I’ve lived in the Bible Belt my entire life. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s a strip of land stretching across southeastern United States that has the highest concentration of Christianity in the nation.
No matter your background, Bible Belt or not, you’ve probably heard Christians use some weird phrases. Because the Bible Belt has such a large number of Christians, I’ve heard weird “Christianese” phrases since I came out of the womb.
I wasn’t always a Christian and some of the weird phrases used to confuse me.
You know what I’m talking about. Heck, most have probably said them at some point. They aren’t necessarily bad phrases or untrue, but a lot of them can be misleading which can lead to bigger problems.
For example: “Satan is attacking me.”
My response when I was a confused non-Christian: “Ouch! Are you okay? Does he have like fists of fire or something?”
Just kidding, but you get the gist. If some things don’t make sense within the Christian family, why in the world would they make sense to anyone who’s not?
The weird phrases are not meant to be confusing. Who doesn’t mean well?
But let’s be real.
There are some weird phrases Christians should never use.
We’ll start with my original example:
Satan is attacking me.
Let’s get one thing straight. Satan is a created being. He is not everywhere, all-knowing, and is nothing like God. When referred to in Scripture, Satan is described as “the evil one”, “[trying] to disguise himself as an angel of light”, “the serpent”, “the devil”, etc.
The point: Satan is singular.
I get why people say Satan is attacking them. It probably means they are going through a hard time, believing lies, or both. When I was going through times like these, I used to say Satan was attacking me too.
Then I realized, “Man, I’ve really been flattering myself. I thought Satan was attacking me. I bet he has much better things to do.”
Truth is, Satan probably isn’t attacking you. If he is, I’m impressed because I’m sure he targets the most important people in the world.
Either way, we don’t have to describe struggles or believing lies as Satan’s attacks.
This isn’t to say that Satan isn’t a deceiver and at work in the world.
It’s more to say: Let’s not confuse people by telling them Satan is attacking you personally. Instead, call it what it is. Either, “I’m going through a hard time,” or “I am not believing what’s true and need to be reminded.”
God wants to heal you.
There is no doubt in Scripture that God is perfectly good, loving, and kind. This might sound crazy, but I don’t think that necessarily means God wants to heal you.
More specifically, I’ve heard this used in context of physical healing.
My friends and I used to go around looking for sick people. We would explain that God wants to heal them and ask to pray for their healing.
The problem was not everyone we prayed for was healed.
What were we saying about God’s sovereignty if we tell a person God wants to heal them, then they aren’t?
Essentially, “God wants to but can’t.”
Then we think, “Maybe it’s our faith that’s the problem, or lack thereof.” But it’s clear according to Ephesians 2 that faith is a gift from God.
We then have to come to the conclusion that God does not necessarily want that person in that moment to be healed in the way that we think.
If he did, it would happen.
Of course, we can be sure prayer is a good thing and we should pray for people to be healed. We can also be sure that God is in the process of healing the world as a whole.
My soapbox is that the phrase gets weird when the expectations are God wants to heal them right now and in this specific way.
If you call upon the Lord, you will be saved.
This premise comes from Scripture. Romans 10 to be exact. You know, the chapter that also talks about believing with your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord.
Obviously, “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). This is true because the Bible says it is.
Though, this can be taken too far. I was taught to evangelize by meeting non-believers, and say something like this, “Hey, do you wanna be saved from eternal torment and the fiery pits of hell? If so, say the name of Jesus and pray to him! Voila! You’re saved!”
Duh. Um, who wouldn’t want to be saved from hell in such an easy manner?
The problem is, the people who taught me how to evangelize used Romans 10:13 out of context. In the passage, Paul is quoting Joel 2:32 which is actually talking about the end times.
This means, just because someone says the name of Jesus or recites a prayer does not automatically mean they are saved, and we would do well not to tell them that.
It’s a dangerous thing to tell someone they have eternal life for simply saying a word, potentially giving false hope based on their own action.
At the same time, we can have much hope! There might be even more people who will be saved than we could ever imagine. When it comes down to it, Christ is the judge.
Salvation is a gift from God, not a work of man.
Don’t tell someone they are saved because they did a certain something. Instead, grow with them in their knowledge and relationship with Christ, the one who saves.
All of these statements are true in a sense. They are also weird phrases Christians should never use nonchalantly.
Don’t confuse people.
Just love ‘em.