I’ve used some pretty obnoxious phrases in my life, and so I believe (more than most) that Christians have got to watch the phrases that they use. Below, I’ve listed a few weird “Christian” phrases that we need to at least dial back on significantly. I’ve used them. You’ve probably used them. Let’s all agree that we should probably think a whole lot harder about our reasoning and our audience the next time we want to say one of these.
“Come quickly, Lord Jesus!”
This one kills me. I understand the desire for something better. In fact, I believe that every Christian should be excited to be united with Christ. I believe that when Christ comes, my life will enter a perfect state, together with God, and that excites me to no end. But that phrase is selfish. In 2 Peter 3:15, the Bible gives us a great hope for the fact that Christ has not returned! It tells us that the patience of God allows Him to bring more people to know Him. Why in the world would we want to rush that? Why should our completely unfounded fears for the world and ourselves take precedence over the souls of those who don’t know Christ? Shouldn’t we be willing to allow some discomfort for our children and grandchildren so that more can know Him? By the way, those fears I called unfounded? Yes, I meant unfounded. God tells us that we can trust Him. End of story. Notice in Revelation 22 (the passage that most people take this from), John never says “Come quickly.” Christ says “I am coming soon,” and John says “Amen! Come Lord Jesus!” He is affirming and rejoicing in God’s timing. We should always be looking forward to Christ’s coming. We should never be trying to rush it. We should rejoice in the Lord’s timing to allow more people to be drawn to Him.
“Hate the sin, love the sinner”
I get this phrase. I don’t believe there’s anything theologically wrong with this phrase. God hates sin. God loves sinners. Shouldn’t we try to be more like God? Absolutely. In fact, I’m not even advocating stopping this phrase altogether. I just think it is one that needs to be used only around other believers to convey the idea of loving people without approving of sin. Around non-believers, this phrase carries a lot of problems. Without knowing the depth behind this phrase, it does look like we hate non-believers. After all, if you hate the food, you probably hate the restaurant. For someone that has not experienced the grace of God and that probably doesn’t see anything wrong with the sin in their lives, it seems impossible to separate the “sin” from the “sinner.” So, to many non-believers, this phrase conveys that we hate them.
“God told me…”
This also, in itself, is not necessarily a bad phrase to use. God communicates to us. God uses the Bible, other believers, leadership, and other ways to do that. However, this phrase can be a bad thing. It is often an excuse to get what someone wants. It is also often a great precursor to something that God would never, and I mean never, tell someone. It’s often followed by something unbiblical or unchristian. It’s also often a lie. I’ve heard it used in many contexts, but 99% of the time, it has been someone pushing for stage time, power, or their own desires. It often is followed by some of these:
“God told me to sing this song.”
“God told me that I am supposed to be in leadership.”
“God told me you need to leave the church.”
“God told me I’m right.” (Ok, this one isn’t used much. But a variation of it is often used to try to get funds or votes for a pet project).
Funny how to most people that use this phrase, God only seems to confirm exactly what they were thinking. If God isn’t telling you to change something about yourself to be more like Him, it probably isn’t something that needs to be pushed on someone else.