We’ve been on a roll reviewing some of the ways we distance ourselves from personal repentance, especially through various deflection techniques. Popular deflections include recrimination or counteraccusation, “I’m rubber, you’re glue, and whatever you say you do worse than I do.” Then there’s credentialism, demanding to see a badge of authority before offering to pay any attention. We also examined the offensive technique of first-strike, rebuking someone who we know will take it in order to throw the attention off of ourselves. Here’s one more technique that starts defensive and turns offensive.
I’m not sure what the word for it is, but it goes something like this. Person U approaches Person I and says, “It really seems that you are angry.” Person I responds, “But what about last week when I wasn’t mad at you? What about all those times when I haven’t been angry?”
Sure, what about last week? Agreed, Person I wasn’t mad last week. But we’re talking about this time, not those times.
Person I digs in, “Well, why aren’t you thankful for all the nice things I’ve said to you? That’s wrong!” Person U is confused. “Who said I wasn’t thankful for all those? I am thankful, that’s part of the reason I’m concerned about this. This doesn’t fit with those. This needs to be dealt with.”
Third person observers know that this is not a good situation. This is how Person I deflects confession and repentance by attempting to make the other person feel guilty for something completely unrelated. “I covered the dunghill with snow. Why are you (sinning by) complaining about the stink?” “Even though I was punching you in the gut, at least I had my left arm around you holding you up. Where’s the thanks for that?”
There is no forgiveness for those who do nothing wrong. There are few relationships that can survive with this type of perfect person who does nothing wrong, either. We should pray that God won’t allow us to get away from sin in our hearts no matter how hard we try.