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Good News - Broward Edition
32 December 2013
Rick Deal
Good News
There are many expressions
that have become common in
Christian vernacular. Sometimes
we can use these phrases for so
long that we forget what they may
sound like from the outside. It’s
good to reexamine what we say
from time to time; to rethink
sayings that could easily be
misunderstood or simply seen as
lacking sincerity. Here we have a
few phrases that may need to be
retired, or at least rethought.
“Christians aren’t perfect,
they’re just forgiven.”
What it is supposed to mean:
We as Christians are no
better or more worthy of salvation
than the rest of the world. We are
saved by the grace of God alone
and, as such, are in no position to
look down on anyone.
What people think we mean by it:
The complete opposite.
original intention and context of
this quote-turned-bumper-sticker,
it can sound extraordinarily
arrogant. As if we were saying
“We’re not perfect, except that we
are, ‘cause God forgave us, and
that makes us perfect, unlike you,
who is still not forgiven!” Now,
certainly not everyone – or even
most people – who use this
phrase mean anything beyond its
original intent in all sincerity.
Whether it was meant for good or
ill, the issue here is about
perception. Regardless of the
best intentions of the speaker,
saying, when combined with
the fact that people often feel
judged and ostracized by the
church anyway, doesn’t make a
winning combination.
Where it could be reapplied:
It might be a nice word of
encouragement to a discouraged
Christian that feels like they are
failing. Remind them that none
of us are perfect; we are all
hanging on to the same grace
and forgiveness and just need to
keep moving forward and
relying on Christ to get us
through each day. In regard to
sharing this one with someone
who isn’t a Christian, however,
the situation that calls for it will
be rare…much like seeing a
unicorn; it may never happen,
and we need to be ok with that.
“God never gives you more
than you can handle.”
What it is supposed to mean:
No matter how bad things
get, God will be with you. When
your strength fails, his will remain;
when you falter, he will be
steadfast; trust in him, not in
What people think we mean by it:
If you are a Christian, then life
will be smooth sailing; God loves
you, so he isn’t going to let
anything really bad happen to you.
One really must wonder
how many young Christians
have had serious crises of faith
because they were told that
everything was going to be fine
from then on, and it wasn’t. It
can leave them wondering: was
I lied to? Did God fail me? Am I
doing something wrong? The
Bible paints a certain picture of
what we should expect in the
way of trials and hardships, and
this phrase paints a very
different picture. One can’t help
wondering what the apostles
and other martyrs would make
of this well-intentioned quote as
we lovingly cross-stitch it on to
throw pillows. Some may say
that those people lived in a
different time and it’s a different
underground churches of North
Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and
differently on the matter. What
about the man whose son just
died of cancer? What about the
boy who lost his mom in a car
accident? The examples go on
and on. These are things that are
a lot more than we can handle,
these are the things that will
break us if we try to bear them
alone. The letters of Paul
instruct us to prepare for trials
and not be surprised when they
come because the times when
we have nothing else to cling to
are the times we hold tighter to
circumstances drive us away
from Jesus or let them draw us
closer, but we can’t be blinded by
thinking everything is always
going to be perfect. Things aren’t
going to be perfect and Jesus
never said that they would be.
He said he would wipe the tears
from our eye, and that, in him,
we can find a peace that is
beyond understanding.
Where it could be reapplied:
This one may require more
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