Defensiveness is Pre-Integration
A friend of mine made that comment, “Defensiveness is pre-integration,” at a meeting recently. He threw it out as a sort of throw-away comment while making a completely different point, but I found it rather profound. It’s a sort of interesting tool for looking at yourself and others. Any time defensiveness shows up, any time one feels the need to protect oneself or can see another person defending him/herself in a conversation, that’s a sign that something hasn’t been integrated. By integrated, I simply mean accepted as being okay.
Now, some things shouldn’t be integrated. Heresy shouldn’t be integrated. Blatant evil shouldn’t be accepted. But mistakes should be, and people should be, and the fact that we’re fallen and messed up should be. We’ve been integrated into the body of Christ, accepted by God despite the evil and sin that we carry around and unfortunately toss out now and then (Rom. 5:8). When we become defensive, that’s a signal that while God has accepted us, we haven’t accepted something. And if that’s the case, perhaps it’s worth taking some time to talk with God about whether He desires for us to accept whatever it is.