“It’s not my fault! He continued to play video games and wouldn’t get in the van”. That was my justification for leaving the pastor’s 13 year-old son at the Family Fun Center on a Friday evening. I actually thought at the time that my excuses were valid. I mean I warned the kid 3x times, isn’t that enough?
It’s not my fault! Ever heard that excuse before? I hear it from my kids on a daily basis. I hear it from myself still, just in more “sophisticated” ways.
Unfortunately, my “sophisticated” excuses were not working on the lead pastor, who happened to be my boss and a former Army Green Beret. In the process, he taught me 2 valuable lessons:
1. It’s always my fault …. at least some portion of the problem.
2. I must own my part 100% and make no excuses. I may only be at fault 18% but I must own that 18% at 100% … no excuses.
“If you had a perfect excuse you would not need forgiveness: if the whole of your action needs forgiveness then there was not excuse for it. But the trouble is that what we call “asking God’s forgiveness” very often really consists in asking God to accept our excuses. What leads us into this mistake is the fact that there usually is some amount of excuse, some “extenuating circumstances.” We are so very anxious to point these out to God that we are apt to forget the really important thing; that is, the bit left over, the bit which the excuses don’t cover, the bit which is inexcusable but not, thank God, unforgivable.
What we have got to take to him is the inexcusable bit, the sin. We are only wasting time by talking about all the parts which can (we think) be excused. When you go to a doctor you show him the bit of you that is wrong – say, a broken arm. It would be a mere waste of time to keep on explaining that your legs and eyes and throat are all right. You may be mistaken in thinking so; and anyway, if they are really all right the doctor will know that.”
Read: 1 John 1:5-10
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
John is writing to tell the church who knows God and who does not (v.6). If someone thinks they are right with God and yet doesn’t love others or walks in darkness they run the risk of being tricked and making excuses.
The above passage is full of excuses. They all begin with, “If we say…” (v. 6, 8, 10).
v.6 – If I say I am tight with God but live in darkness, I am dishonest about my real condition before God and I will not come to confession. My lack of harmony with God will show up in my relationship with others (v.7). This Christian needs accountability.
v.8 - If I say I am in a place where I do not sin any more, and have figured out the secret to holiness I have tricked myself and I will not come to confession. This Christian needs reality.
v.10 - If I say I am never wrong and that I never make mistakes, I do not see my need of God’s saving work and I will not come to confession. This lost person needs humility.
What is the remedy for dealing with our excuses for sin? Look at verses 7 and 9! We must humbly walk with God and keep short accounts of sin with Him. When we sin we need to acknowledge it in confession. Confession means to “say the same thing” that God already says about us. In other words, when the Holy Spirit convicts me of sin I do not ignore it or excuse I away but I agree with Him on the spot. When the Holy Spirit twinge happens ( that feeling you get when you know what you are doing or are about to do is wrong) obey Him. Confess your need of Him. Confess your weakness. Confess your desire for wrong things. Confess your sin. That will keep you walking in the light and knowing the cleansing of Jesus on a regular basis.
Is there anything you need to confess to God right now? Ask Him to reveal sin that might be keeping you in darkness.
Any places you are making excuses before God? Any place you are trying to show Him that your legs and eyes and throat are all right? Go ahead and admit it, the doctor knows anyway.
Are you willing to own your part of it 100%?
Listen to Joy in the Journey by Micahel Card in the Worship Center.
DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.