But . . . .

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You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

These three letters can drive me absolutely nutty! It’s like a whole argument or excuse tied up in one tiny word. “But, Mommy they took my toy.”  “But, Mommy they hit me first,  they said I was mean, they told me I couldn’t be their friend anymore.” “But . . but . . but!” It is amazing how my children can use one little word to justify hitting someone, calling someone a name, snatching a toy, or breaking another other rule we have established in our home.  One day, recently, I had enough of the “buts” and pulled out the “but, nothing!” comment.  It was inevitable I know, but I try not to pull out those  traditional “mom” comments.

Later, as I reflected on the day I realized how often I am guilty of the “but” excuse. Not just with others, but with God. Even as adults we try to justify and explain actions and thoughts that we know don’t reflect the Kingdom of God.  “But, she started a rumor about me. But, he treated me unfairly. But, she lied to me. But, they promised. They betrayed my trust. But, I deserve it after all I did for them.” Do any of those statements sound familiar?

‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:18

“But”  is just a disclaimer we use that basically means I am accountable unless this happens, except for when, contrary to what you think.  There are no buts with God. No excuses. He calls us to forgive. To obey. To trust and to treat others as more important than ourselves. Ugh! This isn’t always easy. In fact, a lot of times it seems almost impossible. The only way it is possible is with the power, strength and love of the Holy Spirit.

Today I pray that the Lord will remove the “buts” and excuses from our hearts and fill us with forgiveness, gratitude, love and acceptance for ourselves and those around us.

“But, Nothing!” I just couldn’t resist saying it one more time.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:1


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