What's Your Excuse?
...one after another they all began to make excuses. The first one said, "I have bought a field, and I need to go see it. Please excuse me." Another said, "I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out. Please excuse me." Still another said, "I have married a wife, so I cannot come" (Lk. 14:18-20).
An excuse need not be a lie. It is a cause, factor, or circumstance that frees from blame or releases from obligation. Many excuses are both truthful and legitimate; some are outright lies; while others may be very truthful, yet reveal a most unbecoming character in the maker.
When someone explains his absence from worship with, “We had visitors,” this need not be a lie. It may be true — which tells us that this person regards social amenities as being more important than worship.
“No one is perfect!” How very very true. So — there can be no standards, no right or wrong? There can be no ideals to which we can press, nor should we urge such elevated goals upon others? Can’t we see that the imperfection of man is the very reason for recognizing our failures as such, and helping one another to get up and try again?
“Many people do it,” to which we all must agree. Does that make it the will of God? Many people think that man made God in his own image, and accept a situation-ethics standard; but it can not be demonstrated that such a philosophy has ever elevated mankind, or promoted a stable society. This is a poor substitute for faith in God and individual character.
“There are hypocrites in the church,” — and the world has none? Do you think that using a hypocrite as your excuse makes you a better man? And how is it that one is able to see the truth with reference to hypocrisy in others, and be blinded to the same in themselves? (Matt. 7:1-5)
“But I meant well!” This also may be the truth. It commends, to some extent; but it remains a commendation only as our honest heart leads us to further consider God’s truth, and make corrections accordingly.
A radio commercial some years back has one man excusing himself from worship with, “Things are so unsettled these days. There is so little time. Why, the whole world may be blown apart at any moment.”
And the reply was, “That’s right!”
Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near (Is. 55:6).
–– R.F. Turner, April 1972