If you are like me, I have a pet peeve with “but sandwiches”. It is a sentence that says something positive before the “but” and then hammers you with a “negative” after the “but”. To get their point across and more likely to be received, many people “tee” up conversation by making another feel good then share what they really want to say after the “but”. When someone uses a “but” statement in our presence, Pam and I are very quick to call out “No ‘but sandwiches’ please”. People don’t want to be flattered when they know that behind the “but” is the speaker’s message. The speaker loses credibility with the listener if that style of communications is used often.
People are more likely to be received if they use assertive statements. Start a sentence with “I feel, I think, I want, I need…” followed by your message. “I” statements are called assertive statements. These statements simply give the speaker’s perspective or speaks to the issue. These are not statements that attack listeners or positions the statement as absolute authority.
Paul the Apostle did not use “but sandwiches”. He tells the Ephesians in 4:15 how to communicate, “Speak the truth in love.” Always have the basis of your statement to be love. In fact, if others know and respect that you have a sacrificial loving heart and have their interest foremost, no “but sandwiches” are ever needed.
I love that Matthew 5:37 says, “your statement is, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no.’” No “but sandwiches” needed. Consider these verses as you speak to others:
- Proverbs 21:23, One who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.
- Psalm 37:30, The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
- Proverbs 4:24, Rid yourself of a deceitful mouth and keep devious speech far from you. This verse precludes the use of “but sandwiches”. Your heart should have no deceit or deviousness before you speak. Words are uttered from a heart of love and purity.
- Psalm 34:13, Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.
Ask God to rescue your heart from flattery, deception, and lying especially before speaking:
- Psalm 120:2, Rescue my soul, Lord, from lying lips and a deceitful tongue.
- Psalm 78:36, They flattered Him with their mouth and lied to Him with their tongue.
- Resist the urge of “smooth and flattering speech deceiving the hearts of unsuspecting” (Romans 16:18).
Relationships are at the very cory of our faith…loving and caring for God first then others. Make sure to keep your heart in shape before you interface with others. Proverbs 4:23 tells us to “guard our hearts diligently for out of it flow the issues of life.” Fill your heart with Jesus and “but sentences” are not needed. “Speak the truth in love.”