“Excuses are just like belly buttons: everybody’s got one.” Our defense mechanisms explain away gray areas. It’s handy to conceal our true motivations with rapid-fire, reassuring rationale.
Take that poor soul, Pat Robertson (“700 Club”): he was asked this: A man’s wife has Alzheimer’s, and the man wants to begin seeing another woman.
PAT: “If you respect that vow, you say ’til death do us part … [Alzheimer’s] This is a kind of death.” [Pat wouldn’t] “put a guilt trip” [on the one divorcing] …”Get some ethicist besides me to give you the answer.”
[BIBLE: Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery. Mark 10:11-12]
This bit of news has struck a chord with me, the sole caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient. If Effie’s husband were alive, I would not condone divorce. But, yeah, rationalization kicks into gear: I’m not married to Effie. I’ve been languishing in a lot of logical lingo lately. One moment I’m carrying her in my arms, and the next I’m grousing that the life is getting sucked out of me.
Malachi 1:9b With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the LORD of hosts.
Jer. 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
Here’s some of the rationale:
^Effie’s been here four years; and this one’s affected every member of the household.
^1% speaking, 99% nothingness.
^Hospice is doing great—but sometimes it gets scary and they talk me through it on the phone.
^I’m brittle: ten months of incarceration, insanity, and incontinence have taken their toll.
Rationalization? Maybe. But soon we will be availing ourselves a service of hospice—it’s called respite: a short stay in a dementia facility. [Not for me, for Effie.] …If it works well, we may elect to keep tabs on her there.
Through it all, I will continue to meditate on, among others, Eph. 6:2-3, 1 Tim. 5:3-4, and Mark 7:9-13.
And to pray: James 5:16 The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.