Originally posted on Miss P’s Pondering on July 5, 2012
Okay, I must admit that coming up with today’s title made me think of my third graders. You wouldn’t think a conjunction would be so funny, BUT if you pause after you say it then it never fails to bring laughter. Anyway, I’m curious…did you chuckle? If so, congratulations on being childlike.
Have you ever thought of the power the word “but” has? I have. You see it has the power to flip the meaning of an entire sentence…sometimes an entire paragraph or speech. Step into my imagination for a moment, I promise it won’t be too scary.
“I just love Cinderella. She is just the sweetest thing. Have you tried her cooking? I don’t know how she makes her cookies so soft and delicious, BUT I really wish she wasn’t late to everything.”
“You know, Jasmine is just the sweetest. She is so strong and assertive, BUT I really wish she would wear shirts that covered her stomach.”
“Wow! I really wish I could keep house as well as Snow. Her house is always so clean, and you know she really is the fairest of them all. BUT, I heard she was living with not only one man but seven. I mean, what example is she setting?”
Did you feel the power? I bet you thought those princesses were going to be girls that I loved and appreciated, BUT I showed you in the end the true feelings hidden below the surface. Have you ever been around someone who ends every monologue with a powerful and critical BUT? I often wonder…”So, if that’s what you say about princesses…what do you say about me?”
“Jodi? Oh, she’s so talented. Have you ever heard her read aloud or bring a puppet to life. Quite entertaining. Man, she sure does love her career. BUT have you looked in her teacher corner? It’s a mess.”
Yep, the BUT zapped all the power from the words of encouragement and took all the joy out of the thought. Instead, what’s left…a thought that would make most people self-conscious. (Of course, I know my teacher’s desk is atrocious, BUT I never sit at my desk, so I don’t fret…unless a new substitute is scheduled for my room.)
However, not only can BUT make a good become a bad, it can do the opposite as well.
“You know this weather is awful. It’s so hot outside. BUT, we could be hotter just think of those soldiers in Afghanistan. We should really pray for them.”
“I can’t believe how loud that thunder was last weekend. It shook my walls. Scared me and my cat to death, BUT we really needed the rain so it’s all good.”
“Man, I can’t believe I’m going to be in the parade. I haven’t done that since the mid 80s! It’s going to be so hot, and I won’t be able to breathe by the end of it. BUT, I know my students are excited.”
Yep, BUT is a powerful word. Don’t you think? However, BUT is the most powerful in the Bible when it has a partner….
The earth was destroyed by a flood. For many weeks, Noah’s family lived on the ark with all the critters God sent to be saved along with them. Think of the odor on that boat! Definitely worse than Jasper’s litter box. It would’ve been easy to complain, don’t you think?
“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and livestock with him on the boat. He sent a wind to blow across the earth, and the flood waters began to recede.” [Genesis 8:1]
Now, if you have sisters or brothers, think of a time when they might’ve been a bit jealous of you. Now, until my nephew came along, I was the most spoiled member of my family. Actually, Dad still sometimes will joke about how I need to come over for dinner, so Mom will cook him a real dinner. Anyway, I digress. Imagine your siblings being so jealous of you that they considered killing you. However, one of your siblings didn’t want to go to that extreme, so they just sell you as a slave instead. Yep, plenty of reason to lose hope, yet the power of “but God” comes to the rescue.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” [Genesis 50:20]
Now, what about those people who “act” differently than they really are? Honestly, we’re probably all like that at some point in time. I know there have been times when I’ve plastered on a smile when it wasn’t really sincere. However, this goes a bit farther than that. This deals with the heart and character of someone. Are you truly living for our Creator? God knows the heart when we can only see the actions.
“Then he said to them, ‘You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts. What this world honors is detestable in the sight of God.'” [Luke 16:15]
Yet, if I’m typing this, I must examine myself…my actions…my heart. I admit there are days when my flesh overpowers my desire to be like Christ. I’ve uttered words to myself and to close friends that so and so was this or that BUT they do this which really irks me. We all do it, BUT we shouldn’t…or at least we shouldn’t allow it to make a positive into a negative. The other flip is fine. The other flip allows me to take the complaints I have and realize that it’s not about me.
Yes, I complain, BUT I must realize that God is in control and He will work all things together for good.
Yes, people may irritate me at times and I may want to vent, BUT God is their creator just as He is mine…so should I really badmouth His creation?
The following “but God” reminds me of my shortcomings, BUT also the truth of God’s power.
“But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of His great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in Him and have eternal life.” [1 Timothy 1:16]
So, there’s your challenge from “Miss P’s Ponderings”. Be careful how you use “but” in your daily dialogue with others. Feel free to use it to overpower the negative and transform them to positive, BUT tread carefully when you are sharing positives. If you throw a BUT at the end, all the positive disappears.
Have a great day…live it for the One who was willing to die for you.