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We all have them.

We use them all the time, and most of the time they become a habit in releasing us from responsibility. Excuses do not build character and they rarely, if ever, produce anything positive. Nothing is worse than a person who always makes excuses for why they are always late and why something is never their fault. Excuses are learned behavior, and it usually is a lazy way to look at responsibility. For example, when someone is late they are late because they did not plan well enough to be on time. Things do happen beyond our control to make us late, but if we are chronically late then there is a deeper problem where we use excuses to cover us.

To me, excuses are soft lies … they give us a way out of taking responsibility and being accountable. For example, if my marriage is bad what excuses do I usually come up with to explain it? I will guarantee the excuses will always start with someone else's fault for the problems. I have yet to hear someone say, "I have not been the kind of marriage partner I should be, and here is why." Marriage problems never start with looking inside of ourselves first to find the problem … we usually defer to finding the excuse in the other person.

The Holy Spirit was given to the church and every believer in Christ to be our excuse counselor. He knows that our hearts will always defer to the excuse before we come to the truth. The Holy Spirit has been given to us, as a counselor, to help us find our true selves rather than living through excuses. If you are a purveyor of excuses, you are not allowing the truth to be your guiding characteristic in your life because you are living a lie when you make excuses for your behavior.

Based on my experience with the church, I have found that many people live in excuses, and some even live in darkness yet claim to be in the light. The prophetic side of me now is speaking. First, there are no perfect people, no perfect churches, no perfect theology, and no perfect lifestyle. So, my excuse could be with nothing being perfect, then I can just live without ever even trying to improve. No, that is how excuses work, they are the default for my responsibility. God wants us to be holy as He is holy … that doesn’t mean we become like God, but our goal should be to move closer every day to be more like God in attitude and behavior.

Here’s my bottom line. Excuses will prevent us from growing in Christ and the truth. Excuses are like the leaven that takes over as yeast does in the rising of bread … if left alone it will consume everything in my life. Excuses can and will develop into a deeply entrenched lying system that is demonic in nature and will drive you from God.

Some of you may be saying that it’s a big leap from excuses to lying, but it really isn’t. Excuses are a gateway for behavior to slip slowly away from the foundation of truth. As in any gateway behavior, stealing and lying can lead to robbery and embezzlement. When we aren’t faithful in doing the small things, it can turn into more serious behavioral issues. Remember, everything starts as a seed and a seed planted will germinate into the nature of that seed. If you plant a seed of deception, it will only grow into a larger plant or tree of that same nature. That is why the nature of the seed of excuses will grow into something bigger than you can ever imagine if it isn’t stopped at the seed stage.

We are called to be the curators of truth … we honor truth, we practice truth, and we allow truth to judge us and correct us as needed in life. That is who we are as believers, and our excuses do not do us any favors in our pursuit of truth.

So, my advice is to catch the excuse before it happens and don’t practice it. If you are late, you tell the truth … you did not plan well to be on time. It's my fault, period. At that moment, even though you are admitting to a shortcoming, you are on your way to dealing with whatever it is you are confessing that went wrong.

Honoring God in living out a truthful life is the life that has His blessing. That is our goal in living out our faith in God. Colossians Chapter 3 is a perfect manual for behavior that pursues truth … putting off what is not becoming of a Christian and putting on behavior that is honoring to God. It is a good place to meditate on what behavior is honoring God and what is not.

Challenging the Culture with Truth … Larry Kutzler

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