I failed a friend. Badly. No, not just badly â€¦ very badly.
It took me a while to face it. When I finally realized what Iâ€™d done, embarrassment kept me from going to talk with him right away. So now I was doubly wrong. Failed to support him, and failed to admit it even when I knew I should.
Finally, my conscience got so loud that I had to talk with him. As I went, I mentally composed an explanation. I knew nothing could justify or excuse my wrong, but I thought it would help if I explained the circumstances that had made it difficult for me to be there for him during a painful transition.
But as soon as I saw his face, I knew my explanation was worthless. No explanation was going to change his perception of my failing him or soften the pain Iâ€™d caused. Besides, I knew that an explanation would only seem like I was trying to justify or excuse my actions â€¦ which is exactly what I longed to do, but which would be of no help to my friend.
So I simply said, â€œI really failed you during the reorganization. I should have come and talked to you right away. My absence and silence must have hurt you deeply. I have no excuse or explanation. I failed you as a manager and I failed you as a friend. I was wrong, and Iâ€™m so very sorry. Can you please forgive me?â€
His eyes softened as he said, â€œThatâ€™s all I needed to hear. I know you didnâ€™t mean to let me down, but it helps to hear you admit you did. Jesus has forgiven me far worse things, so yes, I gladly forgive you. This is behind us; letâ€™s move on.â€
And that was the end of it. No explanation. No excuses. Grace flowed. We were back on course. Ministering together better than ever.
Simple, sincere confessions, without excuses â€¦ a great way to take hold of the promise:
â€œHe who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercyâ€ (Prov. 28:13).
Reflection Questions (Most effective when shared with a friend; James 1:22-25)
- Why do we all long to offer “explanations” for our failures?
- How do you feel when people try to explain their wrongs against you?
- What was the most healing confession you’ve heard? What made it so helpful?
- How can a deeper understanding of the gospel free us from the desire to excuse our wrongs?
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Â© 2019 Ken Sande
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Thank you for the honesty! My lifelong habit of making excuses and trying to control everyoneâ€™s perception of me has taken a toll on my relationships and as I sit with God and let Him speak His truth over the last few years Iâ€™ve can say Iâ€™ve tapped into the fullness of who Iâ€™m created to be..but I still wrestle from the situation at hand for longer than I should.. but God is working in me and Iâ€™m grateful for that and grateful for Christian community to help us be stronger in the love of Christ \0/ blessings to you and yours!
Ken, you nailed it! I think about all of the time I’ve wasted trying to convince people there were reasons why my actions were not as bad as they actually were, only to make matters worse. It’s about being humble and owning the mess we make. Thank you for this powerful blog!
Good word, Ken. Thank you for your encouragement in this very consequential area of our lives!
The sooner we take care of it, the easier it is to do!
From the receiving end of such excuses I can relate. Grace is there to forgive the wrongs, but it is not there to â€œexcuseâ€ them.
Been there done that. Thanks, Ken.
Hard to do. Good to do.
Is it OK if it took 67 years to learn this?