What do people mean when they answer with … “whatever”? Anyone who hears you say it knows you don’t give a hoot about any decision that needs to be made. The problem is not the word itself. The problem is that any time the word is used it means you are not making a choice — and life is all about small choices. Seemingly small decisions are a part of each and every day, and it is easy to ignore them. When the word “whatever” is used as a reply, you are simply not making a decision.
What is a person really thinking when he/she uses the “whatever” word?

  • I don’t care.
  • You make the decision for me; I will blame you later.
  • If I knew the answer, I would tell you. So leave me alone.
  • I am not listening.
  • Of all the options presented, none are good, but I’ll make you suffer anyway.
  • I am really angry and will hold you responsible for any decision you make for me.
  • I don’t have an opinion so I will fill the air with this useless word.
  • I am resigned to being a victim.

The “whatever” word is also sometimes used as a “fronting” tactic by criminals.  In this case, people use the word to imply they don’t care one way or the other, but they’re actually manipulating that person.  They’re saying they’ll go along with you on this, but then you’re going to owe them big time.  They’re playing a role, doing something they don’t really want to do in order to bank a favor, to get something back later in return.

From another viewpoint, the “whatever” word takes away responsibility for an action. It wasn’t their idea, it wasn’t their decision, they’re just going along for the ride.  If it all goes south and the law gets involved - it wasn’t their fault. 

 “Whatever” doesn’t work with God. We don’t get an opportunity for “fronting” with Him, and we won’t be able to shirk responsibility when we get caught.  He alone makes the rules and determines truth.  He requires a definite decision from us one way or the other, and there are only two options.   Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed may live.”

1. Why won’t the “whatever” answer work with God?

2. When faced with a decision, your choices aren’t just selecting one option or another. The third dimension of decision-making is saying “whatever” and refusing to select either one – which is actually making a decision.

3. According to Deuteronomy 30:19, what are our two choices?

4. The phrase "I call heaven and earth to record against you" means: (vs. 19)
  No one will ever know the choices you make.
  I ask heaven and earth to be witnesses.
  I ask heaven and earth to bless you.
  None of the above.

5. What is the five-fold benefit of making the right choices? (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
  c) (vs. 20b)
  d) (vs. 20c)
  e) (vs. 20e)

6. Joshua gives us a very good example of making good choices.  Read Joshua 24:14-18. What four things did Joshua tell people they must do, in order to serve the Lord in sincerity and in truth?
  c) (vs. 14c)
  d) (vs. 14d)

7. When Joshua gave them two choices, did the people answer with “whatever”?
  How did they answer?

8. What reasons did the people give for making that choice? (vs. 17-18)

9. Now there is actually an instance in scripture where the Apostle Paul in effect said, “Whatever,” and it’s a good example of a person being totally submitted to God’s will. Read Philippians 1:20-25.
  a)  What were the two possibilities that might occur in Paul’s life at that time?
  b) Paul knew that the Lord was in control of all events including his imprisonment, so either way he
  c) Although we might see death as a negative, Paul believed his death would be a positive in two ways.
    i) His death for the cause of Christ would glorify
    ii) If he died, he knew he would to be in the immediate presence of

10. How would you counsel a person who habitually uses the “Whatever” response?

Continue to Chapter 7

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