Monday, September 13, 2010

Most confusing bad Christian advice?

Having grown up in the Church my entire life, I've heard all sorts of bad "wisdom" from well meaning people. But one of those tidbits of wisdom in particular always stands out to me. I'm curious if you, too, have been on the receiving end of some of this kind of thing. You know the stuff I'm talking about. The pat answers, the blanket statements that people make with good intentions but things they obviously have never really thought through.

For me it is this one: "God will never give you more than you can handle."

Oh puh-leaze! Yes He will! If we could handle everything on our own, why would we need Him? If we have everything under control, that means HE is not such a big God after all. If we could handle everything, why haven't we (general we) gotten famine, poverty, hunger, AIDS, cancer, orphans (I could go on & on...) handled? Of course He gives us more than we can handle! He wants us to rely on Him and Him ALONE -- NOT on ourselves!

I'm sure that somewhere along the way, someone took 1 Corinthians 10:13 and got the meaning all screwed up. It's an easy path from one meaning to the other. Sort of. But really, please do not tell someone who is suffering through a horrible time or a loss of some kind that God will never give them more than they can handle. Good grief. They would feel like a tiny person if they couldn't figure out a way to handle the situation they're in.

What is the appropriate statement instead? How about "He is walking through this with you." or "Trust in Him." or "Keep your eyes focused on Him. He'll get you through this." Or how about pointing them to Scriptures like these from Psalm 139 that point out God's presence no matter what we're going through or where we are?

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

So tell me......what is your "pet peeve" of bad Christian advice?


marye said...

Oh man, Liz you opened a can of worms peeveS?

1. if you are struggling you must have hidden sin.
2. people who hear from the Lord for MY life and hear something that God isn't telling me..then say I am deceived....
3. professing love and then turning away at the point of need

shall I go on? :P

Alexia said...

I love it! That's actually one of my favorite pet peeves too. David Dykes (pastor of Green Acres Baptist) recently wrote a book called, "No! That's NOT in the Bible!" full of things people say all the time that just ain't true. that's one of his points!

Cleanliness is next to godliness.. Money is the root of all evil.. and my personal favorite, spare the rod spoil the child..

Susie said...

Good point Liz!

God will never give you more than !! He !! can handle with you. Because, MOST CERTAINLY, I could not handle losing Joshua on my own...

Pet peeves: People twisting "Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit" to suit whichever thing they don't want you to do. *Eat junk food *Eat non-organic *Not smoke *Not drink *Not tattoo *Not pierce (which for the record, there's only one in there I'm adamantly against personally, and it's not even in the Bible...)

Britt said...

YES! Thank you for posting this Liz. After losing Ella Grace one of the "phrases" that has been driving me crazy is "God has a plan"

Don't get me wrong. I KNOW He has a plan, but I also know that we live in a sinful, flawed world and that some things happen that He allows to happen...not that He PLANS to happen. I think there is a difference.

The God I serve is loving and kind and just. Losing a baby is not loving, kind or just. What kind of a god has a plan that I would have three dead babies? Not the God I serve...the God that I serve allowed it to happen, He didn't plan for it to happen. That sublte distinction has been the only thing that has allowed me to keep my faith on some days!

Wow, sorry for the soap box, but I could write a WHOLE book about the hurtful, insensitive things people have said during our grief!

Christi Thompson said...

Liz, exactly 5 years ago today, you shared this post with me. At the time, I was about 15-16 weeks pregnant with our 2nd little boy who, a few weeks prior, was diagnosed with anencephaly. That time in my life is pretty much a blur, but apparently I had posted on Facebook about God not giving me more than I could handle. I want you to know that, through all of that, I have always remembered your response (this blog post). It was so comforting to realize that no, I didn't have to be strong. There wasn't something wrong with me and God wasn't picking on me. He wanted me to look to Him, lean on Him and to trust Him. Since you've corrected me, I have even politely corrected people when they have expressed the same line of thinking. So, I say thank you. Thank you for speaking the truth of God's love. Forever grateful!!!