Self-Defense (Acts 24:1-21)

Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:” (Acts 24:10, AV)

On occasion, we are called to defend our actions. I have had several of these, but in hindsight, I wonder if it is profitable or even correct to do so. When I started my first job as an engineer after leaving the military, I ran into one such situation. I worked with another more senior engineer on a project and wrote a report on our findings. When I submitted the report to our boss, he kind of went ballistic. At least it seemed that way to me. In my report, I concluded that about forty rolls of paper were defective, which would have cost the company over forty-thousand dollars. The technical findings were correct. Thus, I defended my report.

My defense was to no avail, as my boss wanted a different conclusion. He wanted us to find a way to use the paper. In an angry tone, my boss stated, “Why did you come up with this conclusion? Did (the senior engineer) tell you to make this conclusion?” Well, he did, but it was my name on the report. For this reason, I couldn’t point the finger at him because I was the author. So, at that point I just clammed up and indicated it was my signature on the report. Of course, I went back to the drawing board and discovered a way to use the paper.

Sometimes we have no other choice than to defend ourselves. Paul was in such a situation here. Yet the passage gives us two pointers on how to do this. The first has to do with out emotional make-up. Verse 10 states that Paul “cheerfully” answered for himself. The word “cheerfully,” euthumos, comes from two words meaning good passion. In other words, Paul responds with a good emotion, good cheer (Strong 2116). Paul did not get angry and burst out with any negative emotion.

Second, he told the truth. He, without negative emotion just clearly stated the facts. He was honest. He did not embellish. He did not belabor the point. He told it like it was. Having told the truth exactly, he let it rest.

When we get into times where we must defend ourselves, we must be very careful to keep our emotions under control. We can only do this if we are filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18) so that the Spirit will be in control and not our emotions (Gal 5:16).

Moreover, we must be perfectly honest. We may even be in the wrong. If so, we must admit it. We should not be in the practice of covering up for our own shortcomings. We must always tell the truth, the facts exactly as they are.

When we respond as a righteous person should, we then must trust the Lord as our defense. After all, He is our righteous advocate (1 John 2:1). He is our defense. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” (Psalm 27:1, NASB95)

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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