from but to And

Aug 17 – Is Your But Getting In The Way?

3:230 – Is Your But Getting In the Way?

#faithbites #faithjourney but

Setting

“I like this dinner, but the veggies are too salty”. “Our country is good but it has too many problems.”. “This movie was good but the lead actor can’t act.” “Daddy, I like this slushy but there is too much cherry to the coke” (Yes, that one just happened). How often do we say something then our but gets in the way? 

I was talking to one of our Pastors today and he said he is trying to watch his language around “but”. It’s a lesson we can all learn. The word “but” is a conjunction “used to introduce a phrase or clause contrasting with what has already been mentioned”.

Do you ever use that when discussing your faith? “I love the Bible but there are things I don’t agree with?” “I want to share my love of Jesus, but I’m afraid”

What if we replaced the word “but” with “and”? “I love the Bible and there are things I don’t agree with?” “I want to share my love of Jesus and I’m afraid of how people will react.”

What conjunction are you using?

Scripture
  • Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned AND fall short of the glory of God,
  • Genesis 31:7 – Yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. BUT God did not permit him to harm me
  • Jonah 2:6 -To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. BUT you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit.
  • Matthew 19:26 – Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, BUT with God all things are possible.
Reflection

When we use but, it takes away from the message we are trying to say. It’s one reason why I dislike the feedback sandwich. If you aren’t familiar with that, it is where you say something positive, then constructive feedback, then something positive. The message is lost in the positive. If we need to correct then we need to be direct. If we aren’t trying to correct, we can use “and”. “I think police brutality against people of color is wrong AND I support law enforcement.” “We have the best country in the world AND we need to work on our challenges.”

If you look at the last three verses you wonder why they include “but”. In all of these verses and many more, got is the big But. Meaning, God can contrast anything and make it better. He is taking the evils, the wrongs, and the sins of the world and correcting it. He doesn’t need the negative to be there for him to reign supreme.

As we leave today, think about where you use but and why you use it? Can and be a better word to get your point across. 

Challenge

Think of one statement you made recently. Did you have a positive beginning and contrast it with a negative? What would have happened if you said the negative statement directly or used the word and? Can you be clearer and more inclusive in your speech?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you being an example of inclusivity. You show us where we need to support All people and where And is a better word for us to use. Help us to look for ways to join and not divide. When we need to rebuke or correct, help us to have the best words to rectify the situation. When we aren’t trying to rebuke, let us see that it’s not all or nothing and there are ands in between. This is not easy as we’ve grown up on the word “but” and we know that you will give us the wisdom to make this change. In your name, Amen.

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