Several weeks ago I was at home alone when the doorbell rang. I answered the door to find representatives from a local Girl Scout troop doing what they do so well, selling Girl Scout cookies.
My wife was not home so danger was not lurking behind the living room curtains. When Girl Scouts come selling cookies, I am cookie dough in their fund-raising hands.
ďHello, mister,Ē they chimed, ďWeíre selling cookies to raise money for ....Ē I immediately interrupted and exclaimed, ďYes, yes, Iíll take all you have!Ē
When the passion of the moment passed, I did not need a fortune cookie to know I was going to be in big trouble with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage, one tough cookie. Catching me with my hand in the cookie jar is serious business with her.
After all, 27 boxes of Girl Scout cookies are rather difficult to conceal, let alone explain. I was about to toss my cookies when an idea presented itself. What I needed was a good surefire excuse.
Excuses, which are a way of life for many people, have been around as long as mankind. In fact it was the first man, Adam, who invented the pass-the-buck phenomenon for the benefit of all those who would follow him.
It occurred in the Garden of Eden, if you remember your Bible stories, just after Eve encountered the serpent, enticing her to eat of the forbidden fruit. Eve immediately baked an apple pie a la mode for Adam.
When God confronted Adam with the situation, Adam immediately said, ďThe woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.Ē This, then, was the beginning of excuse-making to get out of a difficult situation.
Although a man may have invented excuse-making, it took women to develop it into an art form. Men, you see, are too literal and unsophisticated to develop a series of plausible excuses.
For example, a man will say, ďBob, my wife wonít let me go fishing with you next Sunday,Ē and it stops there. Nothing needs to be added, Bob knows exactly what the score is. After all, he has been there with his own wife.
Women are not men. They feel compelled to introduce the element of emotion into every situation. Why is it that women are more gifted than men when it comes to making believable excuses? I certainly donít know the answer, and thatís the only excuse I can think of at the moment.
Getting back to those Girl Scout cookies, I knew I needed to come up with some excuse or better yet, several excuses to explain why I bought 27 boxes of cookies when Iím not supposed to eat cookies.
Because Iím just a man, the only excuse I could come up with was ďthe Devil made me do it.Ē
Unfortunately, my wife did not accept that excuse and I immediately knew I was in trouble. Exasperated, my wife decided to help me come up with a list of viable excuses to use the next time Girl Scouts with cookies knock on the parsonage door.
Reasons I canít buy cookies:
* My mother made me eat cookies when I was young.
* I only eat cookies at Christmas and Easter.
* I donít believe in eating packaged cookies.
* Iím satisfied with watching people on TV eat cookies.
* Iím too busy to eat cookies. Try another time.
* I donít have any good clothing to wear while eating cookies.
* Iím too old and cookies really are for the young.
* I donít believe cookies really exist.
* I donít eat cookies. I prefer donuts.
* Iím afraid the roof will fall in if I eat cookies.
* My wife and I cannot agree on which cookie we like.
To put it mildly, I was impressed with the growing list of excuses my wife was able to come up with in such a short period. It showed she had practiced this art form for many years. I never could have come up with such a list on my own.
As I studied my new list, I was certain I could face any Girl Scout in the future. My wife does not share my confidence and no longer permits me to answer the door when the Girl Scouts are on the prowl. She is worried any preconceived excuse would quickly dissolve at the first sight of those cookies.
What is an excuse? An excuse is a lie at both ends, held together by the glue of convenience.
For some people, a bad excuse is better than no excuse at all. These people spend their whole lives justifying everything they do or donít do.
After this experience I began to understand all the excuses people have given me over the years for not attending church. Whenever I approached the subject, they seemed ready with some excuse and usually backed by plenty of others if needed.
I now see they spent quality time devising these excuses that, to their thinking, got them off the hook.
All excuses seem quite ridiculous in light of what the Bible says. ďNot forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.Ē (Hebrews 10:25 KJV.)
People who are uncomfortable in a church setting will find heaven intolerable.
All the excuses in the world will not stand the test of eternity. Thatís just the way the cookie crumbles.
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