All too often we misunderstand how to defend ourselves and what to defend. When you know your heart is hidden in the One who defends you, "I'm sorry, I was wrong," comes out a lot easier and it tastes all the more sweet. Pride only defends that which we think defines us. Is it intelligence? Is it health? Is it decision making? Or the kicker, is it YOUR PAST? Beloved, when your heart is hidden in the One who has ransomed you, your identity rests in Him alone as a chosen child of God. He doesn't tell you "it's okay." No. He looks at you directly in the eye and says, "I saw that thing you did. I know the devastation that it heaped onto your soul. I know that's why you've been hiding in that cave of isolation. Sure, you come out sometimes to just reassure the world that you're okay, but the speed at which you retreat is equivalent to the amount of fear you have of being "found out." Sweet child, I have to tell you that THAT is a fear that is poorly informed. I found you out long before you even found yourself out. I know what kind of fruit the roots in your heart produce. Venus Fly trap. They look beautiful, but the truth is that they're hungry and they don't care who or what they devour. It's never been in my will for my children to hunger. I know what a hangry soul looks like and I've never wanted those repercussions to land on my children. I also saw what happened to you and I want you to know how my heart broke when I saw you hurt. If you let me, I will fight for you. Unclinch your fists, Zacchaeus. Stop trying to force-collect taxes on your people just because they want to be in your life and you think their presence has to benefit you if they intend to stay. I'm proud of you for climbing that tree to get a good look at me. Did you know that your name means, "innocent"? Sure, you can return to your ways of finding soul wealth in the world ... but I need you to know that it'll break my heart because I created you to find your fullness in Me. I have seen the thing you're hiding from in that cave. I know exactly what it looks like. Did you hear me say, "innocent"? That's not a verdict a jury rendered, its a decree I have made over your life because I HAVE COME AND DIED IN YOUR PLACE that you might live for the higher calling of holiness and innocence and when I did that I adopted you as my child. Cave dwelling is not an activity suited for royalty, my child. Stop drawing on the walls of complacency and come out. There's no need to cover what I already see. You've got your reasons but I hold your peace. Just throw off your fears and come running to me. Come. What you did is not a thing I will ever condone, but your soul is worth more to me than your actions. Forgiven means I've erased the debt you've been trying to pay off with earthly currency when the only currency I will accept is the currency of heaven. Stop trying to pay me back. Your debt has been erased and I've given you a title. Child. An heir to the riches of the world. Not only have I erased your debt, I've employed you to co-labor with me ... you're my accomplice in this grace wave I want to drown the world in. Imprison yourself in your past and you'll accept an offer of employment from the prison warden. You'll be bound to hard labor and your reward will be sparse rations and a jail cell. I've offered you a gift and the only requirement I've placed on your receipt is that you recognize your brokenness so that you can know just how amazing my grace really is."
Pride will "defend" (excuse/cover up) what it thinks will harm the image you've created of yourself. Can we agree that any image we create will never measure up to the image He creates for us? It's an unshakable one. It's an impenetrable one. It's one that chooses confident surrender over defensive pride. It's one that walks out of those prison walls, unshackled and unchained.
Don't be bound by your ability to show yourself as acceptable and "good enough" to the world. God has a much better game plan for that.
Trust Him, love.