Sunday, January 3, 2010

Excusing vs. Confessing

A few days ago I wrote about a major lesson that was drilled into me last year - the difference between expectation and expectancy. Another major life lesson that God was teaching and reinforcing in me last year is the important difference between excusing and confessing.

Maybe you hadn't given much thought to the difference between expectation and expectancy, bit I think that if we were honest, we'd probably say that we're a bit more familiar with excusing vs. confessing. And if you're anything like me, you probably excuse your faults far more than than you confess them.

When you're excusing your faults, you say things like "I'm sorry I'm late, but ..." or "I know you said you didn't want me to do that, but ..." or "Yeah this is wrong, but ..." There's always a "but" and there's usually some remorse and sorrow - but it's usually remorse and sorrow for getting caught, not for erring. Excusing gets you off the hook in the short term, but in the long term it hurts relationships because people will eventually get tired of your big ol' but, will stop giving you the benefit of the doubt, and you'll lose credibility because people will stop trusting you. Keep it up and you'll become known as someone who always has an excuse, albeit usually a really lame one.

Confessing is different. Confessing is healthy and though it can occasionally hurt relationships in the short term, it actually strengthens and fortifies relationships in both the short and the long terms. Confessing is saying "I'm sorry." Did you get that? It's saying "I'm sorry - period." Not "I'm sorry, but ...", just I'm sorry. It's owning up to your mistakes and being willing to accept the consequences and hopefully the grace, mercy, and forgiveness that will come with your confession.

Funny thing is, in the Bible God doesn't mention much about excuses except to condemn them and show how people really mess up and look pretty lame when they make excuses. God does talk in Proverbs 28:13 and James 5:16 about the incredible power of grace and mercy that comes when you confess your sins.

I wasted too much time and squandered too much credibility in 2009 making excuses, so as 2009 came to an end I decided to stop excusing and start confessing. And now that 20X is off to a running start, I hope that you will choose with me to not waste any time excusing but to invest into our relationships by confessing our sins to each other so that we can find mercy and healing.

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