Strikes me as funny, in an ironic way. I got to parse the next section of Paul’s letter to the Philippians and ran into this word so commonplace today as to be nearly meaningless. “Whatever…” Paul starts off. Now if we were to use that it would be to end a thought, to close a conversation, to dismiss the previous topic or to indicate at least that we condescendingly find it dismissive.
But Paul means it to be the opposite.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Phi 4:8-9 NIV)
Paul flips it to consideration of anything and everything that could be good and right.
Everything that we encounter in God’s creation, everyone of our fellow humans created in His image and bearing the divine spark, each moment ordained by a Sovereign to provide markers leading back to His frightful and wonderful grace...
What if we were to “think about such things?”
Think “whatever” as a conversation opener, as a window to inject the perspective of God and Kingdom reality into a dull and dismissive thought or situation. Flip it to whatever is true or noble or right, pure or lovely or admirable, turn it to whatever is excellent or praiseworthy.
Instead of – “whatever.” Period.
Think – “whatever is…”