Doesn’t that word just infuriate you? It does me because it’s typically used alongside an I-don’t-care attitude and/or the rolling of the eyes.
- What do you want for dinner? Whatever.
- What would you like to do? Whatever.
- I think this would be a good idea. Whatever.
- No, I really mean it. Whatever.
Grrrr! It’s enough to make my red hair stand on end even though I know I’m often guilty of having a “whatever attitude” myself. After all, it’s easy. It requires no effort or concentration to say, “Whatever.” And so many times, we use the word to express an attitude that would ordinarily get us into trouble, but because we can excuse the word’s meaning, the attitude is left unchallenged. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard kids use it with their parents. In fact, it’s become trendy and cool. If you don’t care, don’t want to care or want to show disrespect without being too direct, just say, “Whatever!”
The apostle Paul had a “whatever attitude.” Did you know that? Fortunately, his “whatever attitude” was a good thing. Where we use “whatever” as a sign of disrespect or disinterest, he used it in the exact opposite way. Take a look at some of the ways Paul portrayed his “whatever attitude.”
Whatever happens, we belong to the Lord. – Romans 14:8
Whatever is not of faith is sin. – Roman 14:23
Whatever the Bible says was written for our good so that we might have hope. – Romans 15:4
Whatever else claims to be a god, I know that there is one true God who created all things. – I Corinthians 8:5-6
Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. – I Corinthians 10:31, Colossians 3:17
Whatever your background, race, gender or status, Jesus saves! – I Corinthians 12:13
Whatever else may let you down, remember love never fails. – I Corinthians 13:8
Whatever life throws your way, remember it’s for your good. – II Corinthians 1:6
Whatever happens to my life, I know I am accepted of God. – II Corinthians 5:9
Whatever I do for Christ is noticed. – II Corinthians 5:10
Whatever anyone else may say, I will not betray my friends. – II Corinthians 8:23
Whatever a man sows, that’s what he’ll reap. – Galatians 6:7
Whatever good a man does, the same shall he receive from the Lord. – Ephesians 6:8
Whatever the cost, I will preach Jesus. – Philippians 1:18,20
Whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report, think about these things. – Philippians 4:8
Whatever happens, I will be content. – Philippians 4:11
Whatever exists was created by God and for God. – Colossians 1:16
Whatever you do, do your best and do it for the Lord. – Colossians 3:23
Whatever happens to this body before Christ returns, I am confident that I will live with him for eternity. – I Thessalonians 5:10
A bit of a difference, isn’t it? Paul’s “whatever attitude” is a reminder of what our attitudes should be. Instead of speaking the word in frustration, we should say “whatever” in faith, as in, “Whatever happens, I’m going to trust and praise God.”
We use the word as a signal of defeat, but Paul’s use demonstrated victory. Same word. Totally different applications and attitudes. Today we must make a choice of how we’re going to live our lives. Strangely, the answer will be the same either way–whatever. But which “whatever” will it be?