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The "Yes-but" Disease

"Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.'"1

In his weekly Character Counts series, Michael Josephson wrote, "Years ago I was talking to a group of Army generals about the way politicians often treat the defense budget as an all-purpose public works fund to help bring money into their districts. One general admitted, 'Yes, if the chairman of the Appropriations Committee comes from a place that makes trucks, we're probably going to buy those trucks. That's the way it is, the way it always was, and the way it always will be.'

"I suggested that it was a form of bribery to buy the trucks just to please the politician. The general barked, 'It's not bribery. It's extortion!'

"'Don't sound so powerless,' I replied. 'You're a GENERAL!'

"Without skipping a beat, he answered, 'Yeah, but I'm only a one-star.'"2

How many times do you and I make the "Yeah, but…" excuse to avoid personal responsibility? And how many times do we try to make it sound like we are agreeing with someone by saying, "Yes, but …" when all the time we are meaning "No"?

It's a thought worth pondering … and a practice worth dropping.

As Edward Everett Hale said, "It's true I am only one, but I am one. And the fact that I can't do everything will not prevent me from doing what I can do."

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please deliver me from the 'yes, but' disease and help me to become an ethical, responsible person remembering that character does count. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Matthew 5:37 (NIV).
2. Michael Josephson, "I'm Only a One-Star," Character Counts, 384.4.


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.