by Joni Eareckson Tada
"Oh LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God. . ." Jonah 4:2
It's human nature to make excuses. Placed under the scrutiny审查 of an examiner, a teacher, or a boss, we squirm局促不安 in our seats and then rattle off急促地 a well constructed reason for our behavior. Sometimes we blame circumstances. Sometimes we blame others. Caught in a quandary窘境, our pride lashes out抨击 at anything in our sights that will keep the attention off of our failures.
Pride's most deadly excuse is one which blames our Lord for our failure. Consider Adam's excuse that God's creation of woman was flawed. Or Jonah's attempt to blame his escape to Tarshish on the fact that he knew God to be "a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness." By contrast, the unworthy steward's excuse centered on what he believed to be the exacting, unforgiving nature of the master. (Matt.25:24-25)
It will not do. We can not blame God, neither His deeds nor His character, for our failure. Making such excuses is more than an attempt to protect our pride. It is a fundamental statement of our unbelief in God. We blame Him because we do not believe that He has our good in mind, that He will accomplish His purpose, or that He will be gracious.
Taking an honest inventory 库存of our life can reveal areas where we might have doubted, and then blamed, God. Angry with God about your work? Look to see where you doubted His provision. Frustrated with His seeming silence? Examine your walk to see if you doubted His commands. Fearful of seeing Him face to face someday? Confess that you doubt His mercy and forgiveness.
A life of belief will extinguish熄灭 pride's incessant不断 search to protect itself from shame and allow us to live freely as a forgiven people.
Lord, Your work and Your character are above reproach责备. Strip away the protective layer of excuses that I might live by faith, believing in every measure of grace toward me.
Joni and Friends