Excuses, Excuses



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

2 Corinthians 7:9–11

Yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this Godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.


In the altar story this week, Jacob ran away from his sin for years. He allowed the mistakes of his youth to keep him from maintaining a relationship with his brother. It wasn’t until he wrestled with God and surrendered his life that Jacob was transformed and given a new name. Looking back at his story, I wonder how many times, before his wrestling match, he had replayed that scene in his head of cheating his brother out of his inheritance. Had he tried to reframe his actions in a way that allowed him to justify his actions? Had he made excuses for his behavior?

When we become aware of our sin, we will often make excuses to avoid taking responsibility. We justify our behavior and we blame the other person. The danger in making excuses is we speak our own words over a situation instead of listening to the voice of the Lord. Making excuses is what Paul calls worldly sorrow and it just makes us feel sorry for ourselves.

Paul had written several letters to the Corinthian church to correct their behavior. They were known to be disobedient and make excuses rather than take responsibility. In this letter, Paul acknowledges their hurt, but he says that he doesn’t regret the redirection. Why? Because Paul says it has caused them to seek repentance. There is a difference between worldly sorrow and godly sorrow. The hurt of the world is meant to beat us down and tell us we have done something bad. The hurt of the Holy Spirit is meant to move to confession where we find redemption.

Paul doesn’t want the believers to make excuses for their behavior or to run away from the consequences. He wants them to surrender their excuses to take the responsibility of repentance because Paul knows that they will receive forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Our Lenten journey invites us to open ourselves to godly sorrow and ask the Holy Spirit to show us where we have been justifying our choices. Freedom comes through the forgiveness of Christ and it also frees us to be fully devoted followers of Jesus.


Jesus, thank You for leading us to repentance because we might not have gotten there on our own. We know that it is because You love us that it hurts You to see us make excuses for our behavior. We lay it down before You today and ask for You to redeem us. Amen.


What excuses have you made for sins in your life? Are you willing to bring them to the Lord and receive forgiveness? How does taking responsibility reflect the nature of Christ in our lives?

For the Awakening,
Susan Kent 

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. Our sinful nature and self-defensiveness always point the finger of blame outward. Our accusing finger extends toward the devil or God, if not toward another.
    In the rehab world, Godly sorrow is called brokenness.
    Brokeness is the crossroad of Redemption Road and Despair Street.
    Brokenness can be sunshine on a cloudy day or an inner earthquake of destruction.

    Isaiah 40:31
    But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

    If we allow God to have His way IN us, He will take our sorrow (brokenness) and raise us from the ashes of anguish where we soar with the eagles.
    We need to look no further than The Cross for evidence.
    No further than Jesus.

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong IN the Lord and IN His mighty power.

  2. It’s good to be sorry, to truly be sorrowful, to experience godly sorrow — to be sorry for any wrong you’ve thought, said, or done (not just to feel sorry for yourself because you got caught). Godly sorrow sounds the alarm that we need to repent and where possible to make amends. It makes us ready and eager to make things right with God and with other people.

    Godly sorrow happens in our heart when we allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of wrong. When we’re willing to humbly pray like King David: “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind,” and “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me,” we experience it.

    Healing happens when a human heart opens up to godly sorrow. Both history and current events clearly display the evil that is part of human nature. If you were an alien visiting the planet, would you consider earth people to be good? Or would you agree with the ancient prophet Isaiah? “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way.”

    Will we be like the Pharisee in the temple whose religion kept him from seeing his own sin, but clearly saw the sin of other people? Or will we be like the tax collector and cry out with godly sorrow, “God have mercy on me a sinner,”?

    Accept the call of godly sorrow. Embrace the responsibility to repent. Any time you sin in thought, word, or deed, quickly admit it, confess it, renounce it, turn away from it, and receive God’s mercy and forgiveness.

  3. On the night of Jesus’s betrayal and arrest that would lead to his inevitable trial and crucifixion, he warned them about his eventual return to his Father above. Sensing their grief, he promised them the gift of the Holy Spirit along with the Spirit’s attendant functions. One of those functions was to convict the world of sin. We will see this function demonstrated on the day of Pentecost, when the crowd who had gathered to hear Peter’s sermon heard the words, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, but Lord and Messiah.
    When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what should we do?” This in my opinion, is the clearest example of Godly sorrow displayed in the entire Bible.

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