I’ll never forget my first few experiences as a varsity player in high school. Though I was confident I could play at that level, I was honestly scared to death! Never had the game been so fast. Never had I played under so much pressure. Never had more been expected of me. Never had I so feared letting down my team. Couple fear with my perfectionism and it was a recipe for something unexpected: excuses.

Anyone who wants to do well and is scared of failure is prone to making excuses for mistakes. The sun got in my eyes. The ball took a bad hop. Someone got in my way. Whatever.

The best advice I ever received on how to handle failure came from my high school coaches. Just admit it. Say you messed up. Move on. No more excuses. No more covering it up. You messed up. You know it. They know it. Admit it, learn from it, and move on.

Life is the same way. We spend so much time making excuses for our behavior, when the Lord stands ready to forgive and extend His grace. Excuses don’t prove you’re sorry. Repentance does. “Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation” (Proverbs 14:9 NLT). Those who are foolish try to make excuses, essentially making fun of their own guilt, refusing to admit it. The godly, however, receive, admit, and repent of their guilt, giving it to the Lord for the purpose of being reconciled to Him. It does no good to run from God, since He is the only source of infinite grace, love, and forgiveness.

Dear God, bring to my attention any area of my life in which I make excuses for sin, blaming it on you, others, or my circumstances. Thank you for your grace that forgives even my deepest sin. Enable me to live free from excuses; instead, make me a person who acknowledges my sin, confesses it to you, receives your cleansing, and moves on in victory in Jesus Christ. Amen.