving my dying husband. Soooo many mistakes and every one of them comes into view during the grieving process. Grief group can relate and it’s a safe place to vent them.
Are you defensive about something?
The best thing to do is to take it to our Father who guides and helps without judgment. Be open to his nudges. And don’t condemn yourself when you go two steps forward and one back. Remember: “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
As long as we’re here on planet Earth, we’ll be defensive about something! We will slide again and again into sin management. There will be progress in hindsight most times. But we can always be naked with our Father. The Prodigal Son finally was. His homecoming was a momentous blessing of love, mercy and second chances. We are the Father’s Prodigal Son or daughter.
We want to be bigger, better and successful. We don’t like looking at the things that are hidden and cause us to be defensive. If we can’t take these things to you, we’re lost. If we can’t take these things to you, we remain on autopilot with no self-awareness, healing, growth or wisdom. We remember how fortunate we are that we can be like the Prodigal and come home with no condemnation or punishment. “He who fears punishment is not perfected in love.” Perfect us in your love.