It was a Hall of Fame calibre excuse. One which hasn’t been seen since the Twinkie Defense. And it worked.
Here’s the story: A professional tennis player tested positive for cocaine. Big trouble for him. But his explanation was profound. He claimed the cocaine kissed off. As in, he was kissing a girl who, evidently, had been doing coke, and he uh, acquired some of it in his make out session. Aaaaaand, the court let him off.
Some of the best excuses of all time come from the Bible. Picture Adam dropping the fruit behind his leg and pointing limply at his wife. Picture Aaron, who carefully carves a golden idol to appease the masses, and when he’s caught by his brother, throws down this little gem:
Awesome. Can you see the look in Moses’ eyes when he hears this? I am embarrassed for Aaron right now.
Sadly, our culture follows Aaron’s lead. We deflect our sins in every direction: toward mom and dad, nature and nurture, psychology and theology. We skim over what we did and speak compositions on why we did it. We explain ourselves, pouring our faults into glass jars, setting them over bunson burners, and watching our tainted guilt evaporate. All that remains are three stale, watery words, distilled of all conviction: “I am sorry.”
As Christians, it is easy to roll this way, because we know Jesus forgives. We translate our crimes into Christian-ese; just battles with our old nature. Our war for sanctification wages on. Will we ever win? Probably not. Not in this life. But we will walk and strive and fight, and when we strike our brothers along the way, we will shake our heads smirk: “darn you, ‘old man!’ ”
And in this, our wordy defense, we can become like Aaron, the Twinkie guy, and the tennis player. We expect our testimony will earn an acquittal. It will not.
I used to think our Catholic brothers and sisters were copping out by going to confession once a week. I thought it was too easy, confessing to a priest like that in order to gain forgiveness. Little did I realize how weak we Protestants can act in comparison. We only feel the need to confess to ourselves! There is power in the spoken words “Forgive me Father for I have sinned.” Grace abounds in those syllables.
But how can grace abound amid a multitude of excuses? How can Jesus be the Advocate He offers to be if we are continually speaking up in our own defense? Have you ever seen anything more pathetic than a defendant who tries to represent himself in court? It hurts.
Friend, if you have blown it, then let your soul rest again by admitting what you’ve done. Call your sin by name—at least to God and to the one you’ve hurt. Turn from it, and let the grace of Christ pour over you again.
After all, forgiveness only cleanses the guilty.
(Today’s post is part of an ongoing series that corresponds to the “Life Journal” Bible reading plan. Expect regular installments throughout 2013)