People make all kinds of excuses:
"The dog ate my homework."
"It was temporary insanity."
"I didn't realize there was paint in the squirt gun."
"It just slipped out!"
"The devil made me do it."
"I didn't know the gun was loaded."
"I was pushed."
"His face hit my fist!"
You've heard 'em all before. Maybe you've even used 'em yourself (admit it, now!).
The making of excuses goes way back to the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit: Adam said, "Hey! That woman you put here with me she gave it to me." And Eve said, "It wasn't my fault! The serpent made me do it!"
Thousands of years later we still haven't learned. We still make excuses for our behavior, especially when our behavior is unloving. "She deserved it," we say. "He had it coming." "He hit me first." "She would've done the same thing to me." "Why should I love him when he doesn't love me?" You get the idea.
But no matter how many excuses we use, there's no excuse for getting even with someone or treating him or her in an unloving way. Oh, sure, so-and-so did this to you. And what-his-name doesn't deserve to be treated nicely. But the Bible says, "Don't just pretend that you love others. Really love them. . . . Never pay back evil for evil to anyone . . . [and] never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, 'I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,' says the Lord. Instead, do what the Scriptures say: 'If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you.' Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good" (Romans 12:9a, 17-21).
Sure, it's hard. Making excuses would be much easier. But love is what's right. Love is always right.
REFLECT: We all have tried to justify wrong behavior by making excuses. What excuses have you made for not treating someone with love? Are you making excuses to justify wrong behavior now? If so, what should you do instead of making excuses?
PRAY: "Dear God, help me not to make excuses to justify my unloving behavior, like when I...
Help me instead to do what is right, even when it's hard."