Several years ago during a Christmas Holiday season my wife Candy and I were hosting our in-laws at our home. As she was preparing our dinner she ran out of a few ingredients and asked if I’d run to the store and pick up a few things she told me to get. My nephew Jeremiah was with me and after we made the trip to the store and were about to pull into our driveway I realized that though I heard my wife give out the list I really hadn’t listened, so I forgot to get one of the items. I looked at my nephew and said, “What did she say to get.” He didn’t listen either and so there we were and both our minds were spinning trying to come up with a good excuse. After a long pause he looked at me and said, “Uncle John, sometimes you just got to tell the truth and take it like a man.” That was really good advice from a 10 year old.
Honesty is the best policy always and 2 Corinthians 8:21 says, “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.” Honesty can often be seen in giving reasons vs. making excuses. We’ve all probably heard the excuse school children have made since the Seventies that “the dog ate my homework,” for not turning in an assignment. It is hard for a Teacher to disprove and it conveniently absolves the student but it is an excuse, not a reason. After Pastoring for over 35 years I have found there’s a big difference between reasons and excuses that people give you. Pastor Bob Yandian came up with a great list I’ve found helpful to show the difference between reasons and excuses:
- Reasons are legitimate explanations.
- Reasons are the truth.
- Reasons accept responsibility.
- Reasons are facts.
- Reasons hunt you down.
- Excuses are often a facade to cover our own weaknesses and faults.
- Excuses are often lies or exaggerations.
- Excuses never accept personal responsibility but always place blame on someone or something.
- Excuses are usually partially true.
- Excuses are usually something you have to go find out, search out, and hunt down because a reason wasn’t given.