What’s Wrong With the Phrase “Good Luck”?


A friend told me that ‘Good Luck‘ is not a phrase Christians should use, but I cannot understand why. I have been in the habit of saying “Good Luck!” much as one would say “Good bye” when someone is leaving, as though wishing them the best. What can be wrong with this?


The dictionary defines luck as “whatever happens to a person by chance; fortune, good fortune, success,” and in comment says: “luck stresses the operation of pure chance in producing a favorable result.”

The expression “Good Luck” seems to have come from the universal desire for good fortune, as a way of showing that one has good feelings toward others and wishes all to go well for them, especially in those factors of life that are beyond human control. As Christians this is the proper spirit; we are forbidden to wish ill upon anyone, even if they have wronged us. We are to “Repay no one evil for evil” (Rom. 12:17). All vengeance must be left to God. “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom. 12:19).

However, wishing another “good luck” falls short of the Christian ideal. It implies pure chance and does not recognize nor acknowledge the overruling will of God.

The true believer does not have to trust luck for good fortune, but can follow a divinely prescribed pattern of life which is known to bring about what is truly best. At the same time a true believer recognizes that that best is an evaluation from God’s broad perspective; it may or may not appear best at the moment, from a human point of view.

Trusting in luck comes perilously close to trusting that a false god, a god of fate, or a good luck charm has some unexplainable and uncontrollable power to bring good. Many ancient cultures worshiped gods of fortune and luck which of course brought them no benefit.

Christians do not live by any jurisdiction of “Lady Luck” but by faith in God who has promised to work all things together for the good of His children (Rom. 8:28).

“Luck” might be an appropriate term if one were trying to catch fish, or were hoping for good weather on a certain day, or wanting success in a temporal pursuit; though even here, God might overrule the elements of time and chance to teach His child a lesson, to save from danger, or to chasten or correct.

We believe firmly that the disposing of a Christian’s life is entirely in the hands of the Lord, not in the hands of luck or any forces of blind chance. For this reason, “good luck” is not very useful in the vocabulary of the Christian. For a general word of parting, it might be more appropriate to ask for the blessing of God and say “Good-bye,” meaning “The Lord be with you,” or the greeting used by the early Christians, “Maranatha!” meaning “The Lord is coming!”