- "Please excuse Fay for missing last Tuesday. She had very loose vowels."
- "Please forgive Sam's absence. He was sick, and I had to get him shot."
And here are some you might want to try if a patrolman pulls you over:
- "Officer, I know I was speeding. But I was trying to get to a gas station before I ran out of gas."
- "Please don't give me a ticket. My wife ran off with a state trooper, and I didn't stop when I saw your blue light for fear he was bringing her back."
Excuse-making seems to be an art form for some people. It is the rare and exceptional person who steps up at a critical juncture to accept responsibility when something has gone wrong.
One of the things about leaders is that they take responsibility for what happens on their watch. They are less concerned to point fingers than to make constructive changes in what is happening. They want things to be better, and change for the better doesn't happen when somebody is more concerned to fix the blame than to improve the situation.
The legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant coached the University of Alabama's football team to winning season after winning season — including some national championships. He once explained his theory of how to build a successful team.
"I'm just a plowhand from Arkansas," said Coach Bryant, "but I have learned how to hold a team together — how to lift some men up, how to calm others down, until finally they've got one heartbeat together, a team. There's just three things I'd ever say; 'If anything goes bad, I did it; if anything goes semi-good, then we did it; and if anything goes real good, then you did it.' That's all it takes to get people to win football games for you."
That's also part of the essence of all leadership. Whether it's in athletics, on the job, or at home, leaders are quick to give credit to others and to shoulder responsibility for problems. Jesus is the perfect example of that sort of leadership. He took the sin problem of the entire world on his shoulders. It wasn't fair, but it was the only way that would work for others' benefit.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45 TNIV).
Anyone good at making excuses will seldom excel at anything else.