You’ve heard it before. That word. You may have heard it from your teenager, your child, a co-worker, or even your spouse. Perhaps you have used it in the past or use it on a regular basis. And, you know, the word cannot just be spoken alone. There must be rolling of eyes, perhaps a hand gesture, or even someone walking away from you.
It is a word that clearly says, “I really don’t care about what you are saying and you can’t make me care!”
If you are like me, it is a word that sucks every bit of life from me. Especially when it comes from someone that I love. I want to shake them and say, “Why don’t you care?” “Am I really that unimportant to you?” “You need an attitude adjustment!” Now, I may not have tons of wisdom, but I do have some. Please give me that much!
Regardless of their reason for saying that word, my feelings get hurt, I feel as if I have no value, or it makes me angry. So why can that one little word mean so much? I believe it is because it is the final word.
The apostle Paul gives us an alternative use for this word that may help when we are in this situation. Philippians 4:8-9 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Puts “whatever” into a completely different light doesn’t it?
When we are faced with a situation where the conversation ends with “whatever,” think about the things God wants us to think about. What is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. These thoughts will fill us with life! Abundant life! They will restore us so that we might be able to move on with our day.
And what does God promise? Peace. Peace in an otherwise hostile situation. Isn’t it wonderful how God knows exactly what we need? How He knew 2,000 years ago that that one little word, “whatever,” would take on a different meaning and supplied a way for us to react to it. I can now thank God for the “whatever’s” in my life and rejoice that I can use that very same word in a positive way. Whatever!
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,