Excuses—oh the excuses. They are self-defeating, negative, dishonest, and wrong. Lying to yourself and the people around you by creating excuses for your behavior (or the behavior of others) is a nasty trap we can all fall into.
Sometimes excuses (lies) are so important to maintaining a favorable situation that people rewire their brain to make themselves believe the excuse (lie) because without it the world they want to live in isn’t reality. Being human and accepting that we will never be perfect—taking responsibility for situations that our behavior created–we can live happier, more honest, more fulfilling lives! Repenting and changing future behavior is the only REAL way to a better existence. Being stuck wracking your brain for what lies you told to each person makes for some pretty superficial, meaningless relationships—so get out of the mud and be honest with yourself–I have really been pushing myself and have had a lot of humor about the pitfalls of excuses in my life.
Examples of excuses in the Bible: (It does not say they are okay)
- 1 John 1:6: “ If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. (NIV)”
- Genesis 3:12-13: “The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (NIV) ***Eve blames the devil for her behavior***
- Genesis 4:9: “Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (NIV) ***Cain excusing himself from knowing his murdered brother’s whereabouts***
- Genesis 19: 15-16: “And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.” **Lot chose to wait and see rather than listen to the ANGELS telling him to flee the city because the creator was going to destroy it*** (KJV)
Types of excuses:
- Oversensitivity or Victim Mentality: In this scenario I am allowing myself to be harshly affected by other people’s situations. I don’t just want to help–I will use the excuse of helping other people to avoid my own responsibilities. I would let people down because I am affected by a situation that does not directly involve me. Victim mentality would occur when I choose to blame external people or sources for my problems. I fail to be grateful for the good in my life and focus completely on the negativity swirling constantly around me. Personal responsibility and forgiving yourself will enable you to break these desperate patterns of behavior.
- Projecting my bad behavior onto other people for sympathy: Sometimes a situation is so messed up that it is actually the self-described victim who did the harming. In this case I am a person who sets an inappropriate tone with my behavior & demeanor. I create fights, act sexually inappropriate at the absolutely worst times, or provoke drama–then I turn around and say I can’t keep my promises or hold up my responsibilities because someone else started trouble. I use my mind, words, and body to manipulate people into doing what I want and when I don’t get it; I accuse them of hitting on me, picking a fight or creating drama. This is a nasty cycle that can be broken by recognizing the tone you set for your own life. High standards, boundaries, and real effort put you back in the driver’s seat of a life you want to live!
- Prioritizing for unhappiness: This one is simple but sometimes difficult to overcome. The best example I know of is valuing material possessions and social status over people, love, & a real life. Not leaving a high paying job that has you near mental breaking point, staying with a partner who financially provides for you but does not fulfill you, or keeping a nasty friend who always pays for lunch come to mind.
Pretending everything is great when it is not gets you nowhere fast. Staying in denial and avoiding taking responsibility for your actions will not help you to forgive yourself and move on. Partial truths are lies. Blaming the world keeps you free from personal responsibility or high personal standards. A painful past is no reason to give up. If you don’t like your life—find a way to change it. Excuses should be recognized for the almost comical, ridiculous waste of time they are.
“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you…You may succeed in making another feel guilty of something by blaming him; you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.”–Wayne Dyer