Holy week begins. Lent this year has not been very successful at all, I’m far off my KPI, and don’t feel very much closer to God.”Excuses!”, a voice cries. Well, excuse me, I tried..
‘Excuse me’, a term when expressed differently, leads to several outcomes: Irritation, anger and sympathy, all of which aren’t ideal for building relationships with anyone, or even God himself.
“It wasn’t me!” or “I have a reason..” are the default responses regardless of how right/wrong my actions were. Perhaps as the youngest, I always felt the need to defend myself, whimpering in pain to gain sympathy while I slipped away in laziness. I would just deal with my guilt later on, just don’t make me feel bad about myself, don’t make me feel small.
Like my nail biting, I’ve come to realize that excusing giving is a habit I have yet to kick. And it’s… A thorn in my flesh. It needs to go.
Rationalizing itself isn’t a bad thing, and many times it has come in useful in organizing thought. But these excuses are characterized by a very distinct guilt after my reason is given. Predictably, Self-centeredness is its source as I discover the solutions I give are always in my best interest.
The worst thing is that as I grow older, the more need there is to stop these excuses and be a little more constructive, to just be other-oriented, and essentially more loving. Especially in a place of leadership, guiding young ones or eventually starting a family, excuses become jarring reminders of hypocrisy.
“Teach me Lord, I want to learn. I often snap at those who hurt me with their ridicule, those who misunderstand me,… Now, help me to curb my tongue. Let my gentleness become my cloak. Lord, make me kind like you.”
-The 8th station, Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem, from ‘Way of the cross’
I wish I weren’t so tainted with self interest while I claim to try and put Jesus in the center, I wish I never have to give excuses to my child for my failings. In writing this post, I wonder if this is trying to justify my inadequacy in banishing pride and happily checking it off my list of things-to-deal-with-in-life. Sometimes there is a fine line between accountability and boasting.
With each moment of despair, I can only hope that this process of becoming is a graph that is heading up. I have got to get better at this. Go away pride, you are one tough cross to bear. While we went through the stations of the cross last friday, I was reminded that Jesus fell 3 times under the cross, in all his humanity the Son of God fell, how many more times would I?
To summarise, I leave you with my favourite hymn:
Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary,
Pure and holy, Tried and true.
I’ll be a living