Matthew 26:62–63a (ESV)
And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent.
Jesus challenges me in his unwillingness to defend himself. He doesn’t give his side of the story. He doesn’t correct. He doesn’t clarify. He has nothing to prove. The cross is God’s answer to our disconnection with him due to sin. In Jesus’ sacrifice, a way is made to connect us to God in an intimate relationship once more. I find Jesus’ refusal to defend himself to be a beautiful aspect of his journey to the cross. This is a journey he calls us to follow him on and his way of the cross must become our way.
In abandoning defensiveness, Jesus built connection.
This makes sense because defensiveness destroys connection.
When I react to others with defensiveness, I reinforce an assumption that we are adversaries. When I’m defensive, I shut down my ability to hear or understand someone else. When I’m defensive, I establish that my priority in this relationship is me. When I’m defensive, I am partnering with fear.
Defensiveness can only provide me with an illusion of assertiveness. Defensiveness gives me an illusion of strength but only serves to hide my insecurity. Defensiveness gives me the feeling of having a voice, but without substance. Defensiveness is an effective tool for maintaining disconnection and division and nothing more.
Do you want to deepen and sustain connection in your relationships? Abandon the illusion of defensiveness.