I recently received a devotional email written by Chuck Swinoll regarding our use of the word can't when what we really mean is won't. Shortly thereafter I was reading one of Chuck's devotional books & once again came across this subject. I find it quite thought provoking.
Chuck writes ...
"Can't & won't. Christians need to be very careful which of these words they choose."
He then goes on to list a few examples similar to these ...
"I can't stop eating chocolate."
"I can't find time to read my Bible."
"I can't forgive my sister for how she treated me."
"I can't stop buying pretty handbags."
Chuck continues ...
"Any Christian who takes the Bible seriously will have to confess the word here really should be won't. Why? Because we've been given the power, the ability to overcome. Literally! One of the best books I've read ... is ... by two physicians, Minirth & Meier ... [who] agree that ...
'As psychiatrists, we cringe whenever Christian patients use the word can't. Any good psychiatrist knows that I can't &
I've tried are merely lame excuses. We insist that our patients be honest with themselves & use language that expresses the reality of the situation. So we have our patients change their can'ts to won'ts. If an individual changes his can'ts to won'ts, he stops avoiding the truth, quits deceiving himself, & starts living in reality.'"
Applying this to the examples I gave above, they would more appropriately be stated ...
"I won't stop eating chocolate."
"I won't find time to read my Bible."
"I won't forgive my sister for how she treated me."
"I won't stop buying pretty handbags."
Chuck goes on to say ...
"Non-Christians have every right & reason to use can't, because they really can't! But [Christians]? Let's face it ... we don't because we won't. We disobey because we want to, not because we have to ... because we choose to, not because we're forced to.
If there's a won't in your life that you've been calling a can't, talk it over now with God."
Reading Chuck's take on these two words has really made me more sensitive to what I write, say, & think. If I find myself indicating that I can't do something, I immediately stop & think ... can't I, or won't I? I anticipate that my life is going to change quite a bit because of this! If you choose to become aware of your own use of these two words, I'm sure your life will change as well : )