“No, I didn’t do that!”
“That is not true.”
“Yes, but do you know what they did/said?”
“I promise I won’t do it again.”
“I only did that once!”
“Let me tell you what really happened.”
“Things are really hard for me right now.”
I sat listening to a steady stream of excuses, justifications and blame. After a few moments I tuned it all out because it was just the same old same old repeated over and over with minor variations.
When the conversation finally ended, the person who had been in the “hot seat” left, clutching the tattered shreds of their delusion that somehow, they were believed. The lies they had told to others, the lies they clung to about themselves were so deep, they were convinced their pride and dignity was still intact. They were wrong. I was not the only one listening to this conversation and all of us knew the truth. The person making the excuses was being dishonest. The excuses were exactly that, lame excuses and there was no legitimate justification for any of the foolish and disrespectful actions. Only one person was to blame.
As this pitiful conversation was drawn to a close I felt amused, disgusted, ashamed, saddened, angered and finally, deeply convicted. I began to consider the hours of precious life wasted; how “Satan fascinates and then assassinates” to quote my dear friend, Debbie. This person was caught in a web of lies and deceptions that took years to construct; the wasted potential for good, for creativity, for happiness made me sad and angry. A lack of personal responsibility, for “owning” your decisions, for blaming others disgusts me; the “victim mentality” so prevalent in our world is a big lie from the pit. Yes, I do understand that bad things can happen to people through no fault of their own, some people are truly victims but let’s face it if I eat candy bars all day every day and all my teeth fall out and I balloon up to 700 lbs. it is not the fault of the candy company – take responsibility for your decisions people!
I began to see this person as God does and realized how often I make excuses for my own sinful choices that sound exactly the same as the excuses, justifications and blame I had overheard. How God must hate listening to my ridiculous statements: “He made me so angry. “ “She hurt my feelings.” “I would do ______ better if I didn’t have this problem right now.” “I will start tomorrow/I will never do that again!” And so on and so forth the excuses march on.
God, forgive me. Help me to be a worshipper in Spirit and in TRUTH, to be honest in my confession, to take responsibility for my own actions, to compare myself only to you and not to others. Remind me to pray for this person, for their freedom from lies and for their salvation; show me the lies I believe. Help me stay dependent on you, not making empty promises to do things on my own strength but drawing on your power and the Holy Spirit to transform me from the inside out.