Often, when someone offers an objection to a particular activity, the immediate response is, “What’s wrong with that, doing that never hurt me!” Over time this question has become a standard method for determining whether something is acceptable. If one can’t see anything wrong with doing something, then it must be okay. However, using this question as a guideline is not a reliable standard uponwhich to base decisions. Families lead busy, hectic lives. Decisions about what should or shouldn’t be done are often made on the run. For example, a decision about which movie to rent tonight might be asked and answered via cell phones as mom travels between a doctor’s appointment and an after school soccer match. The criteria most likely will be, “Is there anything wrong or bad about the movie?” No one seems to recall anything bad about this one, so the decision is made – Mom will pick up the movie after the soccer match just before she goes to the pizza place to pick up dinner.
However, there is a more important question to be asked than what is wrong with ________? Even though it is good to determine if there are negative influences–is an activity safe, does someone else we know have any problems with the activity, etc.–there is still another vital factor to consider.
In addition to asking what is wrong with _______? we must also ask what is right with________?
In the last post, I suggested using Philippians 4:8-9 as a guide for thinking about what to do. The practice of using excellent things as a benchmark for evaluating activities has become a lost art. The Christian life is much more than avoiding negative things. It is primarily about engaging in thoughts and activities that bring honor to God–things that enhance His reputation here on earth. As Christians and as members of Christian families our focus should be on pursuing the honor of God in all we do, rather than simply attempting to avoid negatives. Look at Colossians 3:17 in this light:
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
All is to be done in the name of Christ. This includes more than just deciding if there is anything wrong with things we consider doing. Doing things in the name of the Lord Jesus means a vigorous pursuit of Philippians 4:8-9. The apostle Paul typically chooses carefully which name for Christ to use in each particular context. Here in Colossians, he purposefully states that we should do all in the name of the Lord Jesus. By including Lord in his designation of Jesus, he calls attention to the reality that Jesus Christ is Lord of your life. This adds more weight to doing things with excellence for God. Asking only what is wrong with _______, misses the opportunity to do something really excellent for Christ. A number of years ago, there was a popular movie that used the word excellent! as a standard response to something done well. The comment was humorous in the movie, but what if it were used in a different context? Wouldn’t it be a life-changing practice to be able to say excellent! in response to the efforts of our family members, acknowledging that they were doing all they could to honor the Lord Jesus?
Asking what is right with ___________? could be a life changer for your family. Hectic schedules and a survival mentality push us to find the quickest way to resolve the daily stream of opportunities. The quickest way is often found by asking what is wrong with _____? God calls you to more and better than that. He wants you to ask what is right with _________? Yes, it will take more time. But your answers will bring joy and purpose to your actions. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, focus your thinking on these things. That will allow you to do all that you do in the name of your Lord, Jesus Christ!