In the dark ages surrounding my childhood there was a popular book and movie called, “The Egg and I”. I am using a play on words in remembering this movie to expose a highly important issue in our lives as Christians, those who follow Christ. I am using the word egg to assist us all in our use of two words which are spelled alike, but pronounced differently. They are excuse, and excuse. This is what proves that the English language is hard to learn.
The first usage to study sounds phonetically like “egg-skyoos”. This type of excuse by definition is ‘a poor or inadequate example’. For example, ‘that’s a poor excuse for a paint job.’ This calls for the subject painter to double his trouble and churn up some excuse for himself. “Well, this seems okay to me. Just look at what I was painting. Look at what stuff I was having to use. This paint job isn’t hurting anything.’ These types of justifications sound similar to the time Pontius Pilate and washed his hands in front of Jesus and the crowd as an excuse for his lack of justifiable action. How often have we made excuses for our behavior to try to absolve ourselves of a guilt we know should have been corrected long ago. Have we said, “Well, I’m not really hurting anybody,”? I would say that most of the time this is not a true statement, and often this person may well be hurting themselves, either of which is a poor witness. Whatever happened to pleasing God with all your being? Is this your egg rule?
The other way to pronounce this word would be like ‘egg-skyooz’. By definition this means to ‘justify, defend or absolve someone of the blame attached to a fault or offence’ generally. In a court of law when a person is found not guilty or free from conviction, the judge will declare something like, ‘The defendant is excused and free to depart’. What a freedom and relief that brings. The next preferable response would be to forgive those who wrongfully accused him or her. If this person was truly innocent, he would be rejoicing. As a believer, we know we have been guilty of sin, even a bad habit or thoughts. If satan had a court, we would quickly be declared guilty and harshly dealt with. But, he has no such power. He is simply described in Revelation as the ‘accuser of the brethren’.
But, thanks be to God “we have an Advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ the Righteous.” (I John 2:1) He is our eternal lawyer who intercedes for us before the Father. Through the blood of Jesus we are excused because we are forgiven. To admit our sin, our bad habits, our bad choices, we are then already anchored in the Lord’s forgiveness and cleansed. That’s God’s grace!! Rather than try to manufacture egg-skyooses, I pray you are the egg-skyoozed because you are a ‘new creature in Christ’, forgiven and victorious!
Paul F. Allen, Pastor