Trading our excuses for forgiveness, let’s do our best

Posted By | September 26, 2019 2:14 pm

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl

Anderson is so stinking cute…just like all grandchildren, but, according to his teacher, he is also the “King of Excuses.” His mom, Whitney, our daughter-in-law, shared the story with us recently.

Their class of first graders was headed to the school cafeteria, in a line, in the hallway, when the teacher observed some unacceptable behavior from our precious 6-year-old grandson. Anderson was practicing a “tomahawk chop” on the head of the little boy in front of him…not a karate chop…not hard enough to really hurt, just enough to be annoying…just enough to be a pest.

“Anderson! Let’s keep our hands to ourselves!”

“What?” The question was accompanied by his most innocent – stinking cute – grin.

“Why did you hit Josh on the head?”

Cute is just not enough; a quick defense, a good excuse was needed…and quickly. For the King of Excuses any excuse is better than no excuse.

“I don’t know how it happened,” he exclaimed, “I just blinked, and it happened.” That actually sounded reasonable to Anderson.

“Anderson!” His teacher continued, unfazed by his response, “You hit him FIVE TIMES!”

“Well…uh…I BLINKED five times!”

According to our son and chosen daughter, their younger son usually has an excuse – typically a lame one – for everything. Often he blames the family boxer, Reagan, for his errors and shortcomings. Such as, “I hit Grayson because Reagan licked my foot.” Or, “It was Reagan’s fault that I fell.” – so the dog was across the room – “but he looked at me wrong!”

He is so precious, but – again – cute is not always enough. Most of us have been trying to excuse our behavior since Genesis. When Adam and Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit, both of them sought to excuse themselves by passing the buck and blaming someone else.

In my mind, I can just hear Adam turning on his precious sweetheart when God thundered, “Adam, why did you disobey?”

“Well…uh…Lord…the woman that You gave me offered me a bite…”

Then as they turned and looked at Eve, she blurted out, “The devil made me do it!”

Sadly, that type of excuse-making and blame-casting has continued into the 21st century.  As a 6-year-old, or the first pair of humans with no prior experience, it seems just natural to make excuses. In fact, all of us have inherited a sinful nature, and so we continue to look for excuses. Perhaps we pass the blame to others – on social media – or we try in some other way to justify behavior that is clearly sinful.

Excuses won’t work! No excuse is a good excuse.

So how should we respond when we realize we have wronged someone or that we have sinned against a righteous and holy God? Paul told the Romans that ALL have sinned and come short of God’s glory. And there is no excuse that will get us off the hook…

…but if we confess our sins and seek His forgiveness, He will forgive us and cover our sins with the blood of Jesus.

No excuse is necessary, just confession and a heart that is willing to receive His forgiveness. As we mature in our spiritual life, we try, with God’s help, to resist rapping others on the head. As he grows up, let’s pray that Anderson will seek forgiveness for bad behavior instead of making excuses for it, and that he will replace bad habits with good ones.

Let’s pray that you and I will do that, too!

Steve Playl, chaplain, columnist, college instructor and former pastor,    

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