The Right to Defend Ourselves: Leave It Behind Series

leave it behind series

For the third installment of our Leave It Behind series, I am excited to introduce you to my friend and sister in Christ, Katie Reid. I had the pleasure of meeting Katie at the She Speaks conference last year, and was struck by the way she moves past small talk and quickly dives into the deep, spiritual topics of life. It was refreshing and endearing, and I knew I’d found a like-minded soul. Katie’s writing is much like her personality, and isn’t afraid to address the tough questions of life. I always leave her with a nugget of wisdom or truth, and I know you’ll be blessed by her words here today.

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Katie M. Reid is a Tightly Wound Woman, a recovering perfectionist who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com, Twitter and Facebook.

The Right to Defend Ourselves

We sat across from him, in the comfort of our home, and poured out our hearts about hurts we had experienced at our place of employment. Months of frustration came to a head as we felt safe to share with this co-worker. We hadn’t known him long but he seemed kind and empathetic.

Long story short the words we poured out in confidence were spun around and shared with a supervisor; we found ourselves in a big mess of misunderstanding.

My husband confided in a few mentors asking them what he should do. We wanted to defend ourselves and try to untwist what had happened.

One of the mentors gave some hard, yet good, advice. He reminded us how Jesus remained quiet when he was falsely accused. Jesus had every right to defend himself—he had done nothing wrong—yet he remained silent and entrusted Himself to God (see Matthew 27:12-14).

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

1 Peter 2:21-25

The thought of remaining silent and not defending ourselves made us squirm. What about justice? God is a just God, right? But God knew what happened and He could do a better job than we could of defending ourselves, but it was still hard not to speak up. We had been wronged and we wanted it to be made right.

Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who wait for Him.

Isaiah 30:18

By His strength alone we quietly started packing after we were let go. We painfully put it in God’s hands and let Him fight for us.

We left behind our need to be right, to be heard, to be understood; it felt like torture.

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As a believer, do you sometimes feel left behind by God, forgotten in your misery and left to look out for yourself? Let me remind you that this is not true.

He promises that He will not leave you nor forsake you (see Deuteronomy 31:8).

Looking back we see God’s hand of protection and how He removed us from an difficult situation. Every once in awhile the pain resurfaces and we work to let the offenses go, choosing to forgive again—trusting God to have His way. It is not easy.

I read a book entitled,Total Forgiveness, by R.T. Kendall that helped me realize some hard truths about forgiving:

  • Forgiving does not mean you are condoning what happened.
  • Forgiveness is what you want to receive from others.
  • Forgiveness is what we have been graciously given by God.

Jesus remained silent, heavy with all the sins we have committed, yet His actions spoke loudly as He offered Himself as an eternal sacrifice on our behalf—we do not deserve such love and grace yet He gave it anyway.

Jesus left behind His throne in heaven to come down and be made a servant and redeem us from our sins.

If anyone had the right to be offended and defend Himself it was Jesus, yet He didn’t. He laid His rights at the cross, and entrusted Himself to God; we would be wise to do the same.

1 Peter 4:19 “Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.”

 

Photo 1 credit (text added): kendoman26 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

GIVEAWAY:

Congratulations to Sabra Penley! You are the winner of Chase Study by Jennie Allen-a faith challenging journey chasing after the heart of God.

Thank you for reading.

 

*Linking up with Kelly Balarie & Friends to encourage and be encouraged. Come join us.

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23 thoughts on “The Right to Defend Ourselves: Leave It Behind Series

  1. Wow, Katie, that’s a tough predicament to be in, and wow, only by the grace of God can you get through NOT defending yourself. Leaving it behind…I like that…when we can truly let it go by leaving it behind, it doesn’t seem worth picking up again. I pray that the Lord blesses you (maybe He already has…so then I pray He blesses you again!) for your obedience not only to Him, but for following the advice of a trusted mentor.

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  2. Hi, Katie, you are my neighbor on the RaRa link up. That takes a lot of faith and courage to let go and trust God to handle it. He has such an infinite view of our lives. Praying you have peace over this. It can be so exciting and so very hard sometimes to grow in obedience and faith to our Father. Thank heavens for godly mentors. What would we do without them!?

