I remember being somewhere in my early teens and listening to my mom say that she was done with excuses. She was cracking down on this area in our family. The excuses had to stop.
Although I was not the main offender she was focused on, as the next several weeks progressed, I began to realize just how often I made excuses. And I began to see the ugliness of my need to always explain, to always justify, to always make an excuse for myself.
This past year I've begun to notice that same struggle crop up in my heart again. Or perhaps its been there this whole time and I've just now noticed. Because my habit of excuse-making rears it's head in sneaky ways that I don't normally think of as excuse-making.
Every time I try to explain the various why's behind something I did... Every time I try to describe a situation in order to paint myself in a better light... Every time I try to clarify a mistake or mishap... Every time I try to clear up a misunderstanding that occurred as a result of my failure... Every time I try to bring out my side of the story... Every time I try to justify my actions... ...I am making an excuse.
And even in writing this, I'm trying to find scenarios where I am correct in my desire to explain or justify or clarify a situation. But the truth is, those scenarios are rare. Most of the time, I am better off taking the simple road that says, "I'm sorry" and nothing else.
Because when I take the time to ask myself why I feel the need to explain or justify or retell or clarify, it's almost always that I don't want to take the blame or be seen badly for something. But if something I did was even slightly off, then I need to be okay taking the blame, in allowing the finger to point at me.
It's painful to take the humble, excuse free road. It's hard to let a mistake sit there on the table and to not explain it. It's difficult to not say anything beyond, "I'm sorry." But it's so worth it.
Because humility is freeing. And in order to live in the freedom of humility, I must not make excuses for myself.
"I'm sorry." "I was wrong." "Will you forgive me." Humility will leave it at that. Will you? Will I? Will we?