January 24, 2017 by maryruwe
Have you ever used an excuse to not do something? Maybe you were grouchy with your family or a co-worker and explained it away because you didn’t feel well or because you didn’t sleep well the night before (maybe as a result of staying up too late). Maybe your calendar got too full and instead of taking responsibility for the mistake yourself you blamed your spouse or secretary for not communicating another scheduled event. Perhaps you declined teaching that Sunday School Class because you didn’t feel adequate to teach, but in reality it was because you just didn’t want to take the time to prepare and be ready. Perhaps an excuse was given because you didn’t want to work with someone, even though you are qualified to do the task! Excuses – everyone has used them and everyone has heard them from others. However, any way you look at it an excuse usually is not entirely truthful.
Now before we get all down on ourselves with condemnation for using an excuse, let’s be sure that we don’t label every change or decision as an excuse. We all know there are times that changes happen during a day or week that constitute for us to be flexible and able to make changes in our schedules at the last minute. These times are not what we are talking about.
Let’s face it making an excuse is sometimes just a convenience for us to get out of doing something. The problem is that since it’s so easy and convenient, some people make it a way of life. The result is that a person then becomes known as undependable and unfaithful. Those are two characteristics no one wants to have! Actually there is a bit of selfishness at the base of excuses because we are saying we want to do, or not do, what we want regardless of how it affects others. Selfishness is not a good thing; it does not express the nature of Jesus’ love.
Children are notorious for excuses – that’s because they are children and are learning to take responsibility for themselves. But adults are no longer children and should not be making excuses for their conduct; they should be taking responsibility for their conduct.
Sometimes we interchange the words excuse and reason, but they have different definitions. An excuse is a statement offered because we want to be released from an obligation but don’t want to actually say why (usually based in selfishness or laziness). A reason is a statement offered with a legitimate explanation for why we are changing our obligation, whether to cancel all together, or postponed, etc.
First Corinthians 13:11 tells us to put away childish things. What was acceptable as a child is no longer acceptable as an adult. That’s true with our spiritual growth too. As Christians we are to seek those things which are above, where Christ is; and put off worldly carnal thinking and conduct, and not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9). Or as we are discussing in this post, stop making excuses for being the way we are and start taking responsibility for our actions, our words, and make decisions to be like Jesus in our speech and conduct.
God expects us to grow up into the image of Jesus. God expects us to put away our childish ways of making excuses. God expects us to accept the responsibility of walking in the Light of His Word. God expects us to accomplish this by renewing our mind to His Word and applying it to our lives (Romans 12:2 and John 8:12 and Ephesians 5:8). We apply the Word to our lives by obeying the Word.
Ephesians 4:22-25 tells us to put off our former conduct of the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of our mind, and to put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness, putting away lying, and to speak the truth. In other words we are to think, act, and speak like Jesus.
“Father God I pray right now that this week you begin to show us any situations and areas in our lives where we are using excusing; forgive us, and help us to take responsibility for our actions, words, attitudes, and conduct. Help us dear Lord, to give time to reading Your Word and prayer so that we can be prepared to take responsibility when the opportunity arises and not feel inadequate and fall again back into making excuses. We trust in you Lord and are confident that according to Your Word in Philippians 1:6 that you are able to complete the good work you have begun in us to transform us into the image of Christ. In Jesus’ Name amen.”