Have you ever had it happen where you wanted something really badly so you made an excuse to justify why you should have it? We make excuses for a lot of things, don't we? Such as avoiding certain tasks or issues, justifying things... Well, what I'm thinking about today is when we make excuses that actually end up not benefiting us in the end.
Think about sin for a moment, doing wrong. Sometimes it can be really appealing- maybe there are pressures to fit in with a certain group or impress someone. We try to justify a situation to make us feel better about participating in it even when, if we really examined it, we'd know it was wrong. Some people live in a world of excuses. Ever had the thought that if a good Christian person you know was playing really violent video games (for example) that it would be okay for you to do that too? That if they advocated it as okay, than it must be okay for you too? One person's convictions are not necessarily another's. After all, God does give us guidelines to live by but within those guidelines, we often find 'gray' areas or make them up due to our attraction to things not necessarily right. God convicts everyone at different times and on different issues according to his purpose in their lives. So we can't always follow the example of others in choosing right and wrong. We have to listen to the Holy Spirit guide us.
I think excuses are just attractive ways we use to try to make sin okay. For example, growing up we always had talks on what constituted an appropriate movie to watch for the family (limited profanity, sexual references, violence). We knew that what we filled our minds with affected how we thought (which eventually can affect actions). Yet, sometimes, I would hear excuses like 'oh it's fantasy/sci-fi' so that made violence or alternative religions/magic okay to fill our minds with. Personally, that made no sense to me. A wizard/witch in a fairytale land is not more permissible than one in a modern world- after all, neither one gives glory to God for their abilities. So in the end, we'd be watching something that doesn't please God. It's easy to make excuses, to try to justify things that are wrong (I know I've done it lots) but it's not good. If we want to live truthfully and honourably, we can't make excuses just to have a bit of fun- after all, is it really worth the cost? (sometimes there is harmless, innocent fun but how is that defined? when does it cross the line?)
Yet there is more to making excuses than the effect on our relationship with God. It affects how others see us- as I talked about earlier- even though judgement calls should not be made based on human choices, it does happen sometimes, doesn't it? But excuses effect our relationships in life. Think about a close relationship to you, how often have you made excuses? Told your younger sister that you were too tired to play (emphasis on the 'tired' because you just plain didn't want too) or said to your family/inlaws that you were too busy to come over on Sunday (you'd make sure of it because you had no desire to go). We make excuses to avoid things we don't want to do. It prevents us from making a selfless sacrifice for others.
Sometimes there are situations that come up that we need to avoid or we have more important priorities and we need to use an excuse. But the problem is when this becomes a habit, when it causes us to neglect others and harm ourselves. We want to in stand in purity, honour, truth and righteousness before God, eh? I know I do. So I think that means we really need to watch the excuses we are making for things in our lives.