Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Watching My But

Ever think about the difference between “and” and “but”?

I am training myself to become acutely aware of how and when I use those two words, because I find it can reveal what I really believe about a situation.

Consider this…the word “and” carries no judgment. It simply means in addition. When it joins two clauses, it makes no statement about one or the other. It simply states fact. Yesterday I ate vegetables, and I also ate a cheeseburger. There are no opinions, judgments, or values in that statement—just an account of the facts.

BUT, the word “but” changes the meaning and intent of the statement. Yesterday I ate vegetables, but I also ate a cheeseburger. “But” implies contradiction, exception, opposition. Now you are implying that although you ate healthy food, you may have negated it by eating that cheeseburger. See the difference?

So why is that important? “And” and “but” reveal what’s really going on in our thought or belief system. It’s subtle. I’d rather say, I believe God is faithful, and I don’t know how I’m going to pay this bill, than I believe God is faithful, but I don’t know I’m going to pay this bill. The former sounds odd to us, but it’s merely a statement of fact. I believe God, AND I need to pay a bill. The second statement, however, is really saying, I don’t really, fully believe God.

I’m learning to watch my “buts”. Can I replace it with an “and”? Or perhaps turn it around? I don’t know how I am going to pay this bill, but I believe God is faithful.

What are your “ands” and “buts” exposing? The Israelite spies came back to Moses with this report after exploring the Promised Land: “It does indeed flow with milk and honey, and the fruit is juicy and luscious; but (not and) there are giants in the land” (paraphrase). And therein was their defeat.


  1. Good morning Kate! I want you to know that this is the first time that I have even posted a comment to a blog yet alone started my own blog. This is great! Thanks for sharing your world with me. This is very uplifting, even through all of the turmoil in the world, in our own lives; we can see the ray of Hope in the world and yes, God is still in the business of doing miracles both big and small. Lord may I have your eyes that I might see!
    Blessings to you and your family Kate!

    Love you,

    Becky Custer

  2. This is a gem of precious worth... so is its author!!!

  3. Hi Kate!
    Wow! Your sharing on "and" and "but" is very enlightening and thought provoking. I'm going to try to pay more attention to my thinking and speaking in this way also because I agree, it can be very revealing about what we believe.
    Thanks for pointing this out!

  4. Kate,
    It was a boring title - but a really great article!
    or should I say - It was a boring title AND a really great article.
    - helen knueven