What’s right with that?

Posted on · Posted in Wisdom, Worldview

“What’s wrong with that?”

This question has become a standard method for determining whether a particular action is acceptable. If you can’t see anything wrong with doing something, then it must be okay. However, using this question as a guideline is not a wise way to make 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 stream tonight might be asked and answered via texts 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.

However, there is a more important question to be asked than what is “wrong with that?” 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 another more important question to consider. You must also ask, “what is right with that?” 

Philippians 4:8-9 is a wise guide for thinking about what to do. The practice of using excellence as a benchmark for evaluating activities has become a lost art. The Christian life is much more than avoiding negative things. We should be driven to do good things. We should be engaging in thoughts and activities that bring honor to God – things that enhance His reputation here on earth. Our focus should be on pursuing the honor of God in all we do, rather than simply avoiding 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; thinking God’s thoughts after him! Asking only “what is wrong with that,” minimizes the opportunity to do something excellent for Christ.

Asking what is right with that 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 decisions of life. The quickest way is often found by asking “what is wrong with that.”  God calls you to more and better than that. He wants you to ask what is right. 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. This will encourage you to do all that you do in the name of your Lord, Jesus Christ!

Find delight in asking what is right!

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.