I have a confession to make. I may be the queen of excuses.
- The laundry didn’t get done because my son made a mess playing with Playdough.
- Supper didn’t get made because there was a huge line at the grocery store.
- There’s no money in the account because the blender broke and gas prices went up again.
- My Bible sat unopened today because a certain someone called with a problem.
Do you notice a pattern here? Specifically, there is an absence of one little pronoun, “I”. It's really not so surprising. That’s the thing about excuses, they always place the blame somewhere else. They are another way of saying, “It’s not my fault.” But is it? The answer lies in the reason behind the excuse.
According to The World English Dictionary an excuse is made “in defense of some fault or as a reason for not fulfilling an obligation.” Can that reason be factual? Yes. Can it be avoidable? Sometimes. And for that reason, an excuse is not always a bad thing. For example, missing school or work because of an illness is unavoidable and certainly not considered wrong. However, being late to school or work because you didn’t set your alarm clock is avoidable and frowned upon. In the end, I’d rather not be known as one who is always making excuses especially when I know that there is a God above who sees my motives and knows when I’m simply making poor choices. Case in point, excuse number 4 above. How hard is it to sit down and read my Bible for ten minutes without answering the phone? Even if there is an emergency, I bet that I could find another ten minutes somewhere in my day to give to God. Similarly, excuse number two could have been completely avoided if I had left the house an hour earlier.
It seems that excuses most often come into play when I don’t want to own up to my own failure. It’s really just a form of justification. I know I’m not alone in this. In fact, check out this story in Luke chapter 10. A religious man encounters Jesus. When Jesus affirms that the man ought to love God with his whole heart and love his neighbor as he loves himself, the man “wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, ‘And, who is my neighbor?’” Jesus wisely discerns that this man wants to excuse his lack of love for certain people and tells him the story of the good Samaritan. Jesus knew that Jews hated Samaritans and he made this particular Jew admit that the Samaritan was his "neighbor". What a perfect story to show this “religious” man that God would not accept his justification.
Likewise, He is not going to accept mine.
"People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives."
"People may be right in their own eyes,but the Lord examines their heart."