Posted by: forfreedomalone | 18/09/2013

The Power of an Excuse

When Moses was told to go and speak to Pharaoh he said he stuttered. When the rich young ruler was told to sell all he had and give it to the poor he went away sad, because he knew he could not let go of his god. When Adam ate the apple he said “It was her!” and then from good measure he added “It was YOU!”.

There are many more examples of excuses in the Bible and I am sure that you and I could add a few of our own.
An excuse is an explanation which attempts to remove responsibility from self.
A reason is an explanation which does not attempt to remove responsibility from self.

“I am late for this meeting because I slept in” is a reason.
“I am late for this meeting because my alarm didn’t go off” is an excuse. It is an excuse even if it is true. If you were responsible, if you cared about the meeting, were conscious of your responsibilities to the client and your company you would have ensured that the alarm was set for an early enough time to give you leeway, set a second alarm, booked a wake up call. If all that failed you would miss breakfast and a long shower to be there on time and failing all that you would simply say “I slept in”.

A person who uses excuses is a person who will not take responsibility for their own behaviour. We cannot control the fact that the battery in the alarm clock went flat on this night of all nights, we cannot control the traffic on the way to work, or the lift breaking down and having to walk up 20 flights of stairs. These things happen; but a person who tries to absolve himself of any responsibility for his part in the end result is one who is fearful and who, as a result is untrustworthy.

Moses was trying to convince God that he wasn’t good at talking, so he should send someone else. Why? Fear. Who in their right mind would want to stand in front of Pharaoh and tell him they had a message from God? and what was worse, that message was telling Pharaoh to do something there was no earthly way he would want to do. Send someone else!

The rich young ruler, said nothing. What could he say? He knew that there was no possibility of him selling all that he had and giving it to the poor, but how do you tell Jesus that? He just kept his mouth shut, but his heart was telling him he couldn’t do that, he had too much to loose.

Adam knew what he had been told not to do, there was nothing ambiguous about God’s directions to him. He knew he was in trouble, so what did he do? He blamed Eve; it was the woman. And just for good measure, just to be sure there was no doubt he was not responsible, he adds, “which YOU gave me”. Really, God it is your fault.

We all do it. We all use excuses and we all suffer as a result. “OH, No!”,you say ” no one gets hurt with an excuse, it protects everyone”. No, it doesn’t. Excuses hurt everyone concerned.

In the beginning Adam had the chance to take responsibility for what he did. Yes, it was the woman who brought the apple to him; yes, it was God who gave the woman to him, BUT it was Adam who had been told not to eat and it was Adam who ate. No explanation absolves him of responsibility.
There is some evidence, in the Hebrew, that when God was calling to Adam he was calling to restore him to his position before he ate. God never wanted Adam to be thrown out of the garden, nor to suffer the consequences of his action, but there was no choice when Adam did not take responsibility for his actions. There was no other course and it was Adam who decided that, by excusing himself.
If Adam had said “Yes, I did it”, God, is his infinite mercy and love could have said “I forgive you”.He had forgiven Adam, but Adam could not experience that forgiveness, because Adam saw no need for it.
God wanted to restore Adam, but how could he when Adam saw all wrong doing as someone else’s problem? The woman and God were the problems, not him. God did forgive Adam, He sent away the offence and continued a relationship with Adam; a relationship which required God to also leave the garden. But he could not restore Adam, because Adam did not take responsibility.

This was not about how God saw things, it was about how Adam saw them.

If you are late for a meeting because you slept in, but you have good excuses (and they may be very good indeed!) you will go on being late for meetings all your working life. You will loose business because you will not be seen as a man of your word, you can’t be trusted to arrive on time. You will continue that pattern as long as you have an excuse.
Once you take responsibility for what you are doing, change is possible.

You cannot change what you will not own, so how can you start being on time for meetings for which you are not late? So long as you do not own the facts that YOU are late and you ARE late, nothing can change.
So long as Adam was justified (in his own mind, and that is what excuses do, they justify you in your own mind) there was no possibility of change.

When we are willing to accept responsibility we move into the spot light of God’s grace, God’s ability. Accepting responsibility is not the same thing as being blamed. Man may blame us and even seek to punish us, but it does not work that way with God. We are not going to be punished by him, we are going to be restored.
Remember the reason he could not restore Adam was because Adam would not take responsibility. In Adam’s mind he was not responsible for anything, so there was nothing he needed from God.

The biggest area in which we need to stop our excuses is sin. So long as we have an excuse there is no way for God to restore us. We simply don’t need a Saviour as long as we have an excuse.
“It’s the way I’m made”…..it’s your fault God.
“It’s because of my upbringing”…..it’s the woman’s fault.
“I just can’t help it”……it’s not me.
All of Adam’s excuses are still ours today.

We have no excuse. There is no justification to live as God has told us not to live. He didn’t tell us not to do this or that because he a nasty, mean, old misery, he told us not to because he knew what misery it would bring us. Sin has a pleasure, but it does not last and anyone who says it does is a liar. Drug addiction is a perfect example. There are pleasures, but in due time more and more drug is required to get the same pleasure. The drug is doing damage all the while until there is no amount which will bring the pleasure and all there is, is death.
All sin is this way and that is why he said “do not do that”.

We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, he knows that. He is not angry at us for that. He loves us…..ALL of us. But he cannot restore any of us until we turn to him and say “I am without excuse, I need you.” Then he can save us, then we are restored.

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