Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
Proverbs 12:15, NLT
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “… it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.” 1
Recently, I began to dig into scripture and books about self-understanding, in order to try and figure out why I have a growing issue with becoming defensive easily and way too often.
I have noticed an increase in my defensiveness, especially in my career, and that causes me to wonder why?
Sometimes, when I am corrected or given advice, I immediately feel as though the individual is degrading me or decreasing the value of my hard work. I get upset and feel as though I am being told that I am not competent to handle it.
I have self-confidence, and I believe that I am competent enough to figure out most things that come my way (with prayer and God on my side, of course!). But I don’t believe that I am prideful or boastful, except…in these moments that defensiveness takes over.
I recognize that it does not feel good when I act defensively, so why am I allowing this reaction to overtake my better judgment?
C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Pride is spiritual cancer: it eats up the very possibility of love, or contentment, or even common sense”2
Wow, that is powerful! I have to agree with that statement! My current sense of contentment is lacking greatly!
Still I seek an answer to “Why?” I am experiencing such defensiveness…
In the midst of writing this blog post for Daughters of the Deep, I am also preparing to start teaching a new book study. Tonight as I was walking on the treadmill and thinking about this post, I am also reading the book for my upcoming study, and this is what I just read, “If we get so focused on our kingdom-call that we miss the daily call, we will be susceptible to selfish ambition, self-centeredness, and a self-important view of our role in God’s kingdom work. And if…we miss the importance of the present moment, we may get a wrong picture of what faithfulness (and even success) looks like.”3
That makes a lot of sense! I definitely think my view of “success” may have become skewed lately…
Having a right view of ourselves has a profound effect on everything. In Romans, Paul says, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.” (Rom. 12:16).
And Paul later said to the Philippians, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3–4).
A single sentence summary of all this information that I have gathered is, that Pride is one of the devil’s most destructive tools. Pride can cause us to lose our true selves and become someone that we are not, even if for only a moment.
What beautiful thoughts and deeply helpful information God has put on my heart and mind as I have pondered and researched this topic!
The result, is these 5 simple truths to help combat defensiveness:
- The wise listen to others. (Proverbs 12:15)
- Pride can eat up contentment, and even common sense. (C.S. Lewis)
- If we miss the importance of the present moment, we may get a wrong picture of what success looks like. (Susie Larson)
- Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
- Live in harmony with one another. (Romans 12:16)
I hope and pray that this information I have gathered and this list of truths, blesses your life as it has mine!
- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Simon & Schuster Touchstone edition, 1996), 109, 111.
- Lewis, Mere Christianity, 112.
- Susie Larson, Your Beautiful Purpose (Bethany House Publishers, 2013), 32.