When someone doesn’t make the most of their time or opportunities, and then that person feels badly about their performance, we tend to say, “It’s okay.”
“It’s understandable. You were tired.”
“Life is monotonous. Everyone needs to have fun once and a while.”
“You have a lot of pressure in your family/life. You needed to unwind.”
I’ve received a lot of these types of comments and I have made them myself, but I’ve come to believe it is not helpful. It’s true that we legitimately need to unwind, rest, and have fun, and these things are important. And certain seasons of life can be very difficult and so more rest is required. But overall, I think there’s way more ‘relaxing’ going on in our culture than is warranted.
Where does this excuse-giving come from?
When a person performs very well, when they work very hard and achieve a great success, I feel happy for them. But deep down, there are other feelings too. Often I have felt a pang of jealousy or guilt or disappointment that I wasn’t able to achieve similar results. But the truth is that their success has no influence on what happens in my life. My own effort primarily determines my success in the things I do.
Conversely, when a person squanders their time or opportunities or even when the person is downright lazy, well, truthfully, often I feel relieved. We’re all in the same boat. It’s hard for all of us. See, I’m not the only one.
And so I tell them, “It’s okay.”
But it’s not okay. It’s not okay when I’m lazy and it’s not okay when you are either. We’ve been given gifts and responsibilities by God, and to waste our time would not be right. And for me to tell you, “it’s okay”, as a cover for my own laziness, well…that would be selfish of me.
So, instead, I’ll tell you that you can do better next time. You can do this thing called life. Eat, get enough rest, and pray to God for strength and wisdom. You can walk out the calling you’ve received.