As Christians, our words have a profound influence on those around us. They can comfort, encourage, but also unintentionally harm if we’re not careful. Certain phrases, often repeated in Christian circles, can stifle meaningful dialogue and convey unintended messages. Let’s delve into eight of these clichés and uncover why they might be better left unsaid.
God won’t give you more than you can handle.
While this phrase seems comforting, it can feel dismissive to those facing enormous challenges. It may give the impression that their struggles are merely tests of strength rather than genuine hardships. Instead, try acknowledging their pain directly and offering your support, letting them know you’re there for them no matter what.
Just have faith.
Faith is crucial, no doubt, but this statement can oversimplify complex or painful situations. It might inadvertently belittle someone’s struggle, making it seem as if their problems would disappear if only they had more faith. Instead, offer reassurance that it’s okay to have questions and doubts, and that faith isn’t a magic fix but a source of strength and resilience in tough times.
It’s all part of God’s plan.
This phrase can sometimes be used in an attempt to comfort those who are going through hardship, as it suggests that all experiences, good or bad, are part of God’s grand plan. However, it may inadvertently trivialize or dismiss the pain and suffering of the person. Instead, acknowledging the complexity of their experience, expressing empathy and offering to pray with them can provide more immediate and tangible support.
God helps those who help themselves.
While intended to encourage personal initiative and responsibility, this phrase isn’t actually in the Bible and can lead to the misconception that God’s help is conditional on our actions. Instead, it can be more helpful to emphasize the unconditional nature of God’s love and the importance of prayer in seeking His guidance while also taking responsible action.
Everything happens for a reason.
This cliché, often said in times of difficulty, may inadvertently belittle genuine suffering and struggle. It may feel dismissive to those going through a painful situation. Instead of attempting to ascribe meaning to someone’s pain, it can be more compassionate to simply acknowledge their difficulty, affirm your care for them, and offer your support in their time of need.
Love the sinner, hate the sin.
This phrase, while well-intentioned, can often come off as judgmental and potentially damage relationships. It may convey that we’re focusing more on a person’s sin than on their identity as God’s beloved creation. Instead, consider phrases that express love and acceptance of individuals, while acknowledging that we are all works in progress.
This phrase can be powerful to those who have experienced the power of prayer. However, it might hurt those who feel their prayers haven’t been answered in the way they hoped. Affirming the struggles they are experiencing and offering to pray with them can be more comforting and less dismissive of their experiences.
Are you saved?
While this question may stem from a place of concern for a person’s spiritual wellbeing, it can come across as confrontational or judgmental. Instead, engaging in open, respectful discussion about faith and spirituality can lead to more fruitful dialogue. Try asking about their beliefs or experiences, opening the door to a conversation rather than appearing to pass judgment.