Top 10 Christian Phrases I Never Want to Hear Again

Some of you may remember the phrases I never want to hear again, like “git ‘er done” and “I’m just sayin’.” This time, I’m picking on Christians (since I am one and all).

I’m just gonna say it–Christians say some stupid things. We think we are being spiritual, Godly, helpful, wise, encouraging, but really we are sticking our big stinky feet in our big open mouth.

There are quite a few phrases within the Church that irk me. I’m guessing you feel the same. Here are the Top 10 Christians phrases I never want to hear again…starting with…

1. “Guard your heart.” Yes, this phrase is scriptural and comes from Proverbs 4:23. I have usually heard this snippet of scripture  used in reference to a dating relationship. One girl would pray for another, something like this: “Lord please help her ‘guard her heart’ in this relationship with this particular boy…” What they really want to pray and what they really should pray is: “Lord, help her be sexually pure and stay out of bed in this relationship with this particular boy…” Just pray what you mean.

2. “I’ll pray for you.” Okay, this one is tricky, because I don’t want to judge. I want to believe that, when someone says they will pray for you, that will actually pray. I suspect, however, that all too often Christians throw this phrase out as a nice-ism to either make someone feel better or because they don’t know what else to say.

Side note: I take this phrase very seriously and I want you to know that when I say that I will pray for you on this blog, that I actually will.

3.  “Quiet time.” I’m going to be honest–I despise this phrase. It does not exist in the Bible (the concept does on some level, perhaps), yet we throw this around like law. Did you have your “quiet time?” Don’t forget  your “quiet time.” It goes on and on. How about setting aside time to be quiet before the Lord, yes, but also meeting with Him in the loud times, the crazy times, the exhausting times–basically throughout your day and throughout your life?

4. “I don’t feel led.” This is another time when you just need to say what you mean. More often than not, it’s not that we “don’t feel led,” but rather, we just don’t want to. Instead of being honest, we blame God, as if He was directing us elsewhere.

5. “It was the Lord’s will…” when something fails. Again, this is not always the case, but I have witnessed this phrase become a catch-all to excuse irresponsibility or sin. Perhaps a ministry, or church, or (worst of all) a marriage failed because responsible parties allowed it to fail. Perhaps it really wasn’t “the Lord’s will.”

6. “Hedge of protection.” I know this one is scriptural. It comes from the Book of Job, but wasn’t it Satan who actually used this phrase? So why would we pray it? I have caught myself start to pray it, as well, and I stop in my tracks. Again, pray what you mean.

7. “Walk with the Lord.” I don’t dislike this phrase, so much as I think it has become trite. More than that, we say this in front of unbelievers constantly and they must be thinking, “What the what?”

8. “Invite Jesus into your heart.” Again, I don’t despise this Christian-ism, however, I think besides not being entirely scriptural, it fails to communicate the fact that a life devoted unto Christ is the goal–total surrender, nothing less.

9. “Sinner’s prayer” or “Prayer of salvation.” This phrase is not Biblical. God reaches us all differently. Author Anne Lamott, knowing Jesus was calling her, just said out loud one day, “Ah, f*^k it.” That was the moment of her conversion, making Christ Lord. It ain’t pretty, but it’s reality.

10. “Jesus loves you.” It is completely 100% true. He does love you…and me.  A bumper sticker isn’t the way to communicate His love, however. Action is.

I know you have some to add and I can’t wait to hear them! What Christian phrases do you hope to never hear again? What Christian-isms really irk you?

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169 thoughts on “Top 10 Christian Phrases I Never Want to Hear Again”

  1. Ha, I love this. So awesome!

    I agree with you pretty much on every point. Especially the “I’ll pray for you”. It’s the modern day “I’ll call you for lunch” and it never happens. LOL.

    I would add, “I feel the Lord is telling me….” Whenever someone starts a sentence with those words, you can expect something harsh. Just saying!

    Hope you are well Nicole. Peace!

    1. I’m still trying to find in the Bible any mention of “the sinner’s prayer” or “asking Jesus into your heart.” I wonder if these hold the same anointing of Christian words on a t-shirt making it authentically Christian. I’ve struggled since I was 21 with “application” in my Christian walk, which I have held dear since I was a child. There’s got to be a higher calling than becoming like our white pastor who plays golf or our black pastor who says “Hallelujah”–with both of them, of course, having all the answers. (eye-role)

      One phrase that frustrates me is telling people, “God bless you.” Um…#1, doesn’t God call US to bless others?…#2, with the flippant use of this phrase–and all other Christianese phrases–at what point are we believers “using the Lord’s name in vain”?

