At some point in life, almost every young person thinks they have come up with the perfect excuse for why they do not have their homework. So they practice their story, rehearse the details and proudly inform the teacher, thinking it will end all suspicion.
Then they are shocked when the teacher doesn’t believe them. The story seems like the ideal explanation, and every part is plausible. How could they not believe them?
Their mind does not grasp that kids have been repeating that excuse since the beginning of the school system. They are not the first child to come up with that story to explain their missing homework. Poor helpless dogs have been blamed every year of the teacher’s career, and they know it is simply a made-up story.
That is how I, as a pastor, feel when I talk to people about their Church attendance. I ask them where they were this past Sunday, and I am bombarded with excuses. Almost every one of them is the same old lame stories recirculated. Like that child telling the story of the dog, they think the teachers believe them. Having done ministry for almost 30 years, I will tell you a little secret: No preacher is buying your excuses.
Believe it or not, that is not what fascinates me about this process. The issue is never, “Does the preacher believe their story,” but do they believe their own excuse? Have they told their story so often that they have begun to believe it themselves? After years of missing Church, they can now spout four or five reasons without thinking about it.
One of the first steps in building or rebuilding a life of faith is being honest with yourself.