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"The First Excuse"
"The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it" (Genesis 3:12).
During our first fifteen years of marriage we were foster parents to many children from our own country and several from overseas. On our trip to Northern Pennsylvania this last weekend we saw Chrissy, along with her husband and three sons.
Chrissy was our foster child who lived with us during her young years, from ages 5-7. Here she is trying to comfort our troubled dog Enoch, who had just gotten in a tussle with a porcupine and doesn't look too happy. It was a nasty and painful job to pull the quills out of his mouth! He had several porcupine encounters over the years.
We recall a humorous way Chrissy would confuse words or explanations when she was first learning their meanings. When she did something by accident, she would take on a defensive posture and quickly blurt out, "I did it on purpose" rather than correctly stating "I didn't do it on purpose."
Eventually she learned the correct expression which helped to clarify the matter for all concerned. We all look for ways or expressions that will quickly excuse us from negative consequences. Years ago Ester was pretending to be our waitress and wrote down our food order. As she brought out our meal she dropped a main food item on the floor and, before we could even say a word, she immediately cried out, "It's not my fault!"
Brooksyne and I looked at each other and burst out laughing as we asked each other, "Then whose fault is it?" Making excuses or blaming others for our own mistakes has a long history doesn't it?
Adam offered the very first excuse shortly after his first transgression. God's straightforward question to Adam following his transgression was, "Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" Adam replied, "The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it."
I'm particularly intrigued by the first phrase in Adam's reply, "The woman you put here with me." Now certainly he's blaming his wife Eve whom he rather bluntly calls "the woman". And of course she was the first to partake of the forbidden fruit, but he was with her and, without hesitation, he also took of the fruit and ate it.
In an attempt to shift the blame Adam words his defense carefully. He shifts the blame not only toward Eve but also toward God. He uses careful wording when he refers to his wife as, "the woman You put here with me." Indeed God's first special gift to Adam at Creation was his companion-helpmeet. Now Adam manages to blame both her and God for his willing act of disobedience! He makes the very first excuse in human history.
The world we live in today mirrors Adam's attitude of making excuses for just about everything under the sun, whether it's outright rebellion or an inappropriate response to the injustices from which one might suffer.
Taking responsibility is at the very heart of our relationship with God. A fundamental component of restoration is not denial of the sin, but taking responsibility for it and then confessing it to God. David, when finally coming to repentance concerning his sin with Bathsheba, cried out, "I have sinned against the Lord." That's essentially how we get restored when we make our initial "sinner's prayer". And as we grow in our walk with the Lord confession is a wonderful antidote to excuse making. Let us be quicker to make confession than we are to make excuses. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Today let us live our lives responsibly and stop making excuses. That only prolongs or exasperates the growing problem. Whether we fail or fall God has graciously made a provision for our restoration and it begins with confession not excuses. That's good news!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, as we confess our sins we thank You that You are faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Help us to be honest enough to admit our sin, welcome Your cleansing, and invite the Holy Spirit to help us courageously deal with personal consequences from our sinful defiance. You are a gracious Father who does not cast us down in our failures, but You uphold us with Your gracious and loving hand. Amen.
Enoch was a colorful part of our lives the first ten years of our marriage and anyone who knew us at that time is likely to remember him. Here's a story we wrote about him.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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"There Is A Redeemer" Audio
"Give Us Clean Hands" Video
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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