WEakness and EXcuses … July 23, 2012


Revelations at 4:43 A.M. are so sweet because they are simple-minded and catch us in a vulnerable emotional state between sleep and awakening, making us much more pliable to gentle nudging. I had such an experience this very day.

I stirred to an awareness that the word WEakness begins with WE.

WE. Yes, we are all in this together. If we get off of our high horse of politics, religion and regionalism, and relax with one another, we will understand that our commonality creates a delicious recipe of fellowship mingled with empathy, punctuated by a little bit of comedy. We get in trouble when we try to escape the “we” in weakness and pretend that we are incapable of error.

This made me realize that the word EXcuses begins with EX. Excuses happen when we resign from the “we” part of the human race and start believing that we are an entity unto ourselves, floating somewhere between the rest of the family of man and God, Himself. It makes us look stupid, ugly and keeps us guilty and nervous. So the more we try to be better than other people, the less we become.

Unfortunately, our educational system, churches and culture do little to alleviate this paradox. After all, you’re just as likely to learn deception in your church as in your local bar. There doesn’t seem to be anyplace in our society where the WE in WEakness is celebrated for its universality. Because of this, all sorts of evil springs up through cover-up. For after all, sin is not an action, but rather, our cunning reaction in our attempt to portray that nothing really bad has happened. So we have:

1. The beauty of “we are human.”  It should be a celebration. Just look at us. We have the emotional heart that would absolutely befuddle a baboon. We have a soul created in the image of God, a mind untapped of its vast potentials and a body that just may be the hit parade of all the best features of God’s creatures. Yet instead of immortalizing the fact that we are human, we come up with the insipid response, “Excuse me, I’m only human.” What was meant to be a compliment–being called a human being–is now degraded by our culture and art into an animalistic metaphor, turning human beings into vampires and werewolves, insisting that we’re all Breaking Bad instead of seeking good and the assumption that left to ourselves, at heart we’re vicious. It’s an awful lot of bad publicity we create–just so we can have the opportunity to use it the next time we’re late for an appointment.

2. The second powerful part of the WE in WEakness is “We don’t know.” That’s why they call it faith. We don’t know.

  • We don’t know if there’s a heaven.
  • We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
  • We don’t know if our abilities will be enough to pull off the next project.

We don’t know. It makes us delightfully vulnerable, especially when we get around other folks who join us and admit that together, we don’t know. We don’t know how we’re going to solve our economic situation. We don’t know what’s waiting around the corner. We don’t know if it’s safe to go to a movie theater anymore. It will not strike terror in our hearts if we merge with each other, admit this family secret, and therefore watch out for each other.

But instead, we seem to be obsessed with the mantra, “EXcuse my ignorance.” We want to be able to hide behind the fact that we’re extremely intelligent–except in this one case. We want to be able to use ignorance as a bargaining chip, to be absolved of all responsibility for our participation. Ignorance is not only a horrible excuse in an age of information, it’s nearly unexplainable. “We don’t know” is actually a stimulation to learn. “Excuse my ignorance” is a demand that you accept me in my ongoing incompleteness.

3. And the final WE in WEakness is “We make mistakes.” Just the other day, I was telling my dear friend, Janet that I’ve reached the point in my life when I enjoy my mistakes as much as I do those occasions when I’m correct. I know I learn more. And if I’m willing to step into my mistakes and own them, I not only open the door to new possibilities, but I communicate to the friends and acquaintances around me that I can be trusted. For I will tell you of a certainty–anyone who is willing to admit their mistakes probably has most of their other demons on the run. When you’re not willing to say, “We make mistakes” what you end up whispering to the world around you is, “Excuse my lying.”

Matter of fact, as I watch television, I realize that the decay in our society has occurred not because we are in a global atmosphere of evil empires or financial breakdown, but rather, that somewhere along the line, we have decided that lying is inevitable. We have ceased to believe that it is a choice and instead, have adopted it as a human trait.

It is the destruction of our society. There’s nothing wrong with making mistakes. If we didn’t make mistakes and acknowledge them, we would probably still be trying to figure out how to move large objects without using a wheel and think that owning slaves was supported by adequate protocol. But we must realize that lying is not in the human DNA, but rather, is a virus that infects the human soul.

So if we’re willing to live in a world of WEakness, punctuated and begun with WE, we come up with these three blessed conclusions:

  • We are human.
  • We don’t know
  • We make mistakes.

Any society with citizens who would agree on those statements would also lay the goundwork for prosperity, purity and peace. But instead, we have allowed in the EX factor:

  • Excuse me, I’m only human.
  • Excuse my ignorance.
  • Excuse my lying.

This huge door of mediocrity opens the way to everything from cheating on an exam to mass murder.

I return to the enthusiasm I felt upon realizing this morning that WEakness begins with WE. Nothing good will happen until we accept this fact and open our hearts to each other in brother and sisterhood.

WE can do this–unless we decide to make EXcuses. This is why the Bible makes it clear that when we are weak, we are strong.

Because the WE in WEakness gives us a world full of allies instead of running from the world around us, hoping they don’t discover our lack.


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