We say many things over our lifetime without really giving thought to what we really mean by them. Christians are equally prone to using sound bites, phrases, and platitudes that may be well intentioned but they aren’t very helpful. In fact, they could be actually hurtful. Popular YouTuber Jefferson Bethke has published a video of ten things he believes Christians need to stop saying.
- “God will never give you more than you can handle”
The reality is that it’s actually the opposite because God continually gives us more than we can handle. The reason for this is so that we would lean on God as our good and gracious Father.
- “Everything happens for a reason”
Though technically correct, this statement can be terribly offensive and insensitive to people walking through profound seasons of pain and suffering. Christians need to learn the ministry of presence where sitting with someone who is hurting may be initially better than trying to offer a flippant explanation for that hurting.
- “Take 60 seconds and greet your neighbor”
This saying usually occurs during worship services and its intent is to make visitors feel welcome. Well, it probably does the opposite and can come across as forced and awkward. Of course loving our neighbor is important, but it’s better done in other settings where relationships are developed more naturally.
- “I covet your prayers”
Can’t we just say “I need your prayers” or “I want your prayers”? It’s weird to use a biblical term that is normally treated as a sin as if we are “lusting” after someone’s prayers. That is just creepy and weird.
- “You must have the gift of singleness”
This is probably the last thing someone wants to hear who is unmarried. A single person may not want the gift and in fact may be looking for a receipt in order to return it.
- “I need to love on some kids”
This saying may be the most awkward one on the list and it’s usually stated by student pastors who desire to invest in the lives of students. The only person Bethke wants loving “on” him is his wife Alyssa.
- “Let me pray about it”
Obviously, praying about something or someone are always a good thing, but not when prayer is used because we have a hard time saying “no” to something. It’s far better to be truthful than to hide behind biblical terms or phrases. If you don’t want to do something or feel apprehensive about a situation then state it openly.
- “Jesus is my co-pilot”
This phrase is borderline heresy. Jesus is the sole pilot and we are way back in the cabin area of the plane. Without the pilot, we die.Therefore, we are wise to heed to God’s goodness and wisdom as He directs our lives.
- “God helps those who help themselves”
This phrase is especially popular in America where we pride ourselves on personal autonomy and independence. In actuality, God gives grace to the humble, and He is eager to help those who realize that they are actually helpless apart from Him.
- “You just need to forgive yourself”
Nobody likes living in shame over sinful actions they have committed, and well-meaning friends may exhort that person that it’s important to forgive oneself in order to move on. What is far better is realizing that God in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection has already forgiven yo. His forgiveness is the one that ultimately matters! God is the highest authority, not you.
Are there any other phrases that you have heard or said that may not be quite right or helpful?