“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 ESV).
George was my best friend when I was little. We were inseparable. But although we did almost everything together, George had a naughty streak. Somehow he never got caught. No matter how much I professed my innocence or told my parents that “George did it!”, I always seemed to take the fall. Of course, George was my imaginary friend and built-in excuse.
Finger-pointing has been around almost as long as humans. In Genesis chapter three Adam and Eve had eaten of the fruit of the tree of life. Guilt and embarrassment made their first appearances. God, knowing exactly what had happened, found them hiding and began questioning them.
Adam, as men are prone, jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. He pointed his guilty finger at Eve. I can almost see the scowl on Eve’s face. No doubt Adam took note of it as well!
God delayed His judgment and turned His holy gaze toward Eve. “What is this that you have done” (v. 13)? Whether simply being honest or taking a cue from her husband, Eve pointed her guilty finger at the serpent.
Exodus 32 poignantly provides us with another example of people making excuses. While Moses was up on Mount Sinai getting the Ten Commandments, written by the finger of God, Aaron gave in to peer pressure and/or his own weaknesses and fashioned a golden calf for him and the people to worship. God clues Moses on the situation and sends him back down the mountain.
When Moses questioned Aaron about it, he pointed his finger at the people. He said, “You know the people, that they are set on evil” (v. 22). Then he tried to justify himself a little and said that the people wanted him to make gods for them, so he collected gold from them and “threw it into the fire, and out came this calf” (v. 24). Unbelievable! Literally! He would have been better off telling Moses that George did it.
This past Sunday our pastor preached about the parable of a great feast in Luke 14. When the time of the feast came, one by one the invited guests made excuses. He pointed out the preposterousness of their excuses. Not only were they absurd, but they were also insulting.
The thing is, we don’t have to make excuses. We don’t have to point our fingers. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 ESV). “And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1 ESV). “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16 ESV).
It is so much easier, at the time, to make excuses, to place the blame outside of ourselves. But it is so much more efficient to be honest, confess our sins, repent and move on. James tells us that we all should be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19 ESV). I like to tag the end of the verse with “and quick to repent”. Find comfort in the loving and forgiving arms of our Heavenly Father. Don’t hide from Him, as did Adam and Eve, when you have sinned. Run to Him!