I’m making a public apology to my dad. I’m sorry dad, I forgot your birthday.
There is no way around it, that is inexcusable. And I love my father dearly. I could have easily listed a litany of ‘excuses’ as to what made my mind so preoccupied that I couldn’t possibly stop for a second and think, “Hey it’s my dad’s birthday. I need to let him know how special he is to me and that I love him.”
This is the same man who demoted himself in his workplace to move his family away from a town that threatened both my sister’s well-being and my life. He was on top at the company and ended up taking a major pay cut to keep his family safe and out of harms way.
I can’t give an excuse to the man who held me on his knee when I was a hormonal pre-teen crying in desperation “I’m so ugly!” as he wrapped his arms around me desperate for me to see my true beauty through his eyes.
I was his buddy. He deserves more than an excuse.
Don’t we all? Really? When we’ve realized we have made a bad choice, a stupid mistake, a misguided or misjudged response, don’t those around us deserve the sincere apology and acknowledgement of wrong over the excuse?
We are not perfect people. We will fall. We will mess up, forget, say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, and in defense we will make excuses to avoid the pain of acknowledging we’ve messed up.
The excuses not only hurt the ones we give them to but they hurt in our healing process. If we continue to make excuses for our wrongs (especially in our reactions and responses) then we prevent spiritual growth.
I hear my 14 year old son getting caught in this web of excuses and I tell him over and over, “Own up to the wrong (or at times unintended mistake) and try better next time not to repeat the same offense.” If I were to allow my son to go through life making excuses (or worse, making excuses for him) how would he learn? What would keep him from striving to do better, to redirect his course so as not to feel that same guilt and shame and allowing the enemy to use it to fester an insecurity in his abilities?
My reaction this morning when I realized I forgot my dad’s birthday was to immediately self-degrade. How could I be so stupid? I’m awful. I’m the worst daughter ever. But when I got him on the phone and he immediately forgave me and asked about the boys, my husband, me, the ministry… I wouldn’t allow an excuse of any sort to degrade the love I have for him. He deserved my sincere apology and I deserved not to hide behind any excuses.
When you mess up, own up.
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