“God never gives you more than you can handle” has turned into one of those phrases at which Christians roll their eyes. Right along with “God has a plan” and “He uses all things for our good and His glory,” cliche phrases like this one have become blog topics with titles along the lines of “Things Christians should stop saying.”
When did God become a cliche? When did words full of truth become something we throw out there in order to feel less awkward when we witness a friend struggling?
Whether or not we like hearing them, these are truths. We just don’t want to listen, because then we couldn’t continue feeling sorry for ourselves. We would need to stop playing the victim, and we would have to admit that the things of this world don’t compare with God’s glory.
Truth or lie
We are surrounded by lies every day. Our normal routine can consist of lies from social media, lies from the news, lies from advertisements, even lies from ourselves. We easily consume our thoughts with what we want out of each day.
When something goes wrong, our first instinct is to blame. It doesn’t matter what or who, as long as it’s not our own fault. It’s as old as Adam and Eve. We don’t want to hear that it’s going to be OK, because that takes away from our time of anger and sadness. Because Satan wants us to believe the lie over the truth.
While there certainly is a season for all things under heaven, including a time to mourn, this season becomes dangerous when we block out wisdom and comfort from fellow Christ-followers. Yes, these phrases have become cliche, but the actual meaning of these words are anything but commonplace.
Living and active
The cliches we all don’t want to hear come from God’s word. Verses like 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Romans 8:28 are some of these truths. The word of God is living and active, which means each time we read or hear Scripture, the Holy Spirit can move us. We gain wisdom and learn truth. We are changed.
The key word there, however, is “can.” The Holy Spirit can move us. But if we aren’t wanting that truth, if we are unwilling to soften ourselves, He doesn’t have to move us.
Imagine what it would be like, though, if we allowed words like, “God has a plan,” to sink in instead of pushing them as far away as possible. Instead of immediately throwing up defenses with “But you have no idea how much this hurts,” or “I know He does, but that doesn’t help me right now,” what if we paused and processed?
If God’s word is living and active, then He can comfort you with any word. He can heal with any phrase.
A word of caution for the giver of truth
There is, however, an appropriate time and place to encourage one another with truth from the Spirit. Sometimes your friend, family member or spouse may just need a shoulder to cry on for a moment. While all the phrases mentioned earlier are true, the one doing the comforting needs wisdom from the Spirit to know when it’s the right time to use them.
Simply throwing out a phrase because we don’t know what else to say isn’t using God’s truth to spread comfort and love. It’s a way to satisfy a desire in us to have the right answer. This habit proves a main reason why many Christians are over hearing about “God’s plan.” Because the words feel forced and fake. Then when we bring real words of wisdom, it’s hard for others to hear them.
The fear of not saying the right thing should not cause us to spout whatever Biblical phrase pops into our minds. But the fear of how our listener will respond should not prevent us from speaking truth if the Spirit prompts. It may feel like a catch 22, but how another responds to truth is not our responsibility.
Don’t buy into the lie that using Scripture or talking about God is insensitive. If you’re asking the Spirit to guide your words, He’ll give you wisdom to know what to say and how to say it. He will also give wisdom to know when to keep your mouth shut, so don’t let silence scare you. It’s true that these phrases are overused and sound insensitive. But that doesn’t mean we can’t use their wisdom.
Pursue truth. Pursue wisdom. Don’t be afraid to share it with others. We weren’t meant to keep it to ourselves.
Let’s Talk About It: Why have we turned truth into cliches? How do you fight against that?