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Jesus Will Put You In Your Place
by Bro. Clifford Hurst
1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417
In my personal notes I have begun a list of sayings I detest. These are ubiquitous modern clichés one keeps running into in conversations. I think on the top of my list is "It is what it is." My reasons of disliking it? I believe it expresses nihilism, acceptance, and apathy: First, "It is what it is," to me, smacks of nihilism in that it conveys that what happens in our existence is meaningless, and we just might as well jettison any beliefs that try to make sense out of what happens. At one time, folks believed existence is what Providence decreed or permitted. Now existence is believed to be what happens by random fate. Secondly, the statement implies acceptance, or more pointedly, resignation. "It is what it is," is used, when stating the obvious, to imply helplessness. The expression is saying, "This is the situation and nothing could have or can be done about it." "Live with it." This excludes a God that can intervene. It voids a belief that things can be other than what they are, that they can be altered. It also implies that nothing could have been done differently for things to have turned out differently. One is to just accept the hand life has dealt him. What secular determinism this is! Finally, "It is what it is" expresses apathy. Things have meaninglessly happened, and there is nothing to be done about them; so why care? Why should I be moved by, concerned about, affected by, or emotionally invested in trying to do anything about "what is"? Much time could be spent contrasting the phrase, "It is what it is," with the teaching and tone of the Truth of Scripture. However, let's just lay one Biblical expression next to "It is what it is"--"The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord" (Psa. 37:23). Contrast those two statements. If you think that I am making too much of or misunderstanding the popular idiom "It is what it is," my response is, "It is what it is."