Explanations and excuses

Posted: 2011/02/28 in Politics, Thinking Tools, Words
Tags: , , ,

Today a person said a deeply hurtful thing to me.

I have an explanation for it. They’ve spent a lot of time in the last two weeks in large crowds, marinating in sometimes inflammatory sights and sounds, and they misunderstood a statement I made.

I also called their words inexcusable. This is not a contradiction.

An explanation builds understanding. I long for explanations of why a person believes the way they do, feels the way they do, acts the way they do, and speaks the way they do.

An excuse evades responsibility. If I’m walking in the path of love, I’ll forgive—maybe not right away—but I’ll do it. An explanation is helpful, but not necessary. As for an excuse, I’ll just add it to the offense that I intend to forgive.

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