Repentance v Defensiveness

"It seems to me that we tend to respond to accurate criticism in one of two ways: repentance or defensiveness. These two reactions are as different as heaven and hell. A defensive heart says, “but look at what I did right!” (diversion). A repentant heart says, “here specifically is what I did wrong” (honesty). A defensive heart says, “but look at what was done to me!” (distraction). A repentant heart says, “here is how I contributed to the conflict” (ownership). A defensive heart says, “it wasn’t that bad” (downplaying). A repentant heart says, “it was a big deal” (admission)...

The gospel alone can free us for honesty, ownership, and admission, because the gospel alone destroys the sting and judgment associated with criticism. The gospel takes away the fear that drives defensiveness and frees us to openly admit our shortcomings. The gospel says, “in the place of your deepest failure and shame you are loved most tenderly.” The gospel says, “your deepest fears were already born by Christ.” The gospel says, “your sins were exposed and dealt with at the cross. The battle is already over.”

Gavin Ortlund, Repentance versus Defensiveness