I’ve been convicted of something in my life recently that I have noticed in others also. It’s the use of the words “I wasn’t able to…”. We sometimes use these words in response to people’s questions about things like our time with God in his Word or calling a certain person back or doing something we said we’d do. I’ve heard myself using these words in conversation because I have found that they work to keep my failures and sins from being exposed or my reputation from being harmed with a slacker-esque impression.
We’re all busy people, so no one is going to question whether I was really unable to fulfill a certain responsibility, right? But when you think about it, “unable” is a pretty serious word to use in this context. Are we really saying that there was no possible way we could have done what we should have done? I am sure that there are times when the use of these words is legit, but much of the time a more accurate response is “I just didn’t get to it” or, if we want to be truly candid, “I didn’t make time for it”.
When I look inside my heart I often see a burning desire to protect my true self from discovery and that’s why I have used these words and others like them. They keep people off my scent. If this is you too, here are two things to remember:
- If you are in Christ, then you stand before God completely forgiven (Romans 8:1). All your sins (including sins of neglect) are washed away, so there is no need to try and justify yourself before others. The opinion of man is not more important than God’s declaration of “Righteous!” because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.
- If we are not honest about our sins of neglect, then we are missing out on the help that God brings us through his people. And we are not making it easy for them to receive the blessing of obeying God’s command to “exhort one another everyday… that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).