This is a defense mechanism – blaming others or circumstances for personal humiliation and failure while justifying our actions to ‘save face’ instead of taking personal responsibility and facing the consequences. When God questioned Adam he said, "The woman gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it". When Eve was asked, her defensive rely was, “It’s not my fault, Satan made me do it” (Gen 3:12,13). It is a reaction – trying to protect or salvage self-esteem yet if it is ‘always someone else’s fault’ the issue can’t be adequately addressed. The truth must be admitted so the issue can be correctly resolved.
Passing the blame doesn’t solve the problem
and actions confessing them to God and asking for forgiveness. Repentance restores and strengthens our relationship with God while excuses weaken it. King Saul was impatient and wilfully disobeyed God. When confronted with his sin he tried to defend his actions through an excuse. However, this blatant disobedience signaled the end of his kingdom. God would rather us be obedient than to sin and then come to Him in repentance (1 Sam 13:8-14, 15:3,13-22).
Making excuses is giving a possible reason why we should be exempt from what is expected or required of us. Moses and Gideon are examples – they reasoned with God saying they were incapable of the fulfilling what He was calling them to do, yet God persisted with them and with His empowerment they fulfilled their tasks (Ex 3:11; Jdg 6:14-16). We also may not feel capable, however, God delights to work through people who don’t rely on their own ability, instead choose to yield to Him and let the Holy Spirit work through them. It’s not by human power and effort for we are only vessels of clay – it’s the Spirit of God that accomplishes and the glory should be given to Him (Zech 4:6; 2 Cor 4:7).
Humility is owning up – 'It was my fault'
not to live selfishly by catering to the flesh, instead this is freedom from sin to live for Him under the Holy Spirit’s control (Gal 5:13; 1 Pet 2:16).
Another excuse is ‘it is my right’. However Jesus gave up His rights to serve us – we should do likewise in devotion to Him and to bless others (Phil 2:5-8; 1 Jn 3:16). ‘Everybody is doing it’ – many people maybe, however they will answer for any wrongdoing. Don’t violate your conscience and give into peer pressure saying ‘God told me to do it/Satan made me do it’. God doesn’t tell people to do wrong. Even Satan can’t force people to do wrong; it is their sinful nature responding (a choice of the will) to the temptation (Jas 1:13-15). 'I couldn't help it' is an excuse of those whose weak flesh is not subject to self-discipline, which should be under the authority of our spirit (Mt 26:41). Our spirits are to be the master, directing the responses of our bodies.
Don’t use ‘serving God’ as an excuse to neglect your obligations, nor the reverse of hiding behind the façade of family responsibilities as a reason why you can’t respond to God’s call (Mt 15:4-6; Lk 14:16-24). Keep your responsibilities in the right balance and perspective: God should always be priority number one, wife second, children third, then work responsibilities followed by church ministry, although there will be times when each one of the earthly obligations will take limited priority over those higher up the scale. Each area should receive quality time and attention along with caring for your own self with adequate rest and nourishment.
We set ourselves up for defeat and the regret of missing out on the future rewards by elaborating on or rehearsing past failures, criticising and making excuses. Seldom are things done our way, or to our liking. If you have made a mistake, acknowledge it, resolve how to correct it (if possible) and move forward wiser. Be a person of faith and action, not one who sells themselves short, by using ‘if only’ excuses. God has made all the riches of heaven available for us in Christ, so when we stand before Him how will we try to justify our lack of spirituality (Eph 1:7,18, 2:7)?
Rather than making an excuse why you can't do something, give a reason for at not least trying.
See also: accountability, blame, confession, empower, failure, flesh, guilt, ownership, position in Christ, responsible/responsibilities, self-discipline, self-esteem.