DEFENDING YOURSELF WITH THE TRUTH
There I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes. These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. Genesis 31:40-41
Jacob had had enough. He had labored under Laban’s patriarchal umbrella and suffered unfairly. He had been stolen from, lied to, and cheated out of earned wages. He had been tricked into taking a wife he never chose. On this day though, after being hunted down and accused of not acting justly, he rose up to tell the truth of the story.
Making a ‘defense’ is one of those touchy subjects. If I defend myself in the heat of the moment, I can easily hear, “Well, aren’t you defensive!” At that point, the other assumes my guilt instead of innocence. Somewhere in this equation is turning the other cheek and suffering silently like Jesus did when he was like a lamb led to slaughter. How can I know when it’s right for the truth to be spoken? If only there were a scripture and verse that said, ‘When you are wronged, speak up for yourself.’ There is not.
A defense given for the sake of truth is one thing but a defense given for the sake of wounded pride is another. Because there was no sin in Jesus’ heart, and because he rose to defend (and tell) the truth on many occasions, I can conclude that making a defense can be a righteous act. How, and why, I make it is the issue.
The fact that Jacob had waited so long to set the record straight is probably evidence that he had worked through his injustice with God. His rage was long gone. On the day of their final goodbye, it was only right for Laban to hear the lineup of past events from a righteous point of view.
Jesus told his disciples that the Holy Spirit would come and ‘reveal all things’ to their hearts. That was their comfort and it is also mine when the subtleties of navigating relationships leave me confused. All the more reason to live prayerfully with my ear to my Father’s heart. When wronged, He will convict me of wounded pride even when the offense is real. When emotions are hot, He will restrain my speech. I can make no rational choices when I’m in a “How dare you do this to me!” kind of mood.
My family suffered silently and never spoke up. You have to help me break the cycle and not swing to the other side. Balance, Lord! Amen
Journal Question: Jesus said, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things.” John 14:26 On what side of the pendulum do you swing? Are you normally hot and defensive or are you a silent sufferer? Talk to the Lord about what you need to strike a balance so that you only speak when, and how, Jesus would.