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How to Get Over Your Big But

Some of you have big buts (the one “t” variety, not the other kind). By that, I mean you live in constant emotional and relational tension because you live in the land of but.


  • I know I’m supposed to forgive my spouse, but . . .
  • I know my BFF didn’t mean to be a jerk, but . . .
  • I know my dad didn’t intend to hurt me, but . . .
  • I know my spouse isn’t perfect, but . . .
  • I know my son is trying to change, but . . .
  • I know my boss didn’t mean to wound me, but . . .


Sadly, you’ve created a “yeah, but” world that is killing you. It’s robbing you of joy and creating unnecessary tension in your relationships. Worst of all, it’s setting you up to love conditionally.


The second you add a “but,” you add a condition or an excuse. You are saying to others, “I know the right thing to do, but my choice to do the right thing is subject to your choice to do the right thing.” You rationalize your half-hearted love and acceptance of others based on their actions.


Did you know that Jesus expects (demands, actually) that you love others as He loves you (John 15:12)? And His love for you is unconditional and never based on your performance.


Guess what? That means if you love like Jesus loves then your love for others is not dependent on the circumstances, their competence or worthiness, or your emotions. There’s no, “I love you, but . . . .”


Why does this matter so much? Because God knows that radical and unconditional love changes people. When a person knows, deeply knows, they are valued for who they are no matter what they do, they are inspired to respond to that love in kind. Love without strings attached motivates them to want to honor that selfless love. But to be clear, even if your love doesn’t change them, you love. Period. End of story.


So, drop the but and love others as the Father loves you.



Let’s flip this around. Sometimes we say “yeah, but” to God.


  • I know I’m forgiven, but . . .
  • I know You have a plan for my life, but . . .
  • I know You love me, but . . .


Essentially, you say to God, “I believe in You, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to make it to heaven, but I’m not sure how You truly feel about me right now.” And this tension in your soul grows with every failure. “I know I’m loved, but . . . .”


Maybe it’s time to drop the but with God too.


To live in the joy of His grace and the freedom of His love means you accept and revel in His unstoppable, unconditional, and unrelenting affection for you. There is nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less than He already does. Absolutely nothing.


The only time it’s acceptable to use but is when that word is followed by the word, God.


  • I know I’m not perfect yet, but God . . .
  • I know my past is littered with failure, but God . . .
  • I know I’m prone to wander, but God . . .
  • I know I don’t deserve the blessings of Jesus in my life, but God . . .


When you remove the big buts from your relationship with God and your relationships with others, everything changes because you change.


So, does my sin make my but look big?


Yep, but thankfully Jesus is bigger than any but.


“But God, being rich in mercy,

because of the great love with

which he loved us,

even when we were dead in our trespasses,

made us alive together with Christ—

by grace you have been saved.”

Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV


Kurt Bubna

Kurt W. Bubna has published seven books, is an internationally recognized blogger, conference and retreat speaker, as well as an experienced life and leadership coach. Bubna has over forty years of experience working with individuals, teams, and a wide variety of business and non-profit organizations.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Diane Hunter

    Great message. I love the way you put things,it all make more sense.

    Love you,

    1. KurtBubna

      Thanks, Diane. Hope you have an awesome Jesus-filled day!

  2. Ginny

    Yea, but I’m old!

    1. KurtBubna

      But…I still love you! 🙂

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