We are masters at making excuses. Blame never seems to rest on one person but shifts with each seemingly clever deflection until we feel it is so far removed no one can relate that blame back to us. This is never more clear than when I confront my young son. While he is clearly caught in a poor choice, bad behavior, or wrong doing it is even more clear that he has no intention of owning up to this fault at first. He desperately searches for reasoning as to “why” he did what he did to justify his choice. He slips quickly into diversions of truth, or more simply put LYING, that make it seem as though he was trying to follow directions and is really innocent. Then the last and most desperate attempts to deflect the blame and consequences are excuses. Some are clever enough to coax a grin to crawl across my face, but inwardly my heart grieves. I want him to be a man who will own up to his mistakes and right his wrong actions. I want him to be responsible, trustworthy, and respected; and at the heart of these virtues is a person who understands owning their actions. At the heart of these virtues are people who change their actions to demonstrate what they have learned.
Excuse makers seem to only make more excuses.
The stage is set for kids to fail in this area in massive ways. One prominent example right now: Our politicians are told you can never make a mistake. “That is career suicide.” You must always be right, and if you find yourself in the wrong… deflect, lie, or make an excuse, BUT NEVER ADMIT IT! This is a viscous cycle of pain, resulting in self-inflicted torture that will hold us captive for as long as we give it power. The truth is freeing. Jesus asks us to be truthful in all we do and this certainly covers our own mistakes. Let the truth set you free. Let the truth give wings to change in your life.
Ultimately, when it comes to my children, my own actions are what will shape their decision in this area of life. Do I tell them I am sorry when I am wrong? Do I admit my faults and change my behavior in front of them? Do I follow the pattern of the world around me and expect them to be different (read do as I say, not as I do!) or do I dare go against the grain of culture and show my kids a picture of real strength and integrity?
The short answer is yes. I do all of those things. With each failure is a possibility. I never set out to fail just to teach (although I have certainly thought about using that excuse from time to time), but when I do fail I try and make the most of it. For myself, my God, and my attentive sons and wife. I for one am tired of the excuses and I refuse to let my kids grow up being one of the many who pretend that this is an acceptable way to live. So, I am making a call, taking a stand, rallying the troops…
Comment if you want to reverse the trend. Personally. For your family. For your wife. For your friends. One mistake at a time is where we will climb this mountain. In humility, we will own our mistakes and seek to right each wrong as we live. No need to feel guilt or be trapped in the past over lying or mistake making… we can march freely into the future as people who own our every action and help others do the same. Live the example!