Excuses, Excuses!

“They all alike began to make excuses.” Luke 14:18 NIV

“An excuse is easy to find when you are looking for one.”

My thoughts today are about “excuses, excuses!”

People seem to hate excuses when hearing them, but love them when giving one. It seems that people have a different excuse for every occasion. I found websites devoted to offering excuses for every occasion – school, work, police, bosses, spouses, etc. Maybe you have heard this definition of an excuse, “An excuse is a lie wrapped in a reason.” Maybe calling it a lie is a little harsh, but often there does seem an unhealthy mix of truth and untruth in a lot of excuses.

Would it be safe to say that when you make excuses you are trying to persuade someone that you have a good cause for doing something that you probably should not have done, or for not doing something you really did not want to do anyway? Excuses stop your progress. It has been wisely said that “The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse.” (Author Unknown). Which of those more often describes you? May it always be the first!

My Dad was very clear about the importance of a man keeping his word. I well remember his saying, A man is only as good as his word; be sure that people can count on what you say.” Here’s what the Bible says about the person who most enjoys access to God. “Lord, who may enter your temple? . . A person who always does what’s right, whose words are true and sincere . . who always does what he promises, no matter how much it may cost.” Psalm 15:1-2/4 TEV. Out of eleven virtues God prizes in this psalm, one of them is about not making excuses. It is clear where this ranks on God’s list of qualities of integrity and Godly character.

Excuses are really not a good thing; excuses keep you from doing and being your best. The fewer of those you find necessary, the better your relationships and the more likely your success. “He that is good at making excuses is rarely good for anything else.” (Benjamin Franklin).

Jesus told a story of three friends invited to a wedding. According to the culture of that time, they had apparently accepted the honor of the gracious invitation given them, but when the date approached each gave excuses because of other matters that now occupied their time and required their attention. Their excuses were different, but the circumstance was the same for all – they now preferred doing something other than what they had said they would do. “They all alike began to make excuses.” Luke 14:18 NIV.

One man asked to be excused because of a possession. Wouldn’t it have been wiser for him to inspect his property before its purchase, rather than after? Another man asked to be excused because of business. That would not be a sound business practice, buying business equipment without knowing how well it would work. Another man asked to be excused because of his recent marriage. In the Jewish culture, even a recent marriage would have been the product of much prior time preparing a home to which he would receive his bride. All were excuses, not reasons.

I think a lot of excuses are born from circumstances similar yet today – things you want to do or have, matters you consider more personally enriching or rewarding, and people whose goodwill you regard more highly. An excuse is easy to find when you are looking for one; sometimes they may cost more than you foresee. Here’s what is eternally important: allow yourself no excuses in your relationship with God. “People have no excuse at all! They know God, but they do not give Him the honor that belongs to Him, nor do they thank Him.” Romans 1:20-21 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you live in a way that requires no excuse to God or man.