We all have that one friend that consistently says cheesy Christians clichés. I think most of us would agree that this is typically, well, very annoying. This is intensified when the sayings aren’t biblical. The motive behind saying them are usually noble, but they often simply aren’t true or helpful.
So, what are some of them?
Below are six things that Christians should stop saying:
1) Let Go and let God. This phrase is typically used when in a trial. In a sense, I adore the “letting go” part if that means resting in God’s sovereignty, but when facing trials and tribulations, there are simply a lot of things that we can actually do. We can pray, study Scripture, confess sin, repent of sin, seek help from wise counsel, weep, mediate on Scripture, serve others, etc. “Letting go” has too much of a passive feel to it; it denotes that we do nothing. The truth is, it’s not so much that we should “let go and let God,” but that we should trust God and get going.
2) Christianity is not about a religion; it’s about a relationship. Admittedly, this one might be the most controversial on the list. I’ve heard many high-profile Reformed Christians who I love and respect use this expression many times. Their heart behind saying it, I think, is to remind people that legalism is evil, and that justification is by grace through faith, not by obeying rules. This is a good reminder, however, I don’t agree with the entire statement.
I agree with the second part of the statement: Christanity is about a relationship. This is true — gloriously true — but let’s not forget this fact: Christianity is a religion and Christians are those who are religious. We are religious not to earn God’s love, but because we already have it. The New Testament is filled with imperatives that God expects us to obey by the power of the Holy Spirit, and through grace-driven effort. Christianity is about a relationship and a religion; they go together. As Kevin DeYoung says, “It sounds really spiritual to say God is interested in a relationship, not in rules. But it’s not biblical. From top to bottom the Bible is filled with commands.”
3) God won’t give you more than you can handle. Not only is this not true, but I think the very opposite is true. Paul says, “For we do not what you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia . . . For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we received the sentence of death” (2 Cor. 1:8-9).
Utterly burdened beyond our strength.
We despaired of life itself.
We felt that we received the sentence of death.
To me, that sounds like more than Paul could handle. But why did God do this? Paul answers that in the second part of verse nine: “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” God gave Paul more than he could handle so that he could learn to rely on him.
4) I covet your prayers. How about we just use “love” or “appreciate” instead of covet? Is it really necessary to use an archaic term — that is actually described as sin — in expression of gratitude for something?
5) Jesus is my homeboy. Jesus calls us his friends (John 15:15). This is breathtakingly true — that the Holy Son of God would dare associate with us, that he considers us his friends — but saying “Jesus is my homeboy,” to me, is just so utterly irreverent. It lacks reverence, it lacks awe, it lacks amazement. Jared Wilson adds to this, saying, “Jesus is not your copilot. He’s in the driver’s seat. And you’re in the back, on a stretcher.”
6) God showed up. I get it: Something supernatural happened and you want to be sure to give God the glory, you want to emphasize the work that only he could do. But, friends, it’s impossible for God to merely show up because he is omni-present; he is already and always everywhere at all times. He is never missing, never absent. It’s impossible for him to not be somewhere.
We’re not called to be cool; we’re called to be clear. But being cheesy — and especially through unbiblical statements — is not the remedy. We can cause damage if we flippantly give counsel just because it sounds spiritual. By knowing what the Scriptures actually teach, and by learning from other wise Christians, we can develop habits of saying things that aren’t off-putting and cheesy, but are actually encouraging and up-lifting.
Would you add any other phrases to this list? Post your comments below.