- Justification by blame-shifting: You make me so mad when you do that.
- Justification by comparison: I know what I did was wrong, but it wasn’t as bad as what they did.
- Justification though weakness: I tried to say no, but the temptation was too great.
- Justification by independence: It’s my life; I think I should be able to do what I want.
- Justification by merit: I had a hard week; I felt like I deserved the pleasure.
- Justification by majority: Everybody else is doing it; it can’t that bad.
All of these justifications are wrong, but they feel so right at the time. I came across a great statement in my Puritan prayer book The Valley of Vision. In the prayer entitled “Humiliation” the old saint wrote,
Let me never forget that the heinousnesss of sin lies not so much in the nature of the sin committed, as in the greatness of the Person sinned against.
Now there’s a prayer worth remembering next time your desires start to justify your actions.