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  3. Good post, and I applaud your courage.

    I tend to take a different viewpoint; I come from a somewhat singular background, having worked as a paramilitary contractor in some ugly places, and the question I ask myself is this – “Would I defend someone else in the same position?”

    We’re enjoined to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that becomes something of a palindrome…we’re supposed to love ourselves as we love others. Not more, but not less.

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    • Good thoughts. I believe there is a time and place to defend and remaining silent is not always the answer- but in this particular instance we felt asked to trust God to handle what we could not change.

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      • I thought about this one a bit more during the day…it’s quite a topic.

        In marriage, I think self-defense is generally counterproductive (I write a marriage blog). Usually when the perceived need for self-defense becomes apparent, the positions have hardened to the point where it can only make matters worse.

        In that arena, while the gentle answer may not turn away wrath (sometimes the wrath simply has to spend itself), it does lower the temperature of the conflagration.

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  4. It’s hard not defending yourself. We feel as if we have rights and they need standing up for. But yet God doesn’t care about our rights, and that’s a hard pill to swallow. Thank you for sharing your story about grace and forgiveness. And reminding us it’s not easy, but worth it.

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    • Hi Alecia! Oh how beautiful our “rights” are in being a child of God- heirs to the throne, accepted and beloved of the Father. Now those are rights worth exercising. 🙂

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  5. Thanks for sharing Katie, I needed this!! I’ve been hurt by so many people the last few years that I thought I could trust also. It’s so hard not to go after them, but yet I have this peace to just let go and let Him handle it. I know that doing things His way takes so much trust sometimes since it still doesn’t seem fair, but His peace is worth it!

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    • So hard, isn’t it Abby? I firmly believe in speaking up (and do it often) but the key is to be willing to follow His lead in various situations and yes, to trust that He’s got this and sees it all. He’s much better at justice than we are and much better at extending grace yoo. 🙂

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  6. Pingback: The Right to Defend Ourselves: Leave It Behind Series | Jesus: Word of God Word to Man

  7. Wow, can I relate to this, Katie! I’m sure many of us can:) There was one instance I recall where someone was spreading a negative rumor about my husband. We prayed and felt that God did not want us to confront him about the situation. Two years later, he came to my husband and asked for forgiveness. God worked in his heart, and there was no need for us to intervene:) God is awesome! Thanks for this lesson today, and for your honesty.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this part of your family’s story Katie. Your response is inspiring and I know it was a hard one to make. I wish I could say I’ve always reacted this way when threatened or misunderstood, but I’ve not walked away and let God have His way before having my own, enough. Forgiveness is a tricky thing for me at times…and yet, it doesn’t have to be, does it? Jesus made it possible and makes it possible today. Love these words and love your heart. ❤

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    • Hi Meredith- This is like my “one” example of remaining silent. :-/ It was really hard, and we did not do it perfectly for sure- but perfection is only found in Christ, right?

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  9. Katie, I can’t imagine how hard this was for you. My tendency is always to defend myself–and it usually just makes matters worse. Trusting God to take care of it and guide our every word is wise counsel. Praying God blesses your family for following His lead. Blessings.

    And THANK YOU for winning the giveaway. I can’t wait to go through this study!

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    • Hi Sabra- Yes, it was really hard. It happened almost 6 1/2 years ago now, but the pain resurfaces at times and we are given the choice to keep trusting God to handle it. And He reminds us of how He handles us, with care and grace. We so often want that for ourselves but don’t want others to get off the hook. Convicting.

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  10. “The hearts cry for justice is the desire to be heard.” We crave that don’t we? We long for people to be on our side and tell us we’re right…so much so that we sometimes confide in the wrong people. I know that story well. God has shown me (the hard way) that sometimes I have to give up the right to be heard and sometimes I just have to know, that He knows, and rest in that. Thank you for reminding me of that today.

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  11. Wow, Katie, what a TOUGH experience. I’m sure you and your husband grew more than you realize. I am SO BAD at keeping my mouth shut and waiting on God. This post makes me realize I need to examine my reactions sometimes. I’m so worried about what everyone thinks, I hasten to “make it right” or to justify myself before others. And sometimes that just ain’t gonna work. God is bigger than we are.

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