Ten Cliches Christians Should Never Use
Here are six of the 2nd ten that I actually hear more often than I hear anything else:
1. “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” This is a backhanded way to tell someone you love them, at best. It also ignores the command by Jesus not to focus on the splinter in our neighbors’ eyes while a plank remains in our own. Bottom line: we all screw up, and naming others’ sin as noteworthy while remaining silent about your own is arrogant.
2. “The Bible clearly says…” Two points on this one. First, unless you’re a Biblical scholar who knows the historical and cultural contexts of the scriptures and can read them in their original languages, the Bible isn’t ‘clear’ about much. Yes, we can pick and choose verses that say one thing or another, but by whom was it originally said, and to whom? Cherry-picking scripture to make a point is called proof-texting, and it’s a theological no-no. Second, the Bible can be used to make nearly any point we care to (anyone want to justify slavery?), so let’s not use it as a billy club against each other.
3. “God needed another angel in heaven, so He called him/her home.” Another well-meaning but insensitive thing to say. This assumes a lot about what the person you’re speaking to believes, and it also ignores the grief they’re going through. The person who died is, well, dead. Focus on the needs of the living right in front of you.
4. “America was founded as a Christian nation.” Honestly, I find it hard to believe we are still having this conversation, but here we are. Anyone with a cursory understanding of history understands that we were founded on the principle of religious liberty – not just the liberty to be a Christian – and that many of the founding fathers explicitly were not Christian. Thomas Jefferson, anyone?
5. ” Jesus was a Democrat/Republican.” Seems to me that, when pressed, Jesus was happy to keep church and state separate. Remember the whole thing about giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and giving to God what is God’s? And if we choose to, we can pick and choose anecdotes to support Jesus being a liberal (care for the poor, anti death penalty) or a conservative (challenge government authority, practice sexual purity). Jesus was Jesus, and if it was as simple as pegging him to one of two seriously flawed contemporary forms of government, I can promise you I would not be a Christian.
6. “(Insert sin here) is an abomination in the eyes of God.” Almost always, when this phrase is invoked, it has something to do with sex or sexuality. Seldom do folks care to mention that divorce and remarriage is in that list of so-called abominations.