“As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?”
My mother used to say that an excuse was the skin of the truth, packed with a lie. Her definition of an excuse is absolutely correct when you compare it to the verse above. God uses an illustration about a man caught deceiving his neighbor, and the excuse he gave for his deceit was, “Am not I in sport?” His excuse was nothing more than a lie. He knew that he deceived his neighbor, but he said he was just playing when he got caught. There are four principles that God is teaching about excuses that will help you become a better Christian if you learn them.
First, an excuse is nothing more than a lie. It is interesting in the verses above that the man’s excuse was to cover up for his deceit. Whenever you give an excuse, you are revealing you have a deceitful heart. The only reason you would give an excuse is in hopes that people won’t actually see why you did what you did, or why you didn’t do what you were supposed to do. Simply put, you are lying when you give an excuse. You can think that giving an excuse absolves your lie, but God still knows it is a lie, even if others don’t see it.
Second, excuses lead to strife. Right after God talks about a man giving an excuse, he continues by talking about talebearers. Verse 20 says, “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.” A talebearer is a story teller. In other words, when you give an excuse, you are telling a story which results in strife. My friend, the stories told as an excuse to cover up for what really happened only leads to strife when they are discovered to be untrue. You may fool people for a while with excuses and stories, but the truth will eventually come out, and when it does, it will always cause conflict. All of this can be averted if a person just tells the truth.
Third, excuses are a revelation of poor character. If you have good character, you will never have to give an excuse because you will always do what you are supposed to do. Always beware of those who have an excuse for not doing what they are supposed to do because they are revealing their lack of character. If you don’t ever want to be known as a person with poor character, remove the excuses and just do what you are supposed to do.
Fourth, the antidote to excuses are truth and action. My friend, the best way to stop giving an excuse is to always tell the truth. People understand that you will make mistakes, but they won’t take kindly to you lying to cover for the mistake. Strife always sets in when you add lying to cover for your inaction. It may be uncomfortable for the moment to tell the truth and face the consequences for not doing what you were supposed to do, but it is better than giving an excuse and it is discovered later as a boldface lie. If you just tell the truth, you will never have to give an excuse.
Moreover, if you do what you are supposed to do all the time, you will never be faced with the temptation to give an excuse. Let the knowledge of knowing that the truth always comes out be the motivator to action. It all comes down to one thing: do what you are supposed to do at the time you are supposed to do it, and you will never have to give an excuse for what you didn’t do. Let your motto of life be, no excuses.