Have you heard any good excuses lately? I’ve got a few for you, courtesy of Richard Lederer and his book, Anguished English. These are actual excuses parents have written to schools to explain why their child was absent.
Teacher, please excuse Mary for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot. Mary’s Mom.
My son is under doctor’s care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.
Please excuse my son’s tardiness. I forgot to wake him up and did not find him until I started making the beds.
Please excuse Ray from school. He has very loose vowels.
Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father’s fault.
Please excuse Fred for being absent. He had a cold and could not breed well.
Please excuse Gloria from Jim today. She is administrating.
We all make excuses sometimes for lots of reasons. In our Old Testament passage, for example, Jeremiah, has a couple of excuses for why he can’t answer God’s call to serve. In fact, making excuses is still so common that we almost expect it. Why do we make excuses and how can God help us past our excuses to a deeper, more abundant life in Jesus Christ?
II. Why Do We Make Excuses?
First, why do people make excuses? What do you think?
[Take responses from the congregation.]
Sure, and we could probably add more reasons to that list. But underneath all of these is fear and most of the time we use excuses as a way we try to control Life if we are afraid the consequences will be more than we can bear.
III. God Speaks into Our Fear
Into our fear and worries, God speaks. Jeremiah says, “I don’t know how to speak and I’m just a kid,” and God says, “Don’t be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.” For those of us who are learning to follow Jesus, excuses don’t work because there are no consequences we can’t bear with God’s help. Paul adds in the Love Chapter, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” If God is love, then when we walk with God in love, then we can bear, believe, hope and endure all things. Into our fear and worries, God says, “Don’t worry! I’ll be with you and will rescue you.” God’s love for us can overcome our fears and help us let go of our anxieties.
IV. What Might We Do
Our fears and excuses can make it really hard to walk with God. When God asks us to do something, many of us can come up with reasons we can’t. Jeremiah did. Fortunately, God’s response to Jeremiah is also His response to us when we try to tell Him we can’t: “You are the one I want to do this. Don’t worry I’ll be with you and will keep you safe.” When we let God manage our fears and anxieties, then we can let go of our stress and embrace the deeper, more abundant life we can have in Jesus. “Don’t worry! I’ll be with you and will keep you safe.”