No Excuses

No Excuses

by

I failed a friend. Badly. No, not just badly … very badly.

It took me a while to face it. When I finally realized what I’d done, embarrassment kept me from going to talk with him right away. So now I was doubly wrong. Failed to support him, and failed to admit it even when I knew I should.

Finally, my conscience got so loud that I had to talk with him. As I went, I mentally composed an explanation. I knew nothing could justify or excuse my wrong, but I thought it would help if I explained the circumstances that had made it difficult for me to be there for him during a painful transition.

Hands iStock_000020266152Small bBut as soon as I saw his face, I knew my explanation was worthless. No explanation was going to change his perception of my failing him or soften the pain I’d caused. Besides, I knew that an explanation would only seem like I was trying to justify or excuse my actions … which is exactly what I longed to do, but which would be of no help to my friend.

So I simply said, “I really failed you during the reorganization. I should have come and talked to you right away. My absence and silence must have hurt you deeply. I have no excuse or explanation. I failed you as a manager and I failed you as a friend. I was wrong, and I’m so very sorry. Can you please forgive me?”

His eyes softened as he said, “That’s all I needed to hear. I know you didn’t mean to let me down, but it helps to hear you admit you did. Jesus has forgiven me far worse things, so yes, I gladly forgive you. This is behind us; let’s move on.”

And that was the end of it. No explanation. No excuses. Grace flowed. We’re back on course. Ministering together better than ever.

Simple, sincere confessions, without excuses … a great way to take hold of the promise:

“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Prov. 28:13).

Ken Sande

Reflection Questions (Most effective when shared with a friend; James 1:22-25)

  • Why do we all long to offer “explanations” for our failures?
  • How do you feel when people try to explain their wrongs against you?
  • What was the most healing confession you’ve heard? What made it so helpful?
  • How can a deeper understanding of the gospel free us from the desire to excuse our wrongs?

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2013 Ken Sande

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3 Responses to "No Excuses"
  1. When there really is true confession and full forgiveness, I think that grace does flow……so counter to worldly expectations. I’ve also seen conflicts that become part of the fabric of someone’s life story—wrongs that still have consequences and relationships that remain in process. But the beauty of this kind of grace is that the raw wounds can be replaced by a compassionate bond or even new relational wisdom. If there are scars, then there is also the miracle of healing and that is the best part of any life story. Just like you’ve shared here, many can be blessed by small mercies that point so beautifully to the mercy of Christ.

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