‘An excuse is a skin of truth stuffed with a lie’

I remember reading that anyone wanting to understand human nature should engage in studying people’s excuses.

I remember reading that anyone wanting to understand human nature should engage in studying people’s excuses. That is probably true, especially when taking into account the old adage, “An excuse is a skin of truth stuffed with a lie.”

The 10 most common excuses are, “I forgot, No one told me, I didn’t think it was important, I waited to ask the boss, I didn’t know you were in a hurry for it, That’s the way we’ve always done it, Not my department, I didn’t know this was different, I’m waiting for an OK, and That’s not my job.”

Deion Sanders is considered one of the most versatile athletes in sports because he played both professional baseball and football. He’s the only athlete in history to hit a Major League home run and score an NFL touchdown in the same week.

Sanders grew up in a tough, low-income area in Fort Myers, Fla. In an interview, he said that, growing up, he’d known many good athletes, but they failed by making excuses rather than pressing on.

He labelled them, “Idas.” He explained that they said things like, “If I’da done this, I’d be making millions today … If I’da practised a little harder, I’d be a superstar.”

He went on to say, “They were as fast as me when they were kids, but instead of working for their dreams, they chose drugs and a life of street corners. When I was young, I had practice; my friends who didn’t, went straight to the streets and never left.”

Jesus shared a parable about excuses. A man prepared a great feast and invited many guests. To his surprise, “… they all began to make excuses. The first said to him, I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused. Another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused. Another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” (Luke 14:18-20)

The man hosting the banquet was terribly offended and responded by sending his servant out to invite others to come and enjoy the feast. He stated, “… not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.” (Luke 14:24)

The spiritual implication in Jesus’ parable is straightforward. God invites everyone to His banquet — to come and feast with Him and with His Son. And “I’da” is no substitute for “I will.”

Whether it’s athletic pursuits, Christian endeavours, or just life in general, excuses stall our progress, stunt our personal growth and spoil our character.

“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.” — Florence Nightingale

Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church.

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