One of the more difficult betrayals to overcome is being hurt by the Church. Church should be safe, sheltering and accepting — but we forget the Church is filled with regular people who are hurting. Ever had someone slap a glib saying to your pain they think is helpful or well-meaning, but just comes off as insensitive, disingenuous, at best irritating?
Most of these aren’t said to be hurtful, but people never realize how hurtful these trite sayings are until it’s said to them. It’s not about owning another’s problems, it’s about loving another human in a way that makes them feel heard and seen. It really doesn’t take a lot of effort.
God will only give you what He knows you can handle (or this phrase’s inbred cousin God must trust you to be able to handle this).
When someone shares with you that they’re working through a huge disappointment/betrayal/hurt the last thing they need to hear is that God wouldn’t give them this trial if they couldn’t handle it, or that God must trust them a whole awful lot to handle this.
The last thing the struggling person feels (typically) is capable, competent, or strong. If they weren’t struggling, if whatever they’re facing or have just come through wasn’t a significant obstacle you wouldn’t feel the need to slap a bandaid on their pain to get out of the conversation. God overwhelms people, and I mean that in a lying-in-a-fetal-position-how-do-I-take-another-step way.
It’s only when we are forced to acknowledge we can’t fix/solve/work out this problem in our own strength and wisdom that we turn to God. Sometimes we get to the other side of those circumstances stronger and wiser, and sometimes we’re simply broken.
Life is messy. Lean into it.
Every time God closes a door he opens a window.
I hate this one. Ever read the book of Job? What about the story of Tamar (David’s daughter), Rizpah, Leah, Jephthah’s daughter, or Dinah? None of those women got a window, just a heavy door slammed in their faces. There was no rescue, no restoration. And not a bit of it was fair, or deserved, nor does the text suggest there was a greater good for their sacrifice. This happens to people all the time, and when the window doesn’t appear, when there’s no exit plan, they blame God.
I don’t understand why these kinds of disappointments and closed doors happen. If you’re one of those people who face closed door after closed door, take heart. God is shaping you, and has a plan to use you right where you are. The Bible doesn’t promise happiness, comfort, or rescue – in fact, most of the promises are for exactly the opposite. You choose how to react, how those experiences will mold your heart and shape your attitudes.
God helps those who help themselves.
*rolls eyes* There are all kinds of people in the world, and some people (intentionally or unintentionally) are co-dependent, perpetually needy, or always in a crisis. Sometimes those people need to do things for themselves to learn some independence, gain self-confidence, find some motivation and work ethic. But this saying doesn’t help them, nor does it help those who have hit the above-mentioned closed door. The implication is they wouldn’t have this problem, be in this situation, if they had worked/prayed/served hard enough. Blarg. GARBAGE!
Most of the time, this phrase is used by those unwilling to help. Period. They cite this as though it’s Scripture (and it’s not) and silence their conscience as they walk away.
God Loves You
This is true, but it’s trite and misleading. Absolutely, God loves you. 1John – God is love. The problem with this is that it’s an incomplete picture of God that sets people up to be disappointed and disillusioned. I serve a loving God who is merciful and long-suffering, but He is holy and just. We can’t ever forget that. I serve a God who heals the sick, sets the captives free, redeems the broken and downtrodden, but He is also the God of the flood, the God who sent a plague that killed 70 000 people for one man’s sin (2Samuel 24). His justice is swift and sharp.
You just need to press on and forget the past.
Based on repeated personal experience I can promise this doesn’t work. If you don’t deal with past hurts they linger and fester. They leave open wounds for bitterness and regret and whatever else to take root. It’s a recipe to lose your faith in yourself, in God, in Church, in people. And it’s a long, lonely and rocky road back to healthy living.
There are some hurts you need to own your part of, cut your losses and walk away from. You should take time to grieve a loss, acknowledge your own pain, or simply heal and recoup. But I’ve heard this said to victims of abuse, injustice, divorce. Really? Those are not the kinds of hurts you just “put behind you.”
Why, as a society, are we so quick to slap a bandaid on everything and pretend we’re OK? Why don’t we embrace the lament, why do we hide our pain, require those who mourn to do so alone and in silence — and with a smile on Sundays?
“Amazing Grace” is a song of lament and this is one of my favorite versions. I love The Tenors (formerly The Canadian Tenors). I had a chance to interview Victor Micallef of The Tenors (the one with the hat). He’s a sweetheart – so kind and humble. A must watch!
What trite or glib sayings have people thrown your way thinking they were being helpful?