So this week, she had asked me to start cleaning up after myself more around the house. I used to do this pretty well, but lately I've been slacking and she's been picking up after me. As we were talking, I found myself trying to excuse my behavior. But when I look at what these excuses are really saying, they just fall apart.
Implication: So I should be able to sit around from 5 PM til bedtime without lifting a finger around the house.
Excuse: Its hard for me to put my clothes away in the morning and at night because Michaela is napping and I don't want the opening and closing of the drawers to wake her.
Implication: So its okay that as a grown man I can't figure out how to put my clothes away.
I'm quick to offer up excuses to defend myself. When I really stop and consider what I'm saying, I realize how childish I'm being. Instead of owning my faults and working to correct them, I pretend everything is alright. But I'm only fooling myself.
Did you know the Bible talks about this? We all make excuses and not one of them fools God.
Every man's way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts. -- Proverbs 21:2
The bottom line is that many of us tend to think that we are awesome. We have our way of doing things and its the best way! So when people bring up our flaws, point out our sin, and ask us to change. . . we don't respond the way we should. Often, we provide a list of reasons that show exactly why our way is the right way and what they are suggesting is just silly.
At the root of the issue is pride. We think so highly of ourselves that we almost instinctively believe that what we are doing is right. We naturally generate dozens of excuses whenever anyone or anything shows up to point out our mistakes. We may be able to fool ourselves. We may even be able to fool those around us. But the Bible tells us that God sees our hearts. He knows our true motives. He is not fooled by our excuses. Let's take a look at two excuses and guess at what God sees in our hearts.
Excuse: I work all day and want to relax when I get home.
Heart: Laziness makes me hate work and the selfishness in me says let someone else do it
Excuse: I'm lying to keep everyone happy, this little fib is better than hurting everyone with the truth.
Heart: Fear of how others will react has me convinced its better to rob them of the truth.
You and I need to fight the urge to immediately defend ourselves because the truth is we are not nearly as awesome as we think. Often, when we feel the need to make excuses, its because someone has actually brought up a good point about one of our flaws or sins. Instead of fooling ourselves and pretending we are always right, let's be a people who seriously consider our faults. Let's hear people out when they bring us a criticism or suggestion. Let's pray about it when people rebuke us and point out sins in our lives. Let's be a people who is quick to repent and slow to make excuses.
After all, the goal of our lives as Christians is not to stay conformed to the image of our own awesomeness. The goal is to be conformed into the image of Christ. That's going to take daily change. Its going to require giving up our excuses. But its going to be worth it.
- What are the most recent criticisms, corrections, advice, rebukes, etc. that I've received?
- How did I respond to them?
- What excuses did I tell others or myself?
- What's really going on in my heart?
- Would God buy my excuse?
- Do I actually need to change?
- What can I do differently this week in order to repent of my flaws and mistakes and be more like Christ?
- Don't forget to vote for next Tuesday's question at the top right of the site!