All of us are born with a tendency to follow Adam and Eve. “The woman you gave me.” “The serpent deceived me.” Humans have been embellishing and refining our ability to be master excuse makers ever since.
Excuses keep us from trusting God, erode our human relationships and weaken our character. The default mode for the excuse maker is to shift blame instead of looking to God in repentance. Repentance brings hope. Excuses result in fear.
This how the Holy Spirit describes the difference.
“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13
Concealing sins, excuse making, will not prosper before God. But repentance yields mercy and the blessing of God. Listen to yourself. Listen to your children. If you hear responses like these, excuses rule the day:
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be angry.”
“I guess I’m just tired.”
“He was mean to me.”
“If you were just a little nicer, it would be a lot easier.”
“Being inside because of the weather makes me cranky.”
“It wasn’t my fault, I’m just not feeling well.”
These responses are can be excuses. To make an excuse you need to work to find one that sounds reasonable. If repentance is your first response you immediately know that God extends mercy to you. You don’t have to look for a plausible excuse. You know that your are forgiven and can trust God for help to change.
Repentance is the path of freedom. One definition of repentance is:
“Repentance is changing my mind and turning around to do the right thing.”
Prayer for repentance:
“God, thank you for making repentance possible by sending Jesus to live and die in my place. Thank you that my sin doesn’t separate me from your love. But still, sometimes it is hard to repent, especially when I am stubborn and angry and I just want my own way. Please give me a repentant heart and help me to love you more. In Jesus name, Amen.”
From Get Wisdom! by Ruth Younts.
Teach this prayer to your children. Learn to pray it for yourself.