We have all experienced (or said) the dreaded “Yes, but…” statement. I like to refer to such statements as ones that superficially validate what was said but, ultimately lower the boom by revealing the true sentiment of the speaker. In schools, these statements sound like this.
· “Yes, I can see your point of view, but I think…”
· “Yes, I know my child made the wrong choice, but…”
· “Yes, I know you feel over-extended, but…”
· “Yes, I recognize you have a problem, but…”
Most communication experts recommend an easy fix to “Yes, but…” statements. Simply replace the word “but” with “and”. Reread the statements above and see the striking difference for yourself. As Christians, we need to understand that “Yes, but…” statements can defeat us or be a source of encouragement. Let’s explore both of these possibilities.
We all know the power of our thought life. How many of us fill our minds with personal “Yes, but…” statements? Do those statements encourage you or leave you feeling defeated and disappointed? Let’s look at a few examples.
· “Yes, I know I am supposed to have victory over my sin, but I can’t seem to let go of __________.”
· “Yes, I am forgiven, but my past is so ugly.”
· “Yes, I know God loves me, but I am having trouble loving myself.”
· “Yes, I want others to see the light of Jesus through my life, but I am afraid of what others might think about me.”
What “Yes, but…” statements fill your mind each day? Have we become so accustomed to these self-defeating sentiments that we are unaware of the impact they have on our thought life? I wonder.
Put a stop to these type of “Yes, but…” statements by answering two key questions.
1. Who said that about you?
2. What does God say about it?
My guess is we can all answer question #1. Make no mistake. Satan is behind every self-deprecating thought you have about yourself. He wants to defeat you and steal your joy, and he will use any means necessary. Let’s put this to bed right now. God’s Word is clear about who is behind our negative “Yes, but…” thoughts.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10: 4-5
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. I Peter 5: 8-9
We can turn our anger and our rebuke toward Satan by replacing negative thoughts with the Word of God. What does God say about it? Let’s go back to the examples I mentioned above.
· "Yes, I can’t seem to let go of __________, but God’s Word says He will provide a way for me to overcome my temptations.”
No temptation has overtaken you except such as common to man, but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
I Corinthians 10:13
· “Yes, my past is so ugly, but God’s Word promises to make me as clean as if I have never sinned.”
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleans us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
· “Yes, I am having trouble loving myself, but God’s Word promises to change me every day.”
So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into His glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18
· “Yes, I am afraid of what others might think about me, but God’s Word says that I need to be a light in a dark world.”
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14
We all have a choice when it comes to facing Satan’s attack on our thoughts. Who are you going to believe?
As Christian educators, I think it is important to take this concept of “Yes, but…” one step further. Our thoughts about others—colleagues, students, parents, patrons—are important, too. When it comes to our workplaces, do we have some “Yes, but…” statements that need revised? Applying God’s Word to these thoughts can significantly impact any negative “Yes, but…” statements we may have.
· Old: “Yes, I know I am supposed to love all of my students, but some students are not lovable.”
New: “Yes, some students are not lovable, but God’s Word says He will give me His love so I can love others.”
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.
· Old: “Yes, our administrator wants us to implement the new reading program, but I want to teach my way.”
New: “Yes, I want to teach my way, but God’s Word says I am to respect and obey my leaders as long as His Word is not compromised.”
Consequently, whoever rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:2
· Old: “Yes, I know I am supposed to forgive, but I am tired of being mistreated by my teaching partner.”
New: “Yes, I am tired of being mistreated by my teaching partner, but God’s Word says I need to be forgiving because I am forgiven.”
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Colossians 3: 12-13
Changing our thought patterns isn’t easy, but we know it is possible because God’s Word says so. It doesn’t typically happen overnight though God can do anything! Regardless, based on what I have read in the Bible, I believe He wants us to engage with Him in this transformation! First, we have to be mindful of what our thought patterns are. Then we have to determine if alignment with God’s Word is needed. If we discover some change is needed in our “Yes, but…” statements, go back to our two questions.
1. Who said that about you?
2. What does God say about it?
When our “Yes, but…” statements become aligned with God’s Word, we change! “Yes, but…” statements can turn into statements of hope! Jesus did not come so we could live defeated lives. He came so we could live a victorious abundant life!
Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! I Corinthians 15:57