      One problem in our evangelical modern culture is that we fear in heavy shame and guilt (not Christ-like) that to not include the Lord’s name in something is to deny Him. For example, as a kid, how anti-Christian it was to consider writing “X-mas” on Christmas storage boxes or on cards, because I took out the name of Christ! But…um…wouldn’t the Jews in centuries past even write “G-d”–not even willing to spell out His entire name–because our God is so holy and sacred?

      I think it all comes down to matters of perspective and conscience. Our light-weight perspective will be heavy for someone else’s shoulders to bear…so is a particular issue really worth putting on them?

      1. in the case of the “sinner’s prayer” and “asking Jesus into your heart” all are unbiblical, and not mentioned anywhere in scripture and are man-made articles. This is referred to as “formula salvation” or “easy-believism” and why most Calvinist disagree with “common grace or cheap grace”, say a sinner’s prayer which, if not genuine, is a ticket to sin and cheapening Jesus’ finished work on the cross. Placing false assurances and conversion into the hearts and minds of those when there may be none. This work is of the Lord and nothing we can do. But most Pastor’s who are teaching false doctrine like this one seek to surge the attendance records and membership and increase plate offering, and while some are genuinely concerned with one’s soul, most are not and want to boast all the more at the numbers and their church growth and how many souls they have supposedly won to Christ. When wanting to become a “Mega-Church” is more important then herding the flock and teaching correctly the gospel message, something is greatly amiss.This is a dangerous teaching and is targeted to the seeker sensitive unchurched.emergent movement. When someone is brought to Christ they can say a prayer resulting from the verse that say’s “if we will confess our sins and believe on the name of the Lord Jesus, we shall be saved”. Not adding to it or taking away from it which is in the habit of most Preachers. “Repentance of Sin” also unbiblical and has no business being in the plan of salvation. However, “Repentance” which means to turn or have a change of direction or change of mind” is appropriate to apply here. Jesus has already purchased us with his blood even bf we come to him, while we are enemies, so the “sin” part is already taken care of. We will seen, yes…we will grow in the Lord and learn to hate sin, absolutely! This is what they (Pastor’s) don’t teach you. The spirit of repentance is the work of the Lord. Jesus instructed Nicodemus to do what? Just Believe, not believe and turn from your sin, not believe and add good works, not believe and become church member, etc…No Jesus said, Just believe upon the name of the Lord and thou shall be saved!!!Teaching the truth about sin, hell and death is what is lacking in our churches today and that is why so many who have mouthed the sinner’s prayer are still lost in their sin and bound for hell but believe they are on their way to heaven. Why? bc they have not been taught biblical principles, it’s all about the numbers. As for the spelling of God’s name…again, Man-made junk…If Jesus bridged the gap to the Father so that we could have intimate personal connection, I believe God, in our finite minds, knows just how faulty we humans are.

  2. One thing I get sooo sick of hearing is the ‘Proverbs 31 woman.’ It’s more of this christian pop culture crap that says that you have to be married to be considered a woman of God. And also ‘submit.’ I see that used by people on some kind of a power trip. And don’t misunderstand, I’m not against leadership. This kind of thing is just taken too far.

      1. ” have a beef with the “Proverbs 31 woman” Well, not her exactly, but the pressure those passages place on women.”

        As a man, I’d rather have a Song of Songs 5 woman. The church doesn’t teach this, they teach good little quiet submissive church girl.

  3. I’d be perfectly content to never hear another person say, “Just give it to God.”

    Because that’s all well and good and even biblical, but how do you DO that? And what about bearing one another’s burdens? And weeping with those who weep? Some of that might make it easier for me to give it to God.

    1. Alise,

      I laughed as I read your comment because it is so true.

      It reminds me of “lay it at the foot of the cross. or “lay it at Jesus feet.” I understand the point, but not always the “How.”

      Awesome point too, that we are not meant to bear our burden’s alone and often times fellowship and accountability help us give things over to God.

  4. An interesting list! On the subject of ‘guard your heart’, I’ve heard it used genuinely, and not just meaning ‘stay out of bed with her boyfriend’. I think (in part) it comes from Josh Harris’ book, Boy Meets Girl, and how he recommends that we not only avoid rushing into overly physical dating relationships, but that we avoid getting too emotionally involved too quickly – sharing our entire life story and our deepest dreams and fears with someone we met last week.

    The rest of the list, I’m totally with you! Instead of ‘quiet time’, I just say, “I’m going to read my Bible”… simple enough, and it makes sense to non-Christians.

