Why Not?

A friend of mine had the habit of replying to a why-type question with the words, “Why not?” I’d say, “Phil (not his real name), why don’t we have lunch together at the Greek restaurant on Friday?” His reply would likely be, “Why not?”

Now, that really isn’t an answer, though he used it as such. He meant, of course, “Sure, let’s do so.” But there is always something about those two words, used in that manner, that makes me uneasy. They cause me to wonder whether there is a full commitment on the part of the one uttering them.

Indirect answers such as this can get people off the hook if, when considered in the light of a subsequent problem, the persons making them refer to the fact that they never really said “Yes.” Now, Phil never used the phrase that way, or ever tried to back out of something he agreed to by calling attention to the fact that he never gave me a positive response. With him it simply had become a habitual, common expression. And, I confess, I’ve caught myself using it as well. It was just the uneasiness that it conjured up that made it a problem (a slight problem) for me.

Of course, there are people who will give you equivocal answers. Often on letters (or forms) of recommendation, you know that this is what happens. “You won’t believe how good a worker John is.” Or, “I can recommend him in the worst way!” are two facetious examples of what I’m talking about. Christians must make every attempt, when counseling or teaching biblical truth to be unequivocal. There is no place for fudging in Christianity. God is explicit; He is clear; He is emphatic! So should we be in presenting His truth.

“Are you sure that this is the thing to do?”

Why not?


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