Which Of These Clichés Are YOU Tired Of Hearing?
We’ve all been guilty of misusing certain Bible verses, or giving some well-intentioned, yet ultimately unhelpful advice such as, “everything happens for a reason,” or, “God works in mysterious ways.” While these things may have a quality of truth about them, they often do more damage than good when we quote them as scripture. Actually, there are quite a few phrases out there that we tend to quote, thinking they are divinely inspired, when in fact, they are not.
1. All Sins Are The Same.
Yes and no. All sins separate us from God, true, but I think we can all agree that the earthly consequences of gossiping are entirely different than those of say, adultery or murder. The other danger behind using this phrase, aside from not being entirely accurate, is that it can easily turn into either justification, or crushing guilt. Bottom line, telling yourself or someone else that “all sins are the same” is just not helpful. Call sin for what it is, ask forgiveness, and move on.
2. Forgive And Forget.
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I would say that 9 times out of 10, the forgetting part of this equation is just down right impossible. And the 1 in 10 times it happens is probably due to old age, rather than a conscience effort to forget the actions of another. Luckily for us, forgiveness isn’t dependent upon forgetting. We can choose to treat the person who offended us as if nothing ever happened, but honestly, that is usually not a wise idea either. Forgiveness is just as meaningful when we remember what happened, learn from it, show grace upon grace, and move on. This is not to say we should be bitter and hold on to past hurt, but rather to go forward in the freeing truth that we have been forgiven our debts, and it is our joy and privilege to show that forgiveness to others.
3. God won’t give you more than you can handle.
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This is just plain wrong. If God didn’t overwhelm us, how would we know our need for Him? Sin is more than we can handle. The death of a loved one is more than we can handle. Sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning is more than we can handle. But God sent His son to pay for our sin. He gave us the Bible to reinforce truths into the darkest times and the deepest losses. He is available to us 24/7 for us to lean on His strength, to press further into His word, to guide us in His wisdom. I don’t know if you’ve notice, but we really can’t handle a whole lot. The misunderstanding with this phrase most likely comes from 1 Corinthians 10:13, where it talks about God not tempting us beyond what we can bear. Even within that context though, it goes on to say that God will provide a way out.
4. Bad things happen to good people.
Besides the fact that this is so over used and a stupid excuse to pout about how unfair life can be sometimes, it is theologically unsound. Remember Romans 3:23? “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” How about Romans 3:10 – “As it is written, ‘No one is righteous, not even one.'” Therefore, the definition of “good” is fundamentally flawed. Who is good? No one. A more accurate phrase would be, “bad things happen… to everyone,” though this doesn’t account for the grace of God, or our own responsibility in the choices we make, and consequences they have.
5. Money is the root of all evil.
1 Timothy 6:10 actually says, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil…” Money is not good or bad, and being wealthy is not a sin; Job was wealthy and described as a man who was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:1). When we place the desire for money above our desire to glorify God, then things get ugly. But that’s true of any idol we have in our lives. Again, the problem here is vilifying one thing, in this case money, when in reality there is a balance to all things. We have a personal responsibility and choice to make in regards to who (or what) gets all of our attention and love.
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