Although my blog is not a place for political opinions, there was one day during the recent campaign process I felt worthy of mentioning here. It was the day when both Presidential candidates were asked to name one good thing about each other. Those comments are the ‘but’ that I speak of now. In each of their cases, we all knew it meant “I am still going to destroy you and beat you but….” That one day made the whole horrible campaigning process a little more human, and therefore acceptable, to me.
Have you ever thought about the impact of that word? It’s just a little word. But. It holds so much power with what it implies—that there is still more that needs be said. Of course that which still needs to be said doesn’t necessarily have to be good, but what if we made a goal of adding a little ‘but’ toward the good?
Imagine, if you will, being in the heat of a disagreement with a loved one and throwing a “but I still love you”…in the middle, not two days later after each of your anger has festered and grown. It won’t stop the argument, but it will change the aftermath.
A perfect example would be a couple of days ago, when my husband attacked my blog, knowing how insecure I was about starting and writing it in the first place. What if he had said that little word…”but, I like your style of writing,” or “but I have enjoyed some of the pieces,” or better yet, “but I still support your dream.” Look at the world of difference a little ‘but’ could have made.
Too often, we use words as weapons. We outwardly sympathize with young kids who are being bullied, but do we stop to wonder where they are learning it? Kids hear and accept everything they hear from their parents, teachers, pastors, coaches as truth…and as an example to follow. Maybe if we try to alter our statements, our children will learn more compassion…be more accepting of those who don’t meet our personal expectations. “Yes, that sales clerk is not being very helpful but she may be having the worst day of her life—what if she just found out her dog is dying?” as opposed to, “That sales clerk is an idiot. I don’t know how she got this job when there are intelligent people who need one.” I have actually used that first one on my own children before. It allows me to get out my frustration, but not at the expense of another human being. Unfortunately, I have probably used the second example too, without even realizing it. So often we display intolerance without even considering the person at the receiving end.
So, try it…it is easier than you think. Add that but, and make something good out of it. Give grace, and grace will be returned to you.