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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Excuses, Excuses!

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Excuses, excuses! We all know what they are.

In fact, most of us use them quite frequently. Excuses have a way of popping up at the most opportune time to get us out of trouble or to justify our shortcomings. How do we improve upon our shortcomings if we never confess them? How can we fix a problem if we are unwilling to admit there is a problem?

Just take a few moments and consider some excuses you have heard or have even used from time to time. It does not take long to realize that there are excuses for all kinds of inadequacies.

For instance, I am not a good father because my father was not around when I was growing up. I am not a nurturing mother because my mother was not nurturing. It is okay to file for a divorce since all of the marriages in my family fail. My children are bad because of what they see on TV, music videos, and video games. I cannot succeed in life because the “white man” holds me down. I cannot get ahead in life because the credit card companies ruined my credit. My grades are bad because my teachers are prejudice. It is my parent’s fault that I have a drug and alcohol addiction. Excuses, excuses!

Do not get me wrong! I am not suggesting that excuses are never legitimate. Sometimes we are justified in excusing ourselves. I know that there are influences in life over which we have little control. I am also well aware of the fact that some “pits” in which some of us find ourselves, like Joseph, are not our fault and the suffering we endure is at the hand of other individuals (Genesis 37:20).

The problem arises, however, when we use excuses to justify our staying in the “pit” or when we use them to justify our personal inadequacies.

In the creation story, we see Adam and Eve use excuses to justify their offense after eating the fruit of the forbidden tree (Genesis 3:8-13).

God, four times, gave Adam and Eve the chance to admit their sin but because they both had excuses they did not notice the forgiveness God was attempting to extend them. Adam was busy blaming God and Eve for his sin and Eve was busy blaming the serpent for hers. Neither of them ever took responsibility for their wrongdoing. They both exhibited unrepentant hearts and as this story shows us, God resists an unrepentant heart.

Remember, when we admit our failures we have made the first step toward repentance. When we make that first step we demonstrate a teachable attitude and the desire to improve upon our shortcomings.

To be teachable, you must be willing to admit that you don’t know or that you are wrong. Then and only then are we open and prepared for instructions that may help us turn from our sin. From here on out, let us live the slogan “No Excuses!” Spread the word!

Rev. James O. Jackson, II is pastor of Mt. Nebo Missionary Baptist Church, 2325 Hovey St., Indianapolis, IN 46218. He can be contacted at (317) 924-2737 or jjackson@cts.edu.

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