Posted by: Diane | August 20, 2013

When God Closes A Door..

yah, yah…I’ve heard this cliché before and honestly, I’m not a strong supporter of Christian platitudes.  You know the one…“When God Closes  A Door…He opens a window.” There is truth to these words but they are often glibly given as a quick fix to a deep issue in a person’s life…and therefore, often not received well.

Here are some of the clichés I’ve heard over the years.

Christians don’t have discussions – they “share.”

“Everything happens for a reason.”

Christians are “on fire for God.”

“I like extreme worship.” (What IS that, anyways?)

Christians don’t gossip – they share “prayer requests.” 

Christians say, “Bless your heart!”

Christians don’t get together – they have “fellowship.”

“God helps those who help themselves.” (This is NOT in the Bible)

Christians give “testimonies” or “praise reports” – they don’t tell stories.

I don’t put God in a box.”

Christians don’t get depressed – they experience a “spirit of heaviness.”

Christians don’t have good days, they “get the victory!”

Christians often say, “I’ll pray for you” and “All things work together for good” and “God is in control.”

Christians say, “I’m forgiven, not perfect.”

Christians don’t make decisions – they’re “led by the Spirit.”

“Let go and let God.”

It’s important to acknowledge here that many of these verbal responses do indeed reflect biblical truth but the words become meaningless because they are part of overused and tired phrases, often used out of context or to fill the awkward silence.

Often, the right response is active listening and a heart-felt hug.  People don’t need nifty formulas – they need connection and caring. People don’t need to be dismissed with empty platitudes – they need to be loved with authenticity.  Hurting people see right through fake, distant responses and cliché answers fit right in that pocket.

I got a good chuckle this morning when I was listening to the radio this morning and heard Sherry Rose Shepherd say, “When God closes a door…get your face out of the way and it won’t hurt so much.”

Now, THAT’S a refreshing twist, isn’t it?

Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague. William Safire



Responses

  1. Oh you hit it hard with this one Diane! Just I was starting to get my jargon right you’re telling me that I shouldn’t use it? For years the “church speak” drove me nuts. I always felt like I was outside this ‘secret club’. How did these people know just how to pull the right Christian response out at the right time? I kinda felt like maybe if I went to christiandictionary.com I could have enough in my back pocket to pull out when necessary. Like at a funeral “so sorry for your loss, but he’s gone e to a better place”.

    So now that I’m in a much deeper relationship with Jesus I actually understand where ( in the bible) these sayings come from and what they actually mean. And although I get what you are saying about the inauthenticity that these platitudes may reflect, I do really like it when someone says “I’ll pray for you” because I personally say this in all seriousness and when someone says it to be I am grateful and flattered that they would take time out of their schedules to do that for me. And until I went through a devastating struggle & have come through it only by the grace of God ( I hope that’s not another one) do I now really understand the God “does work all things for good” and I am comforted by that expression/scripture. That said, I do totally understand what you are saying about really being present to a person’s situation. It’s so much better, as Christians if we just ‘show up, shut up & step up’ with our actions. Definitely more authentic. I must admit I chuckled with the prayer request/gossip reference. It’s a bit sneaky when the phrase “lets pray for so & so because, you know, that thing he’s going through”, kinda convenient how something so precious can be justified but really it’s just gossip.

    So are you saying I can continue with my sign off of “cheers” or “you rock”? I don’t have to do “blessings”?

    p.s. I listened to Sherri Rose today too- she totally rocked!

  2. And the other expression that drives me nuts is “the enemy” which is so overused and misused. I get that Satan is real and definitely seeks to destroy. However, most of the time when something goes bad it’s usually because we made a stupid decision.


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