But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed. (Mk. 15:5, NIV)
Defensiveness. It’s not named among the seven deadly sins—but maybe it ought to be. Rooted in pride, defensiveness never takes you anywhere good. It escalates arguments, deepens misunderstanding, burns bridges, and sometimes leads to violence. Yet nearly all of us engage in defensive behavior from time to time.
Jesus, however, didn’t have a defensive bone in His body. Even after a harrowing night of betrayal, arrest, trial by a kangaroo court, being spit upon, mocked, fisted, beaten, now dragged before Pilate, Jesus still refuses to defend Himself. Peter was a witness to Jesus’ incredible composure. He writes in 1 Peter 2:23, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”
Jesus didn’t defend Himself because He didn’t need to. He knew who He was. He knew what He was about. He lived a righteous and honest life with nothing to be ashamed of. He was confident on the inside, humble on the outside, and He trusted God to take care of Him in whatever way would best accomplish His holy plans—even if that meant unjust suffering.
What do you learn from Jesus that could help you to be less defensive? Talk to God about it. Confess any times your defensiveness has led to hurt, misunderstanding, or broken relationships. Ask God to help you let go of pride, needing to be right, fear, poor self-image, or whatever it is that triggers defensiveness for you. Ask Him to help you see yourself the way He sees you so that what others say doesn’t matter as much. And most of all, ask Him to help you to trust Him to defend you so you don’t need to do it yourself. Then, starting today, look for an opportunity to hold your tongue when, ordinarily you might feel the need to defend yourself.