Recently someone said something that hurt my feelings.
Even though not out loud, my mind began giving this person the reasons of why they were wrong. This individual knew me very well, and I was kind of bewildered why they had lashed out at me.
Many people I know have an automatic response to pain. When something is said or done belittling them, they whip out the old walls of “Self-Defense.”
However, it is during these times that I am reminded about something that happened to my grandpa Smith when he was 15 years old just after he got sanctified. He was the janitor at a church making $2.50 a month. He would also build a fire, build lights with kerosene, and trim the church lamps.
One day, he realized that he had lost the skeleton key that he used to get into the church. Nevertheless, when he went to his boss and explained the situation, the church boss was mad. “You didn’t lose the key,” he spat. “You’ve hid the key. You just want to sneak back in the church when no one’s looking and steal kerosene and wood.”
The man gave my grandpa another key but started spreading rumors behind his back telling everyone in the church my grandpa had stolen the key and when confronted had a carnal fit.
A dear saint in the church came to my grandpa and wanted to know the truth. When he heard what had really happened, the saint told my grandpa that he should go around and tell all the church people that he didn’t do it. To this my grandpa shook his head, “Oh no. I don’t want to go around and gossip to everyone about the man. I’ll just live my life. After a while, folks will realize what I am.”
My grandpa held his ground even when the people of the church no longer wanted him to take part in services. When nobody trusted or believed him. When he was talked and whispered about. He didn’t throw up his fists in self-defense. He learned a much-needed quality: letting Christ be his defense.
My friends, if you say your all is on the altar and you are void of all carnality, then why do you still find it okay to rest in self, self-defense?
You say you are sanctified and the fire burns upon your altar, then why do you feel a need to have the last word to clear your name?
Job says, “Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defense.”
The Psalmist exclaims this theme many a time, “Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing: for God is my defense, and the God of my mercy (59:17)… In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God (62:7)… For the Lord is our defense; and the Holy One of Israel is our King (89:18)… But the Lord is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge (94:22).”
Oh, brothers and sisters, may I never lose sight of this truth. God help me! May I surrender my “rights” of self-defense. Oh, may Christ be my defense.
Other refuge have I none;
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! Leave me not alone,
Still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed,
All my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
-Charles Wesley (1740)