What happens when you are challenged about an attitude you have or something you have said or done? How do you react?
The people of the world respond by looking to self-justify. Their default position is to justify their actions and assert the rectitude of what they have done. Upon realisation of their rightness they smugly move on having proven themselves once again.
The people of God respond by looking to repent. They seek to examine the situation to see whether they have doing anything wrong. Having seen what is wrong they repent with brokenness of spirit. Whereupon they seek God for help to not sin again in the future.
Of course this is reflective of the world view of each. The people of this world have never seen the full measure of sin to which they are prone and vulnerable. They do not see the gravity of doing that which offends the Lord. Whilst the people of God are only too aware of their weakness and their tendency to fail the Lord and others.
We must note that we are speaking of generalisms here and the basic tendencies found in the godly and the worldly camps. There will be times when the people of this world realise they have done wrong and will apologise. And there are times when the people of God conclude that they have done right and will explain such.
These observations do not take away from my basic premise through of how the world and the church generally operate.
This is demonstrated in scripture when our Lord speaks of church discipline in Matthew 18:15-17. Through the process of personal encounter, small group encounter and then church encounter the sinning man clearly sees what he has done wrong. However the ongoing (and concluding) action by the man is to refuse to repent. So we read If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matt. 18:17). This man is to be treated like the world because he has acted like the world. When a case of outright sin is brought before him he self-justifies rather than repents.
So – hey, what about you and me? What is our default position when we are challenged?