It is easy to get defensive or make excuses, but this never helps. Excuses make things worse. An excuse is rooted in something internal that gets blamed on something external. In 1 Samuel 13:8-14, we see King Saul make excuses for his disobedience and lack of faith. He blames his behaviour on his fleeing soldiers, on the intimidating enemy Philistine army, and on Samuel the prophet – claiming that Samuel was late. Underneath these excuses were three internal motivations:
These same internal motivations can lie underneath our excuses as well. In order for us to grow spiritually, we need to also grow emotionally – becoming more aware of our internal reality. Instead of being like Saul who was oblivious to his emotions or unwilling to admit them, we can seek to notice what is going on inside. We can aspire to express our emotions in healthy ways. We can also notice that God notices us – our best side and our worst side – and God is loving and gracious towards us.