Defence is defined as the action of shielding from or resisting attack. The concept of defence, when observed in every context, is an incredibly crucial part of creation. I mean, for instance, just imagine yourself without eyelids, apart from how horrifying you’d look, your eyes would be extremely vulnerable to harm and dangerously exposed to the elements which can cause all sorts of irreversible damages.
Or take a look into the history of any team sport, the most successful teams tend to have the sturdiest and most adaptable defences that are able to fend off the best attacking units, affording them opportunities to launch counteroffensives, especially when the opposition is left exposed.
When we consider, as the definition above explains, what the primary role of any form of defence is, we start to appreciate the true nature of this marvelous concept.
But then, in some instances, defences are often misused. Where defences are designed to primarily fend off attacks, we sometimes use defences as a form of attack. I’m pretty certain that many of us can playback a moment in time when someone has accused us of sin and almost immediately we get defensive and give reasons why we are innocent of all transgressions. We don’t want to be found guilty under any circumstance, which is understandable, so we start to resist what we have deemed an attack, and since attacks are geared to expose frailties, we do not want guilt-like frailties to be seen in us.
In a funny twist, we are quick to allow people to conclude their sentences of praise towards us as this makes us feel high and mighty, even when we know we aren’t fully deserving of the praise, we still make room for it in our hearts. But when it is a criticism that exposes the chink in our armour, we find ourselves quickly shutting the person down.
We are very adept at arguing our point, and showing the accuser their error. This comes at a cost to us because we sometimes lose sight of the benefit of listening to what is being conveyed to us. Agreed, some people are quite unpleasant in their confrontations and seek to harm rather than build, but for those who genuinely want to get to the bottom of the issue at hand, we risk the benefit of reconciliation every time we get defensive.
I understand that no one likes it when they are attacked in any way but unless we understand how and when to pull up defences, we may be preventing ourselves from the opportunity of working on a flaw or even restoring a broken relationship. Pride is at the root of every heart that chooses to deflect any loving criticism and unless we put ourselves in the other persons shoes, we will always see those approaches as a form of attack and automatically revert to shielding ourselves.
If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. – Matthew 18:15
How else can I tell someone that an action of theirs (or lack there of) has offended me without explaining their sin against me to them? After all, if they’re holding a knife and it cuts me, they can’t turn around and say, man up, the thing that makes knives dangerous has been removed. We have to learn to understand things from the viewpoint of the offended in order to prevent any future offenses. It is what we would expect from those who offend us.
Be slow to speak and be quick to listen – James 1:19