The Voice of The Salvation Army in Canada and BermudaView RSS Feed
May14ThuAnd other “Christian” clichés we should stop saying. May 14, 2015 by Captain Scott Strissel
Before diving in to this list of four things Christians should stop saying, let me set the record straight—I am not bashing Christians or Christianity. The phrases below (and many more) have already done enough damage. Millennials want authenticity when it comes to the topic of spirituality and faith. Pumping out cliché after cliché will not help bring your genuine faith into focus; it will only make it harder for others to accept. I'm pretty sure none of us want to be labelled a phony, but we could probably name some along the way through various experiences. That being said, let's stop “playing” church and start living for Christ. Let's stop harping on other people and start focusing on our own issues.
- Filed Under:
- Opinion & Critical Thought
1. God doesn't give us more than we can handle.
Does God really give us problems in life? Sure, he can send us to some very difficult places like he did with the Apostle Paul and the other disciples, but does he really afflict us with “stuff”? Is that what this phrase is all about? The fact of the matter is that life, especially a Christ-follower's life, will be difficult from time to time. The Apostle Paul doesn't say, “Hey guys, things are going great and God hasn't given me more than I can handle.” No! He talks a lot about finishing the race, perseverance, persistence and difficulties. Next time you think about uttering this phrase, please think it through. Perhaps life has thrown curveballs at us now and again, but God can provide us the strength to make it through. Sometimes life is more than we can handle, so don't “sell” something that isn't always true.
2. God helps those who help themselves.
This phrase is my number 1 pet peeve. Christians sometimes fire this verbal artillery shell toward people who are poor, or seem lazy and unwilling to work. I find this phrase detestable when used in this fashion. It's judgmental, ignorant and wrong. Try looking for this phrase in the Bible—it's not there. It was made famous by Benjamin Franklin's book Poor Richard's Almanac in 1757, but has been attributed to Algernon Sydney in 1698. The truth is, God does help those who can't help themselves. After all, isn't that what Christ demonstrated in his death on the cross? “While we were still sinners [helpless], Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Jesus often took pity on those who could not help themselves. If we are to emulate Christ in every way, shouldn't we do likewise, and ditch this erroneous “Christian” phrase?
3. Name it and claim it.
“If you pray and believe hard enough, that new [fill in the blank] can be yours—you just need to name it and claim it.” No! This philosophy is just flat out wrong. Jesus did say, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20), but the “name it and claim it” philosophy takes this passage completely out of context.
What is the purpose behind our faith and our convictions? Is it to please God? Is it to do his will? Or is it so we can have lots of money to afford nice stuff? There's nothing inherently wrong with money, but if it becomes the thing we worship and we start “naming and claiming” things just to get what we want, then we have lost sight of God. Stop naming and claiming stuff. It's not about stuff. It never was.
4. Everything happens for a reason.
This is another instance of misquoting Scripture. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2). This phrase sometimes goes right along with, “God won't give you more than you can handle” as an explanation for when it does become more than you can handle. Just chalk it all up to “everything happens for a reason,” or “maybe it just wasn't God's will.”
The truth is that sometimes life has no rhyme or reason. Sometimes things just happen and it wasn't in God's plan. I don't want to get too theological, but I don't believe everything is 100 percent controlled by God. This is where free will comes in. This is where life comes in. Unfortunately, bad things happen to good people and vice versa. I find it extremely difficult to say that it was all according to God's plan, or that “everything happened for a reason.” Of course, God can make something beautiful out of horrible situations, but that's different than attributing it to God. Sometimes there just isn't a good reason.
These are four phrases I think Christians should stop saying. Our credibility depends on it. Are there others you would add to this list? Feel free to include them in the comments below.
Captain Scott Strissel lives in Brainerd, Minnesota. He is an active blogger and contributor for the purpose of encouraging and challenging the Salvation Army world. Read his blog at pastorsponderings.org.