There are many terms used in the Christian world that sound good but often times don’t actually mean what they say. I would like to explore some of these but since these columns are limited to around 500 words let me start with these two. The first one is a phrase every Christian has used so it makes for a good start.
1)“I’ll pray for you”
What a beautiful sentiment. I need prayer and so do you. We are supposed to pray for each other as well.
The problem is, (I know this not from divine revelation but unfortunately personal experience) that we as Christians often times get in the habit of using the term flippantly without weighing the gravity of the sentiment.
You say your going to pray for someone you had better mean it. Instead it can be flouted around like a handshake with a stranger or the equivalent of the secular/retailer phrase “Have a nice day”. That phrase sounds friendly enough though does anyone ever honestly think they mean it?
The truth is for the most part the purveyor of the phrase not only could care less about your “day”, they’ll even spend most of their lunch break whining to fellow employees what a pain in the butt we patrons actually are.
This habit ironically facilitates a nice day for them.
I know personally that I have used the phrase “I’ll pray for you” only to forget about it 2 minutes later and only recall I said it a couple months later when I find out the person I was supposed to pray for died from some exotic disease. Now I not only feel guilty for not praying, I start thinking I killed the guy!
Another classic overused Christian phrase is,
2) “You shouldn’t be a stumbling block for others.”
Sounds holy until we who have been around the Christian sub-culture long enough realize that the stumbling block concept is often code for “I’ll be watching you and if I ever see you behaving in a way I consider un-Christian I’ll judge you in my heart’ since I am the arbiter of all things true and holy.”
If stumbling block means Christian behavior that causes someone else to sin then most of these stumbler-phobes could use it on themselves since they are so concerned about the sins of fellow believers.
Their obsession with demanding the stumble-causing Christian to cease and desist usually leads them not to spiritual encouragement of a wayward brother but instead the SIN of self-righteous judgment that doesn’t desire reconciliation as much as punishment and condemnation!
Their legalistic arrogance also ticks me off and causes me to sin since I find myself despising them and desiring ways to make their lives miserable which I have to assume is not a God breathed revelation but instead my own sin nature seeking revenge and punishment.
Then again using their “stumbler-logic” I can at least claim it isn’t my fault but instead theirs since it’s their sin that’s causing me to stumble!
Hey wait a minute, I kind of like this concept. I can do wrong, blame it on their lack of Christian behavior and so I get to have my cake and eat it too! Maybe these Pharisees aren’t as dumb as I thought?