Somebody once told me, “If you don’t want your neighbor to borrow your lawnmower, one excuse is as good as another.”
There is a subtle message in that statement. It suggests that truth can be avoided if you have a good excuse, or any excuse.
Here are two responses about loaning out my lawnmower.
- Sorry, but I have to take my wife shopping and don’t have time.
- Sorry, but I don’t let anyone use my lawnmower.
One is an excuse, the other is the truth.
We mask the truth to avoid being offensive, upsetting, or disappointing to others. It’s simpler to say something misleading, since the truth can be brutal.
- “Does this outfit make me look fat?”
- “Isn’t my baby the cutest baby you have ever seen?”
- “Don’t you think my son is the best ball player on the team?”
We don’t want to hurt our spouse, or a young parent, or a proud father. So we hide the truth, say something else, and hope for the best.
The motive might not be dark, just convenient. The excuse offers the possibility of not risking the relationship. Is that deceitful or good manners?
In Luke chapters 9 and 14, Jesus offered something to those who were traveling with him. He said, “Follow me.” Two words that don’t seem like much, but in fact had immense consequences. He offered them discipleship. Jesus would be their master teacher and they his humble students. But they all made excuses.
- “I will follow you but first let me take care of my father.”
- “I will follow you but first let me go home and say goodby to my family.”
(The next three were said in a parable)
- “I just bought a field and must go see it.”
- “I just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out.”
- “I just got married, so I can’t come.”
None said to Jesus, “No, I don’t want to.” They hid their truth in a shroud of excuses. They didn’t want to become disciples, but they didn’t want him to know.
I guess its true. One excuse is as good as another.
What excuses are you making about your life? What excuses are you offering to others to avoid the truth?
Excuses are thin layers of deceit hiding the truth.
Better to step into the light of truth than to live in the darkness of lies and denial.
We can all do better.