1 John 3:3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
“Why not?” – and the ‘skunk factor’!
This is another question that we might frequently ask or hear asked of us. It is in response to someone questioning what another is doing or about to do. Sometimes it refers to innocuous things but at other times it is used in defense of questionable or unwise actions – the nature of which we may be blind to.
We want to do something and are told we can’t. How many times in such situations have we heard, in response to our ‘why not?’ because you have homework to do; you have to clean your room; you have to mow the lawn; it’s your turn to drive the kids, it’s dinner time… These are instances where we’ve simply forgotten or want to forget responsibilities that we have.
But there are situations where asking ‘Why not?’ can be used as a defensive barrier to allow behavior that is questionable, unwise or wrong. Consider these questions asked by someone of us – or by our conscience:
- Is s/he someone you should be hanging out with?
- Is that a program you should be watching?
- Should you be visiting that website?
- Is that something you should be doing?
- Why are you doing that?
- Why are you coming home so late?
- Should you be wearing that outfit?
- Why would you take that from your employer?
- Should you be reading that?
- Should you be talking like that?
- Should you be listening to that?
The other night I woke up several times and the phrase “Why not?” was center in my mind. I alternated between being asleep and awake praying for perspective and insight. Then, just before I woke up I had the clearest, shortest dream – and it startled me.
In my dream I was outside with Snuggles our pekingese and she saw a little black creature with some white stripes come out the bushes and she took off to meet it. I immediately recognized it for what it was and called her to me. She immediately stopped and came back. I did not want Snuggles to be sprayed by a skunk. I then woke up. I was startled by the clarity of the dream (I never remember what I dream) and immediately connected the ‘skunk factor’ to “Why not?”
Think about it, assuming the animal isn’t rabid – we aren’t afraid of being bitten by a skunk. It’s the smell we don’t want anything to do with. Associate with a skunk – and you will smell like one. We recognize the ‘danger’ immediately upon seeing a skunk nearby and avoid it.
The question for us is, “If we are honest, how many of our activities have what we could call a ‘skunk factor’”? They will contaminate us just as surely as messing with a skunk would. Let us pray to have our eyes opened so that we may purify ourselves of any such activities in our lives.