|Vol. 13 No. 6 June 2011||
At some time in our lives, each of us has made excuses for not doing something we should have done or to deny responsibility for an action. Children are especially good at coming up with excuses for failing to complete assigned tasks. The “the dog ate my homework” excuse has been used by children for many years.
However, the art of excuse making has been around from the beginning of time. After Eve ate of the forbidden fruit that Satan enticed her to eat, she blamed Satan for her downfall (Genesis 3:13). When God questioned Adam about his behavior, he tried to blame God, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Genesis 3:12). Adam and Eve were not willing to accept responsibility for their actions.
Moses continued the practice of excuse making when God instructed him to go to Egypt. Moses’ first excuse was, “…Who amI that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11). Moses was saying, “Why should I be the one to go.” His next excuse was, “…Indeed, whenI come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What isHis name?’ what shall I say to them?” (Exodus 3:13). Here, Moses proposed that the children of Israel do not know God; thus, he does not need to go. Moses’ third excuse was, “…But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you’” (Exodus 4:1). With this excuse, Moses suggested that the Israelites would not believe that God sent him, so he does not need to go. His next excuse was, “…O my Lord, I amnot eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I amslow of speech and slow of tongue” (Exodus 4:10). Now Moses was telling God, “I cannot speak well enough to go before the children of Israel and Pharaoh.” Moses made one last excuse, “…O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever elseYou may send” (Exodus 4:13). Finally, Moses admitted that he did not want to go and requested God send someone else. With the final excuse, God became angry. He patiently answered each of Moses’ excuses for not doing what God commanded, and with each answer, Moses tried another excuse until he angered God. Then, Moses decided to follow God’s instructions (Exodus 14:18).
Jesus told the following parable to show the fallacy of making excuses to justify failure to complete what has been assigned:
Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’” (Luke 14:16-24)
The three examples listed above are just a few of the many biblical narratives showing God’s displeasure of one trying to make excuses for failing to adhere to the Lord’s commands. Adam and Eve were cast from the Garden of Eden; Moses angered God and then followed His instructions; and the chosen guests in Jesus’ parable were forbidden to eat, while the poor and physically maimed were brought to the master’s table.
Unfortunately, many Christians have failed to learn a lesson from these individuals. We tend to try to excuse ourselves just as these did so long ago. Are you guilty of any of the following excuses?
The list could go on and on with excuses mankind devises to comfort himself when failing to follow God’s Word. If God did not approve the excuses listed within the pages of His Word, why do we think our excuses will be accepted on Judgment Day?