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Avoiding Clichés to Proclaim the Truth

Biblical ignorance is at an all-time high.

When proclaiming the Truth to people who have never heard a clear message of the Truth, its helpful to remember that the world uses a different dictionary. Terms and phrases that are commonly used in Christianity may not register well with those who don’t believe in Christ.

When the Lord provides Christians with an opportunity to proclaim Good News, most will put immense pressure on themselves to say something meaningful. If a well-meaning Christian doesn’t feel prepared to give an answer for the hope that they have in Christ, its tempting to utilize Christian catchphrases when placed in awkward situations.

But in doing so, they may not be adequately communicating biblical truth. Sometimes it can be harmful. A struggling person can be turned off rather than be helped.

What are some Christian catchphrases that don’t adequately communicate the value of Christ? What are some common Christian cliches to avoid that are difficult to understand without faith, but also may not be clear biblical truth?

“Everything happens for a reason.”

We are rarely given clear answers for tragedy and difficulties in life. Faith fixes its eyes beyond what is temporal and squarely on what is eternal. Faith in Christ receives hope in what is unseen rather than what is seen. Without faith there is no hope.

For an unbeliever who has lost their job, their marriage, or received bad news from the doctor’s office, this phrase is not helpful. And frankly, it’s not particularly helpful for believers either as they are trying to process difficult life circumstances. It’s best to focus on God’s promises and what he has already done for us on the cross.

What can be a better response?

Let go of the pressure to come up with an appropriate or a meaningful response in an awkward moment when you don’t feel prepared. It may be better to start listening with an empathetic heart. Be a friend. Trust that the Lord’s timing will provide a golden moment to provide the Good News of true hope in times of difficult circumstances. Then, be inspired to prepare yourself accordingly the next time the Lord provides an opportunity to witness.

“God won’t give us anything more than we can handle.”

Not true. God doesn’t want us to handle anything on our own but come to him with everything. It’s true that God doesn’t allow temptation to go beyond what believers can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Yet, with every temptation, only the work of the Holy Spirit can help all believers to overcome. God can use difficult life circumstances to deepen a believer’s trust in his promises or bring a lost soul to repentance. Faith enables a Christian to embrace difficulty with joy since it is an opportunity to grow in our faith.

What can be a better response?

The truth is that Jesus doesn’t want us to handle life but receive his life by believing in him. Christians can communicate the value of Christ by proclaiming his work in us. Not that being a Christian in this world is easy, but we can rest in his promises.

“It’s not my place to judge.”

It is a believer’s place to judge. A message of the law is offensive and necessary before an unbeliever receives the gospel and believes. Jesus told his disciples to shake the dust off their feet in judgement due to an unbeliever’s persistent rejection of the gospel. Though it can be right to judge, a believer should refrain from being judgmental. A person suffering from making bad decisions in life may not appreciate an ill-timed judgmental remark.

What can be a better response?

Perhaps in our initial conversations with unbelievers we can say that only God can judge human hearts. They may already felt judged by well-meaning Christians by their appearance or actions. Point to the gospel truth that Christ has saved all sinners including ourselves. Through examining his Word, we can ask God to examine our hearts. He alone can point out our sins and lead us to repentance.

“I’ll pray for you.”

Let’s refrain from using this phrase unless we really mean it. Seriously. I am more guilty than anybody from saying this to believers and unbelievers, then fail to follow through. It’s a nice thing to say and people may appreciate hearing it, but it’s more important to be sincere.

What can be a better response?

We can ask permission of an unbeliever to pray for them. Ask specifically how you can pray for them. Make it a point to check back and ask about their concerns.

I have often said that it’s more important to say something rather than nothing at all when it comes to sharing our faith with others. It’s important to be thoughtful and prepared to give an answer whenever God places us with a golden opportunity to proclaim the gospel. For many Christians, it is an awkward moment.

Instead of relying on our own wisdom that tends to spit out Christian clichés, ask the Lord for help. Sometimes it is better to listen and ask questions rather than feeling the pressure to blurt out something.

Please remember that God has already forgiven us when we feel like we have blown it. Trust that God works through his Word and is working through us to “spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (2 Cor. 2:14) Renewed by his grace, clothed with his righteousness, completely restored in his sight, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable again to proclaim the Truth in a lost, broken world.

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Are you prepared
to proclaim?

Our FREE Bible Study explores common obstacles and mindset shifts we can make to gain confidence in evangelism.

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