Is defending yourself verbally a sin? Why or why not?


Is the fact we feel insulted, offended or hurt by people’s words or actions a sign of vanity or wanting to be loved more by men than God? Why do people use their freewill to feel hurt by insults and then blame the “perpetrator”? It is no one’s fault but our own to feel the sting of an insult.
Aren’t what you make of them? Choosing to see an offense where they may not be any?
The common Christian response is to be the bigger person and ignore rude or bullying temperaments.
I think it is important to advocate for yourself and be assertive.
That doesn’t seem to be valued among Christians.
I do not think you should respond violently or to seek revenge.
What is your honest opinion?
Is standing up for yourself a waste of time, words or is this something you should turn over to God?


What kind of insults or offenses?

Ignore trivial things. Once, when someone called me stupid, I replied: “Shh! That’s supposed to be a secret!”


I love your sense of humor. You have a lightness.


Great response!

It is the goal of charity to “bear all things, forgive all things, hope all things, endure all things” (1 Cor 13). We have the example of Christ on His way to the cross, He was spat upon, insulted, they mocked Him and He was innocent and perfect. I keep an image of Christ struggling with the cross in my mind.


So is it sinful or not to respond to harsh words or an insult? I’ve heard different responses. One of you shouldn’t let people get away with disrespecting you that will only teach them to keep doing it the next time. I understand the value in keeping the peace.


My personal opinion is because of our own insecurities. Which could be defined as wanting to be loved more by men than God. There’s not to many personal insults that affect me, because I know what I am capable of and God knows what I am capable of. I also find that most insults tend to come from people not willing to do what you are doing. So I tend to either walk away or tell them it’s all yours if you would like to take over. That tends to shut them up.

An insult can only be an insult if you take it to heart. So yes the choice is yours.

Not necessarily. We also have an obligation to protect our own. If you want to insult me that is one thing, I could care less about your opinion. But if you are going to insult someone I love then you best be able to back up your words.

It depends. My time is valuable, so first I would have to decide on what is the value of me wasting my time to defend myself against someone else’s opinion.


As I already mentioned it depends. You need to weigh each insult as they come. Hopefully this isn’t something you have to do daily. If it is I might suggest a new group of friends.

God Bless


Defending yourself in and of itself is neutral, however, the attitude and responses may be sinful.

Failing at charity is a sin of omission, however, because our society has so ingrained the idea of “standing UP for yourself” “not taking any flack” that for many the culpability is not there.

That you recognize this as a fault can be a sign you are growing in your spiritual life.


I am not of that party. I realize conflicts never end by people remaining quiet or sulking. Nor do I believe it is good for anyone’s self worth to be constantly met with harsh words. I do not even think it is necessary wrong for people to want to feel accepted. Even if it is our insecurities that cause us to feel an insult, I do not think the behavior is somehow acceptable. Mocking someone for their infertility is still mean. You can argue she shouldn’t feel slighted.


I’m gonna steal that from you.

When someone calls me ugly, I tell them that I was just trying to look like them :no_mouth: not scoring heaven points for that, I’m sure.


Hahaha. You’re something else.


Feelings, emotions, are not right are wrong, they are just emotions.

As we grow, as we mature, the idea is that in the Spiritual life we are to put aside our emotions, to know that they are not a trustworthy guide.

Think about a toddler, when they want something, when they are tired, hungry, they will just wail and wail and kick and spit until their need is met. It is all pure emotion and reaction. He is not doing something wrong by expressing these emotions, we do not expect that maturity from a baby. Edit to add: there is nothing wrong with an immature person behaving in this way.

As that person grows, he learns how to control his feelings. Heck, there are days when I am so tired and hungry that I want to kick and wail until someone feeds me and puts me to bed, but, I smile at my coworkers and keep going. That is a sign of maturity. Edit to add: Some days I do snap and let my emotions take over. I’m NOT perfect yet, but, it is my goal!!

In the spiritual life we mature as well.

Don’t expect yourself to be at the level of (insert name of person you admire, or a Saint that you want to emulate) while you are early in your life. Some of us never reach spiritual maturity. St Teresa’s “Interior Castles” is a classic about the spiritual life and the progression to holiness and union with God. Complete abandon is a journey, a goal, not the starting point.

Do you have a Spiritual Director? That might really help!


No. I do not know how to feel about the idea we cannot trust ourselves or our own judgment. How do you know for certain God is speaking to you? What is the point of freewill if we must live the life God intended for us? It is like there is a destiny for us to fulfill.
I don’t know if people choose to feel insulted or if it is a natural reaction.
I do not if it is right or wrong to feel hurt but how you act on them is different.
The ideal Christian seems to be a stoic one who easily forgives and let’s offenses slip off the shoulder.
I can see why some people do not like the saints like Rose of Lima, Maria Goretti or Rita.
Does our holiness lie in what we are able to endure?
Am I less holy if I cannot stay in an abusive marriage til the very end and I wasn’t so holy to convert my rapist or dying abusive husband?
Am I less holy if I still decide to dress decently if I struggle with vanity instead of cutting my hair, dressing down, etc.?

Sometimes things hurt us without us fully understanding why.


Sometimes people insult us just to get a reaction from us. In those situations I think indiference is best. There is no point in a discussion starting from there.
Other times yes we may see insults where there are none. And it’s best for our sanity to assume they weren’t talking about us. Like if you wear a green dress and at a party or at the office someone near you comments how green is a difficult color not everyone can wear it - will you just assume they were hinting at you?


Trusting our own judgement, that is one of the reasons that Christ left us with a Church. We have pastors and teachers who help us form our judgement, who can help us weigh these questions.

Asking the questions you ask shows a real maturity, you are progressing spiritually (I have no idea your chronoligical age, but, you are beginning to, as St Paul said, “put away childish things”).

It is not what we are able to endure, we do nothing under our own power. God is ready to give us the grace, the holiness, to walk on water or to be a martyr, but, we must be at a point in our growth where we have the capacity for that grace and holiness.

Line up a tiny thimble, a juice glass, a wine glass and an Olympic swimming pool. Fill each one of them to capacity. While they do not contain the same amount, they are all full. Through prayer, obedience and little sacrifices we can expand our capacity. I may be a shot glass now, but, with God’s help, I could end up as Lake Ontario! I also may end up as a small teacup, and that is fine, thing is not to put a lid over my container. To always be open to His Spirit to expand my heart.


For me, it is definitely a natural reaction to feel insulted. It is a feeling. We can’t really control our feelings very well. If I remember correctly, St Therese was very sensitive and would cry about very trivial things. Eventually she managed to contain her emotions and take her sighs and complaints to God.

However, it is a sign of pride to desire revenge. It is a sign of pride to desire to defend yourself (not actually you, but in general lol) in an argument when someone points out a fault of yours. But to silently and humbly suffer the sting of an insult is a saintly thing to do.

This litany of humility puts it well:

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


Can you explain to me why it is a sign of pride?


Whenever we feel in our hearts a desire to defend our worth, as though we think we are better (whether that be in knowledge, skill, etc.), that is considered prideful. Many saints battled this and many also conquered it.

To not assume we know all things, to be obedient to those who know better, is humility.

Father Sopocko, St. Faustina’s spiritual director, told her, “Without humility, we cannot be pleasing to God. Practice the third degree of humility; that is, not only must one refrain from explaining and defending oneself when reproached with something, but one should rejoice at the humiliation” (Diary, 270).


Explain why this good for a person.


It humbles them…It’s called interior mortification.


What sin caused Lucifer to fall from heaven?

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