The No Excuses Challenge

The No Excuses Challenge - Parenting Like Hannah

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King Saul could have been called the King of Excuses. From the time Samuel told Saul he would be king, almost until his death, Saul had an excuse for just about everything. He couldn’t be king because he was from the smallest clan in the smallest tribe. He sacrificed when he wasn’t supposed to because Samuel was taking too long to get there. He didn’t kill animals he was told by God to kill because he was saving them for sacrifices. And on and on. Saul had excuses for why he couldn’t do what God wanted him to do and excuses for why he disobeyed God.

Excuses are one of Satan’s best weapons. From Adam until today, we seem to think excuses will either get us out of doing something we don’t want to do or keep us from getting punished when we do something wrong. Reading the Bible though, gives us a picture of a God who is not fond of excuses (to put it mildly).

God makes it pretty clear. When He has something He wants us to do, His expectation is that we will do it. He doesn’t want to hear our excuses. We have free choice, but choosing to walk away from a task God has given you is probably not the best choice you can make. God also frowns on disobedience of His commands. There is no excuse for our sins that will negate them. Our only hope is to ask for God’s forgiveness.

Maybe that was why David, for all of his faults, was considered a man after God’s own heart. King David made a couple of mistakes in particular that resulted in the deaths of more than 70,000 people (combining two separate instances). The first time, David had to be made aware of his sin and the second time he figured it out after he had sinned without prodding. Yet both times, David refused to make excuses. He took full responsibility and even asked God to make him suffer the entire consequence instead of others. Yes, he still had to suffer some pretty serious consequences on earth, but God forgave Him and let it be known David was a man after God’s own heart.

One of the most important concepts we can teach our children is the concept of “no excuses”.  Ultimately, we all will be accountable for our choices. We have the free will to study God’s Words and make godly choices or reject them and make ungodly choices.

We can be forgiven of our sins as Christians when we repent. But guess what? True repentance doesn’t allow for excuses! To repent means taking full responsibility for your poor choice. It means not only are you asking for God’s forgiveness, but you are promising God you are trying to turn away from that sin and not indulge in it any more. It is not a time to give God all of the reasons why everything and everyone else made us sin. It didn’t work for Adam and Eve and it isn’t going to work for us or our children.

This week I challenge you to an experiment. Give every family member a roll of change. Place an excuse jar in the middle of the kitchen table. During the week any time a family member (including parents) gives an excuse for something, they have to place a coin from their roll into the excuse jar. At the end of the week, the money in the jar is donated to charity. If anyone has any money left, they can spend it in any way they choose.

Let me know what happens during the week in a comment below. Did you find your family made more excuses than you realized? Were the parents worse than the kids? Were more excuses to get out of work or to get out of trouble? Perhaps the most important question is how can you break this dangerous habit for you and your children?

As you become more aware of excuses, consider how many excuses you give God in your head. Excuses why you don’t spend more time dedicating your children to God. Excuses why you don’t have the energy to spend time training your children to be more godly. Excuses why you don’t know your child’s heart well enough to help mold it towards God. Excuses why things are more important to you than God or your family. Maybe if we ban excuses from our vocabulary, we may just find we have a closer relationship with our children and with God.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)