If I could remove a word from our vocabulary, I think it would be this: "but".
James and I discovered the poison of the word "but" last summer after one of our disagreements. We had had an argument, taken a little breathing time, and had come back together to appologize. It went something like: "I'm sorry, but I just didn't have the time."
What we discovered was that "I'm sorry" followed by the word "but" doesn't really feel like an apology. It says something more like "I'm sorry you were so wrong" or "I'm sorry I am still right". Really saying your sorry means you're sorry, period.
You'd be surprised how easy it is to add the word "but" into your sentences. "I'd love to but..." "I wanted to but..." It seems to make what you're saying disingenuious. Let's take the "but" out and get down to what we we're really trying to say.
This all came to mind again yesterday while I was in the Book of Luke, in the New Testament. Jesus calls to two different men to come and follow him. The first says he will, but just let him go bury his father (an expression meaning to look after aged parents until their death). The second says he will, but first let him go and say goodbye to his family at home. Both men have included "buts", or conditions, of their following Jesus. Jesus' response: "No man, having put his hand to the plough and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
How many times have I said "Lord I will, but..."? How many times have I dedicated and re-dedicated myself to Him, only to look back? I can't stand to feel discouragement, and so I try to remind myself that He will forgive my weaknesses as many times as I put myself back on the road. And yet every day seems filled with "buts". I only hope that this new awareness stays with me, so that the next time those three letters start to escape my lips, I can catch myself and just do it, no ifs, ands, or buts.