Yabuts: What are they and why must they be eradicated?

Yabuts are excuses

photo credit: Halans via photopin cc
text and filter: Shelly Tiffin


Have you ever noticed how good kids are at giving excuses for disobedience? It doesn’t matter if it’s an excuse for not doing something they should have, or if it’s an excuse for doing something they shouldn’t, the point is, they always have a reason. Some of them are better than others.

We have named this ability to give excuses in our home. It’s called Yabuts and it often sounds like this:


“Tori, I thought I asked you to do the dishes.”

Ya, but I was just finishing my homework first.”


“Taylor, I asked you to get your shoes on.”

Ya, but I was making my lunch for school first.”

I give these examples on purpose. My girls are intelligent and independent, and they often have good reasons for their lack of obedience.

So, as I was reading in 1Samuel the other morning, I had another moment of God using my relationship with my kids to teach me about Himself.

In 1Sam ch.12, we see Samuel handing over leadership to Saul. In doing so, Samuel reminds both Saul and the people that they should fear the Lord and serve him faithfully. Then Samuel warns that if Saul and the Israelites do not obey, they will be quickly swept away. In other words, there will be consequence for disobedience.

So, literally turn the page and fast forward to Saul’s second year as king, and we find him in a battle against the Philistines. After Saul wins the battle, he’s supposed to wait 7 days and Samuel will come to make a sacrifice. But when Saul sees his people scattering, he chooses to force the sacrifice to find favor with God. In doing this, Saul loses the “establishment of his kingdom forever over Israel.”

Saul got impatient. He got worried when his people were unhappy. And Saul did it his way instead of God’s way.

Then, two chapters later, Saul receives explicit and direct instructions from the Lord (the kind of clear direction most of us would covet) on how he is to handle a battle. But yet again, to make his people happy, Saul does things his way.

I was struck by how similar Samuel and Saul’s conversation was to conversations I’ve had with my kids.

1Samuel 15:19Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you pounce on the spoil and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord. I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and I have devoted the Amalekites to destruction. 21But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”

Saul had Yabuts and it cost him everything!

And again the seriousness of Yabuts hit me. Saul’s desire to do it his way instead of God’s way first affected his legacy for his future generations. And then, if that wasn’t enough, in trying to gain God’s favor, Saul brings on his own rejection. God takes His favor from Saul and places it on David in this moment.

Yabuts are not to be taken lightly.

We’ve always hunted and killed Yabuts in our home. We will be even more diligent about it now.

Yabuts are excuses

photo credit: Nick Devenish via photopin cc
text and filter: Shelly Tiffin

Yabuts can seem innocent, maybe they even come with great reasoning that makes us proud of the insight that brought them about. But,

Yabuts breed like rabbits. Where there is one, there will soon by an infestation. (Tweet That)

They must be eradicated on first notice. Why?

If children can’t obey parents they can see, how will they obey a God they can’t? (Tweet That)

And, the manner in which children learn to obey their parents is the same manner in which they will translate that obedience to God.

To be a good parent, I must teach my children the importance of obedience without complaint, delay, or their own way of accomplishing the task.

And, while Yabuts are easy to spot in children, that doesn’t mean we don’t get them too. Although independent and grown adults, we are still children of God.

I am currently in danger of Yabuts just like Saul. God has given me clear direction. I am to share the Hope I have in Him with this world through writing and speaking. I am to keep up this blog and pursue finishing a book, and I’m to share verbally with those I come in contact with. That’s all I’ve got of the picture, but God’s made this much crystal clear.

I could very easily forgo writing what the Spirit has laid on my heart under the Yabut that’s not what people want to hear.

I could very easily waste the time I do have with social media under the Yabut I’m building relationships or building a platform.

And, I could very easily cast all my other responsibilities aside to “obey” under the Yabut I’m supposed to do this because God said so. He also said my relationship with Him comes first, then my husband, then my kids. I wouldn’t be obeying if my priorities didn’t remain in alignment with God’s.

There is no excuse for disobedience.

There is no excuse for doing it my way instead of God’s way.

The only way to be sure the Yabuts don’t invade our lives or that of our children, is to destroy them on first sight.

I much prefer to hear “yes ma’am” from my kids as they obey than Yabut afterward when they haven’t. I’m pretty sure it’s the same with God.

Allowing Yabuts in our lives risks the legacy we will leave to our children and our children’s children and risks losing the favor of God.

I pray Luke 2:52 all the time for myself and my family. After all, my desire is for all of us to be more like Jesus.  May we all  “increase in wisdom in stature and in favor with God and man.”

And it’s of no coincidence that in Luke 2:51 Jesus, a 12 year old teaching in the synagogue (church), went with His parents “and was submissive to them.”

Do you, or does someone you know, have Yabuts? The cost of their in-habitation far outweighs the price of eradication. (Tweet That)

What kind of Yabuts have you spotted? They come in all shapes and sizes and some are uglier than others. What other dangers do you see in Yabuts?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://jenniferkaufman.net Jennifer Kaufman

    Oh goodness, we have a huge infestation and my girls are not even six! We are hoping to nip it in the bud sooner than later, for sure!

  • http://thenurseteacher.com Joan

    This is a really hot topic in our house these day!! My girls are transitioning to “tweens” and really trying to push their independence… the Yabuts are breeding. Thank you for this beautiful blessing and reminder!!

    • http://www.shellytiffin.com Shelly Tiffin

      Joan I have tween girls too. At least we’ve talked about this enough that they know the importance of obedience isn’t just because we are controlling and want our way. That has curbed the rebellious spirit that I had with my mom as a teen. I’m glad you enjoyed the article.

  • http://melanomas.bishless.com Martha

    I will never forget my parent’s campaign against the phrase “yabut” when I was growing up. They would echo my brothers and me everytime we said yabut with a (probably now not politically correct) phrase which repeated the yabut. It annoyed us enough that we got out of the habit! Yabuts are good to avoid in dealings with God and parents or any authority figure! :)

    • http://www.shellytiffin.com Shelly Tiffin

      We do the echo thing too sometimes. The kids can’t stand it. “That’s not what I sound like.” Oh, but it is! :)

  • http://mycrazygoodlife.com Becca

    We have YaButs in our home too! It’s a tough habit to break the kids out of.