Worse Than a Four-Letter Word

Why do they call cuss words four-letter words?  I mean, not all cuss words are four-letter words.  A lot of them, sure, but not all.  Besides a lot of good words in the English language are four-letter words.  For example, "good" is a four-letter word, as is "four" and "word".  Am I the only one baffled by this terminology?

I guess it doesn't really matter right now though because the word I want to discuss is a three-letter word.  But be warned!  This three-letter word is dangerous.  It can wreak havoc in your life.  And unfortunately, it's used too frequently in the nasty now and now.  Okay, I'm about to tell you what it is, but before I do you may want to plug your child's ears (or perhaps the dog's).  I don't want to be a bad influence.

Ready?  The word is "but".  Yep, that's it.  It looks innocent enough, doesn't it?  Just a common little conjunction.  What harm could it possible do?  Read the following examples, and see if you can figure it out:

I know smoking is bad for me, but it makes me feel better, at least temporarily.
I know I shouldn't eat this piece of chocolate cake, but I've had a hard day.
I know this isn't the best decision, but I'm honestly just tired of trying to figure it out.
I know God's promises are true, but I really don't see Him working in this situation.
I know I have a loving wife at home, but my secretary really understands me.
I know I should read my Bible more, but I just don't have the time.

Whether the situation be big or small, the word "but" seems to somehow make our excuses permissible.  We know what's right, but we still do what's wrong.  And for some reason, we act like it's okay because we do know better.  How messed up is that?  It's not better; it's worse.  The Bible says so in James 4:17, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin."  It doesn't get any clearer.  If we know to do right, and we don't do it, we're sinning against God.  No "ifs", "ands", and especially no "buts".

The Lord brought this to my attention a few weeks ago, and I've not been able to shake the lesson.  Every time I catch myself using the word "but", I force myself to go back and examine the sentence.  More times than not, I've found that I use the word to justify my fleshly desires.  Then I have to seek forgiveness and proceed with my day, doing those things that I should do and not the things that I shouldn't.  It's convicting, there's no doubt about it.  But at the same time, I feel like a new person.  I feel like I have more control over my thoughts and attitudes.  Why?  Because I'm not excusing them anymore.  I'm dealing with them appropriately.  It's actually quite refreshing.

Yes, we must watch out for those four-letter words, but some of those three-letter varieties will get us in just as much trouble.  Remember the old children's song, "Oh be careful, little mouth, what you say"?  Might it be time for us to practice what we preach?

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go walk (another four-letter word) my dogs.  I would say I'm looking forward to it, but. . .well, never mind.