In which there are excuses, excuses…

by Craig on January 12, 2011

Walking along the beach, on the sand that’s right on the border between the grainy part and the mushy part. You know, the sweet spot where a little further out means you’re all wet, and a little further in and each step is too much work.

Yeah, that spot.

Along I went.

I was reading,


looking at the sky.

But I wasn’t watching was the waves.

If you want the beachfront property you have to consider the waves.

Happily meandering along the coast and whoosh!

Salt water in my Nike’s and up to my knees. It shocked me. I thought “Unfair!” I stood there, aghast that such a thing might happen – just long enough for wave number two to crash in on me – all the way to the waist.

I began paying attention at that point.

I was reading about sin – how the Israelites had, bit by bit, traded in their relationship with God. There would be a pagan alliance here, and an additional alter there. I thought about my life and how sin creeps in that way. Then I thought of the wave and how I so automatically responded, “Hey, that wasn’t my fault!“

And it hit me as suddenly as each of the two waves.

No sin is Not. My. Fault.

Step number 8 in Bernard of Clairvaux’s descending steps of pride.

Excusing Sins

This step comes with a definitively defensive voice:

“Fine, maybe I should have done it differently. But it was because…”

“Hold on now, I was tricked, beguiled…”

“Seriously, it was too great a temptation. I couldn’t have been expected to win such a difficult battle. I mean, I put up a tremendous and God honoring fight didn’t I?!”

“It was a mistake. I didn’t see it until it was too late.”

“I had no one to help me, to stop me. I was alone. If someone were only there.” (all the while avoiding contact with those who would help).

No sin is not my fault


I like to pretend that I fall because I was pushed or pulled.

I’d rather play act that that any amount of preparation and desire for righteousness is so vulnerable that sin isn’t my fault.

But every sin is a decision. There are no mistakes.

If I didn’t know a certain thing were a sin – than that’s different.

But to know there’s an ocean to my right. To know a tide rushes in toward the shore. To hear the surf pound and ignore it. That’s how sin happens.

Except sin doesn’t splash into me like waves.

I walk into it.

I make the choice.

No sin is not my fault.

So inconsiderate with your gift of Grace.

Please Lord, forgive me.

I don’t want to sin. But I don’t watch the waves closely enough. Do I?

You have seen each wave

from before that first ocean breeze raises a bit of water

far out at sea.

Please give me eyes to notice the ripple before it becomes a splash.

I know enough to know where I’m weak. If I look with better eyes I can see it coming – and ask for strength to help beat the temptations I can.

I can also pray that you to keep me from temptation I can’t beat – remove it, or remove me from the situation.

I can avoid the waves better.

I’m looking right now and I can see temptation crouching.

I can hear the excuses already.

More of your strength,

and vision,

and passion for the right.


less of my will, and weakness, and excusing of sin.


God Bless.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie January 12, 2011 at 1:50 am

Thank you for giving such a visual of the waves coming and us just not looking, not paying attention. Then making excuses. But . . .there are none. Can’t believe I’m thanking you for this. haha! I am though, because I want less of my sin, weakness and will and more of Him. God bless you and that sweet spot you walk with Jesus.


Craig January 12, 2011 at 9:16 am

I know Deb. I’m not a “fire and brimstone” kind of guy – but the Book of James which we’ve been studying and will go back to is tough – and Bernard of Clairvaux maybe even tougher – I can’t believe I’m writing it sometimes – but then I look at my life and think – oh boy – tough or not I need it. Know what I mean?


Anonymuss January 12, 2011 at 1:50 pm

This is a good kind of tough, Craig. No more excuses and watch for the waves are the two take-away lessons for me here. Stay OFF the beach during storms, too. But even on sunny days, if we don’t wear ‘sunscreen’ we can get ‘burned’.


Craig January 12, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Two analogies I’ll file away for future stealing – thank you very much :)


Bonnie Shelton January 12, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Yeah, I’d say that’s about it. You are an encourager, Craig-a Barnabus, so needed in every age.

I am about to publish a new poem. I hope it’s an encouragement to you and to others, as it has been to me.


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