If Charlie Peacock’s claim to be “the king of excuses” is accurate—his song, In The Light, was made famous by dc Talk—then I am his Prince Charles. Ready to claim the throne, after years of practicing to wear the crown.
The problem with excuses, I am finding, is that they are like the makeup stuff I’d steal from my sister to try to hide my teenage zits. They may satisfy a casual glance, but on closer inspection it’s all too obvious there’s something ugly under there.
One of my most well-worn excuses has been, “Well, that’s easy for them to say.”
This has been a reason for me to reject what someone may have had to say about something that stretches and challenges me. That speaker with the big income talking about being generous. The successful ministry leader saying it’s important to take risks. Yeah, right.
Gradually it has been dawning on my that my easy-for-them defense falls down on at least two counts. First, I don’t really know that it is easy for them. I don’t know the price they may have been willing to pay for getting to where they are, nor the private pain and heartache they may be enduring.
But at the end of the day, it’s not even about how much the truth they share has cost them. The second and more important flaw in my avoidance strategy is that it may, indeed, be easy for them to say. But that doesn’t necessarily stop it being true. Duh.
There are implications to this. I need to focus on the message, not the messenger, concentrating on what it means for me to be a disciple, not others. All too often I am like Peter, asking Jesus after the resurrection about what’s going to happen to John.
“What is that to you,” Jesus replies in John 21:22. “You follow me!”
As well as being more open to hearing from others, I need to be more ready to speak to them. As a recovering co-dependent, I sometimes hold back on saying things because I’m concerned people might think, “Well, that’s easy for him to say.”
It may be, it may not. But if it’s the truth, then I’m actually not being kind by withholding. The greatest kindness is to be truthful. Sensitive, gracious, gentle—but truthful. Anything else just leaves us presenting a false face—like bad makeup.