Justification: Shut the @*#% Up and Just Say Thanks!

By Joel Hess


Whenever someone accuses me of something, the first thing I do is make an excuse. Like Adam who quickly pointed to Eve and even his Maker, I point to something that either validates my action or hopefully creates sympathy in my accuser. I do it every time!

I think we all do. More than ever, quite honestly. Addiction is a disease. Unusual sexual attraction is an inherent disposition. Terrorism is the result of impoverished conditions. Mass murder is the result of bullying. Bullying is the result of being bullied at home. Hitler was the result of a broken home. It goes on and on. What’s your excuse?

We have a reason for everything. And you know what? They ain’t bad!  Eve did give Adam the pomegranate. Who created that snake? Surely our actions are at least partially the result of our environment.


Ultimately what drives us to explain ourselves away is not to determine the cause and correct the situation. Oh no. Ultimately we want to justify our action before others and even God. We don’t want to be guilty, wrong, a creep, at fault etc.!  Right? We don’t want to be stuck in the corner completely responsible for our actions! Naked and afraid! So we justify ourselves by explaining it away or pointing to some good things we did that may outweigh the bad.

We Lutherans even use original sin as a way to justify ourselves! “I’m a sinner!” we shrug. What did you expect? I was “born” this way!

To every excuse, every rationalization, every pointing the finger, God says – Shut up!!!

“Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.”

Stop your mouth! Stop telling God and others you are broken! Or it was broken when you got it.

YOU BROKE IT! And there is absolutely no excuse! You cannot make it right! So quiet!


You simply cannot justify yourself before God. You cannot give one good reason why you should be able to stand before the judge and not be thrown into prison. You might as well just be quiet. You aren’t helping your case one bit. In fact you might be making it worse!

There is one way to justify your existence. But it won’t be easy. Well it will be easy for you, but not for God. It will cost Him the one He loves. Oh yes. It is actually quite irrational. About as irrational as a dad giving away half his possessions to his ass of a son. As irrational as the same dad welcoming that same jerk son back, no questions asked!

You can’t make it right. God can. Paul says it best.

“The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

You are free to leave the courtroom!  Christ paid it all.


You are free to not have to make all these excuses. You are free to blurt out – I did it! Me. I am a complete jackass. I should have known better but I did it. There is no one to blame but myself! You are free to say that. Because it is freeing to say it!

You are free to say it because you don’t have to figure out how you will get out of this one. Jesus justifies you! He makes you right with God. Stop hiding behind your excuses. Trust in your judge who says – do not be afraid.

What’s that? How much do you have to believe? How strong do you have to believe? Oh you want to give your life to Jesus? You will never sin again? You’ll pay it back one day? You’ll tell everyone you know?

This is not a transaction. It’s a gift!

So shut up! Just say thanks.