*DISCLAIMER*Please take the following thoughts as they were intended...humor with a bit of serious thrown in for good measure :-)
Did you ever notice that Christians have their own language? There are certain "catch phrases" that seem to be essential to any Christian's vocabulary, and we seem to love to flaunt our multilingual talents, especially in front of nonbelievers. Why is that? Didn't Christ exhort us to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. --- Matthew 28: 19-20"
How can we teach them to obey everything Christ has commanded us to do, when they don't even understand what we're saying?
There are certain phrases that are used universally, especially in the evangelical circles, that just need to die a peaceful death...I offer up for your extermination...
"Come alongside" - No wonder a new believer doesn't understand when someone says "Let me come alongside you" - they think you're trying to invade their personal space...why do we have to say "come alongside" anyway? sounds more like a nautical term to me "COMIN' ALONGSIDE TA' STARBOARD!!!" Why can't we just say what we mean, which would be more like..."Hey, I know what it's like to be a new believer. I've been down that road myself. I just want to let you know if you need any help, just call me. If you need prayer, let me know, and I'll be there to support you whenever you need me". (starts humming a James Taylor tune....)
Now...was that so hard????
"Bless her (his) heart" - I'm sure this is not in anyone's vocabulary north of the Mason-Dixon line, but anyone south sure knows what I am talking about...You know...someone comes up to you after church and whispers "Did you hear about poor Thelma? Her husband was caught necking in the narthex with that young secretary of Pastor Joe's...bless her little heart!" Somehow people seem to think if you bless someone, you're really not gossiping about them, and it will make what you just said "ok" in the eyes of God...well..guess what? It doesn't. I do believe James was quite succinct when he said "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God's likeness. " Ok...maybe you didn't cuss your sister in Christ out, but ANY sort of gossip is just hurtful. If you can't say it to their face, then don't say it, and bury "Bless her heart"...
Lift them up - Lift them up? Peggy Sue weighs 250 pounds, and that doesn't include the 5 pound box of chocolates under her arm, and you want me to lift her up??! Why can't we just say "Hey, you look sorta down, what's happening in your life right now? Do you want to talk about it, or how about we pray together right now?" It's easier just to say "Oh, I'll lift you up in prayer" then head to our next appointment, because it's a lot easier than stopping what we're doing for another person and getting...eww...you know...personal and stuff Time to go to the "catchphrase" graveyard!
God Bless (Unless you *really* mean it) - I don't know how many times I've heard people say "God Bless" - I've had them say "God Bless!" in greeting, "God Bless" in goodbye, and "God Bless" in between - I've been blessed so many times I should be sanctified, glorified, and holyfied ten times over...John the Baptist should have nothin on me! But out of all those times...the majority were just said as a courtesy...when is the last time you said "God Bless you" and it came from your heart? It seems like most Christians use it as a secret code when they leave each other...maybe we should make up a secret handshake to go along with it - like "God Bless!" and then cross our index fingers to form a cross (for Jesus!) then slide the fingers off each other...hit the tips, then point them up to heaven and wink sorta like "Hah...we know where WE are going...we are uber cool Christians!"...
Think twice before you say "God Bless"...and make sure you mean it :-D
It's God's Will - oh my, I should save this one for a separate blog post...but let me just say this....If you had a bit too much communion wine, (someone had to finish off the leftovers after service) got tipsy, then ignored the red light at the intersection and the 18 wheeler rolling down the road towards you, and decided that you could cross the street...I hate to tell you...it wasn't God's will that you now have Michelin treadmarks down your back...
It's not my gift - This is usually the reply when someone in church approaches you and asks you to do something, and you don't feel like doing it...you evoke the "spiritual gift" clause. However...didn't Jesus say "What is impossible with men is possible with God." ...Hmm...so if you tell someone that's not your "spiritual gift", then aren't you really just saying you don't believe that God could empower you to do something that's out of your comfort zone?
Just a little food for thought :-)
.......(Who isn't a believer).... - this is a very popular phrase in conservative Christian circles...usually said about someone in a mainstream denomination, usually as an aside, because they are not charismatic enough, i.e. they don't roll around in the aisles, lift their hands and shout "JEEESUS!" during their Sunday services...Their pastor doesn't sweat, nor does he ever, ever shake a bible at them....My pastor just used this phrase this past Sunday...he was describing a woman (who was Catholic) that went on a missions trip with him...hmmm...Let's see...last time I looked...Catholics recite the nicene creed almost every Sunday..you know the one "I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth........who was crucified dead and buried.....died for our sins....etc. etc. "....Now...if I remember correctly, Romans 10:9 says "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Well, gosh, don't they do that every week? If that isn't saved in my book, I don't know what is...which leads me to the next phrase...
have a relationship with Christ - Are Christians going steady with Christ? Is He taking us to the heavenly prom? What constitutes a "relationship" with Christ? Who am I to judge whether someone else is "having a relationship" with Christ? Am I privy to what they do at home, work, etc?? I consider myself lucky to talk to God every day, to make Him a part of my life, and to tell Him everything, and to seek His counsel in all that I do (well maybe not all - I think I can decide if I want an orange or a pink ice pop all by myself) No wonder someone that hasn't "accepted Christ" looks at you like you have two heads when you ask them " Do you have a relationship with Christ??" They probably think He's going to ask them to go to the movies with Him on Saturday night.
I understand what that means, but really...can't we just say how we feel from our heart?
slain in the spirit - I'm real glad this isn't what happens literally, cos you'd have a bunch of dead Christians laying around the altar each Sunday...however, I'm sure the funeral home directors would be rolling in the dough...then again...you may have a lot of people approaching the altar for prayer with trepidation..."oh no...what if I'm...slain in the spirit???"
Who thought up this phrase anyway? Is it because you usually drop like a ton of bricks?...That's one way to scare off people that don't know Christ "oh, being a Christian is cool - you can get slain in the spirit" I'm sure they'd love to hear THAT...Why can't we just say what really happened? "Wow...God just filled my heart to overflowing this past Sunday, and I was overwhelmed by being in His presence, filled with such joy, peace, love, I fell to the ground in adoration"....Doesn't that sound a lot better than "slain"?
hmmm...can't think of any more at the moment, but I'm sure you can! :)
and...GOD BLESS! (I mean it!)