10/15/08

Reasons, Not Excuses

There really is no personal growth or progress until we stop making excuses for bad behavior, bad habits, and wrong choices.

As a young pastor’s wife, I remember counseling a woman and hearing her litany of excuses. Finally, when I could take no more, I lovingly but firmly said, “Those are all reasons—maybe even valid reasons—for you to feel the way you do, but they are not excuses for your behavior, because you have the living Holy Spirit dwelling in you, and He can empower you to do what is right.” The woman seemed stunned. She stopped talking, blinked at me a few times, and said, “You know, you’re absolutely right. They are reasons, not excuses.”

Now that kind of counsel is easy to give, but hard to follow. I’ve struggled in my own life with a list of excuses—and God’s Spirit kindly returns the counsel that I’ve given to others. When it comes to making wise, biblical choices, there is never a place for excuses after the fact. We simply chose not to do what we knew was right. We may have been motivated by lies. We may have had ulterior motives. We may have chosen to fear man rather than God. We may have lacked faith at that moment, or hope. We may have given in to our emotions rather than living by the truth of scripture. There can be hundreds of reasons for wrong choices.

God wants us to own up to our wrong choices. Some are sins that need to be confessed in true repentance (I John 1:8-9). Other choices are simply not wise—not necessarily sin, but not the best (Proverbs 1:7). We can’t move on to make better choices when we cling to excuses and try to justify our words or behavior. Listen to your conversations. Are you making excuses? (See Proverbs 16:2, 25; 21:2). God wants us to acknowledge wrong, sinful, or unwise choices, and not allow the Enemy to convince us that we have no other choice. God help us to counsel our hearts according to His unchanging Word (Proverbs 1:5).

2 comments:

Judy Scharfenberg said...

My dear Dawn, You have a beautiful way of explaining truth from God's Word. I know that your audiences are blessed. I want to hear you sometime.

Shelley said...

Wow, Dawn. You are right on the money, honey. Keep up the good ideas. I love them.

God Bless us all in the next year.