Question:

Is it wrong to wish someone good luck?


Answer:

Events in our lives do happen at times by chance. "I returned and saw under the sun that -- the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all" (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Solomon's point is that very little is completely in a person's hands to control. You can be the absolute best at something and still a random misfortune can bring you down. Therefore, wishing that those random events treat someone well is not out of line.

That said, I fear that too many use "good luck" as a neutral blessing. Because of societal pressure we tend to avoid stating our belief that there is One who can control all events and can even take bad situations to turn them into something marvelous. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). Boaz demonstrated strong belief in God, even in his casual greetings. "Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, "The LORD be with you!" And they answered him, "The LORD bless you!"" (Ruth 2:4). Paul commonly ended his letters with a blessing:

  • "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all" (Romans 16:24; Philippians 4:23; I Thessalonians 5:28; II Thessalonians 3:18).
  • "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus" (I Corinthians 16:23-24).
  • "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all" (II Corinthians 13:14).
  • "The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you" (II Timothy 4:22).

Such are superior blessings because they acknowledge God and His power in each person's life.

But even here, we can't turn a phrase like "God be with you" into an idle way to end a conversation. "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds" (II John 10-11). To wish blessings on someone who is openly doing wrong or advocating sin is to help promote sin.