In today’s culture of Tweets, Instagram, and texting, it is tempting to take Scripture out of context or deal with a situation in the Christian world by forming cliches. Unfortunately most “Christian” cliches are not Biblical. Here are 10 cliches I’ve heard often from Christians or in the pulpit that are simply not true.
God will never give you more than you can bear. This one comes a misquote of 1 Corinthians 10:13. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” The verse says that God never allows us to be tempted to sin beyond what we are able to resist without giving us a way of escape. It doesn’t say anything about difficulties.
John 16:33 would be a better verse to use. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We do sometimes face troubles we can’t bear, but in those troubles we can have peace in knowing that Christ has overcome everything. Without Him we can’t bear these trials, but if we trust in Him, He will give us peace in the midst of them.
The Holy Spirit is not Weird. This is one I’ve heard often, and it’s simply not true. Read about the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. The Holy Spirit came as a mighty rushing wind and cloven tongues of fire on each of their heads. Then they spoke in languages they didn’t know. I don’t know about you, but that sounds weird to me. Everything the Holy Spirit has done in my life has been weird. He is not bound by our rules of civility. He is God, and He is supernatural.
We don’t want to scare people into Heaven by preaching about Hell? Really? Is this Biblical? Jesus talked about Hell 286 times. He preached about Hades 86 times. He talked about judgement and fire on the unbeliever over a thousand times. He warned people that there was a Hell and judgement, and we should do the same.
Now Jesus did talk about love, Heaven, and eternal life more than He talked about judgement, and I’m not advocating preaching fire and brimstone constantly, but it is obvious from Scripture that Hell is a real place, and we should warn people about it.
If someone commits suicide, he is lost for eternity. The idea here is that suicide is self murder. That may be true. I consider it more a result of mental illness and severe depression, but even if it is self murder, I see nowhere in Scripture that suicide is the unforgivable sin.
In the early church, suicide was an acceptable alternative to torture and death at the hands of the government. It is recorded that between the years of 38 A.D. to 1299 A.D., over four million Christians willingly committed suicide. To curb this rush toward Christians ending their own lives, many priests came against the practice. In the fifth century, St. Augustine wrote a book condemning the practice of Christian suicide. In the 13th century, Thomas Aquinas stated that suicide was an act against God and could not be forgiven since there was no repentance after death.
The truth is that suicide is wrong in most cases according to Scripture although there was no condemnation when Samson committed suicide. Knowing that, if a Christian is mentally ill or severely depressed and commits suicide when he’s not in his right mind, I believe the blood of Jesus covers him.
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. That’s not necessarily true nor is it Biblical. Ask the martyrs throughout history if God “brought them through it”. In a way, He did because they are spending eternity in Heaven, but by human measures, things don’t always turn out great when we obey God. Sometimes we have to sacrifice what we want for what God wants, and sometimes things don’t go well. But be of good cheer. God has overcome all.
I love Jesus but not religion. If by that you mean legalistic religious traditions, I’ll agree with you there. But if religion means doctrinal, Biblical truth, you can’t love Jesus and decide to pick and choose what He says in His Word.
We want people to be saved, so we don’t allow people to speak in tongues in our services. I’ve heard this a lot in the last ten years in Pentecostal churches. For this cliche, all I can do is go to Scripture. In Acts 2, the commotion of the believers speaking in tongues caused 3,000 to be saved. Also 1 Corinthians 14:22 says, “Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers.” Enough said.
We don’t want to offend anyone. Of course whenever possible, we should seek to be loving and kind and not to purposely offend. However, when most people say this, they are referring to watering down the Gospel, especially in church, to keep unbelievers from being offended and leaving. Jesus offended people often. In John 14:6, he dared to say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The cross is called offensive in Galatians 5:11. The truth is always offensive, but that doesn’t mean we should water it down. 1 Corinthians 1:18 says “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
The God of Wrath was in the Old Testament. God is love and doesn’t judge people anymore. This is one of those statements meant to not offend people. The truth is God is love, but God is also Holy. That’s why Jesus had to die for our sins. God had to punish sin. His wrath toward our sin was poured out on Jesus. It was costly. God’s love never negates His holiness. Even though we are in a period of grace, God is still holy. He still judges and punishes sin. If you aren’t convinced, consider Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5. They were church goers who lied to the Holy Spirit. They both were struck dead. Sin is serious business with God.
God isn’t interested in making you happy; He’s interested in making you holy. On the surface, this sounds true. I hate to admit I used to say this one. God isn’t interested in you finding happiness in the things of the world as much as He want you to live a holy life before Him. But in Christ, you will find joy. God wants you to have joy in Him, not in the world. If you don’t believe me, read these few of many verses.
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.1 Peter 1:8-9
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord. Acts 3:19
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. John 15:11
So leave a comment and tell us if there are any “Christian Cliches” that annoy you.