    What on earth is a hedge of protection?! Can’t say I’ve ever heard that one before! Maybe it’s just an American thing… ;)

    One that I’d add is ‘just’ (brought to my attention by the wonderful Jon Acuff). STOP SAYING IT IN PRAYERS, PEOPLE! Another prayer-tic I spotted the other day is when people go ‘tsk’ during prayer, ALL THE TIME. Usually right before they begin a sentence. I nearly got a massive attack of the giggles when I first noticed that EVERYONE was doing it…!

    1. Rachel,

      I take issue with the “guard your heart” phrase being used in reference to dating, because contextually that is not what the Proverb is discussing. Plus, I have seen girls use that phrase to prevent themselves from ever becoming emotionally close to anyone of the opposite sex, which is unhealthy in my opinion. But I totally see your point.

      I almost added “just” to the list. I didn’t know Acuff had written about it. It is “just” so annoying.

      I don’t know of people tsking, but “mmmm”ing during prayer. Same thing I guess and like you, I have to hold back the explosive laughter!

  5. My husband and I have discussed at length the term fellowship. The world doesn’t know what that means. My husband has remarked that it sounds cultish. Like I’m going to go fellowship with people from church, instead of I’m going to go hang out and eat tasty food with some friends from church.

    1. Oh, fellowship I can’t stand either! Mostly because it’s a noun that has been turned into a verb. It was always “let’s enjoy fellowship together” or “let’s share fellowship”, and in the past few years it’s become “let’s fellowship”. Annoys me to say the least!

    2. Prudence,

      I had never thought of that before! So funny. It does sound sort of cult, drink the kool-aid-ish.

      Oh no. Now I’m going to have to watch myself. Eek.

      Gosh, if we would just say what it is we are actually doing too, unbelievers would be so much more interested in participating.

    3. I think I know what you mean, and you’re totally right that the world doesn’t know what it means. However, the word fellowship is all over the Bible, so I think it’s totally appropriate for believers to use it and to understand it as the richness of the bond we have in Christ.

      1. I don’t think “fellowship” is a negative. Although, as someone else pointed out–to non-believers it just sounds weird. Sometimes we use our Christianese without thinking about it and I think it can be distracting or alienating to non-believers.

        I agree with using the word. I just wan to be careful when using those words around those that Jesus is trying to reach.

  6. The ones I hate the most are the bits of Christianese jargon. “Quiet time” goes under that heading, and it also sounds prissy and sissy. I’d like to add “mercy” as a verb (and any other trendy-pious verbing of nouns), “come alongside,” and “unpack that,” and then I’d like to repack them all in a nice bundle and send them to hell.

    1. I would also come along side you and send those to a life of eternal torment and fire.

      Can you believe people actually say those things, in real everyday conversation? It pains me.

      Love your comment. Thanks for sharing.

  7. WWJD!!!!! From when it first started, I cringe every single time I hear it or see it.

    Also in response to your #8 I recently heard someone quote someone else (I can’t remember names, sorry)saying “it is not so much about asking Jesus into our hearts as it is about us entering into His heart”. That has nothing to do with your blog today, I just like that take on it. =)

    1. I still use WWJD. I mean, I’m half kidding but sorta not.

      I think he phrase really does make you think, but it became so cliche, trite, and commercial (like most good things).

      I love that quote! It totally has to do with what I was talking about. Thanks for sharing Phoebe.

      1. When im upset with someone i have been known to say “WWMD” (What would Madea do) Ive always got s kick out of the way that this Tyler Perry character deals with people. In some instances id love to emulate her!

  8. Haha I love the “Hedge of Protection” one! What on EARTH does that even mean? I’d forgotten about it til you mentioned it. LOL! Another one that gets under my skin a little bit is when (and I’m probably guilty of this too) we pray that God would “be in this place” or “come be with us right now”. As a follower of Christ, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, and God has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. So to pray for Him to be with us seems to be a little overkill, or worse- that we don’t believe He already is. Again, not a huge deal, but for some reason that one just gets me :)

    1. Great one Emily. I just thought of that this week. I was with some believers and started to pray something like “Lord, be here” and I stopped and thought, “Duh, Nicole. He’s already here.”

      We get so influenced by Christian phrases that sometimes, even though we know they are wrong, we still use them. It’s lame.

  9. I cringed so many times. Sometimes because I say some of those things, and most of the time because I’ve experienced them.

    I don’t know if this is a particular phrase, but when people say, “At the conference/service/_____ this weekend, we had _____ people come to Christ!” *cheers*. And then….nothing changes. When there’s no follow through. Where there’s confession but no belief, and nobody’s invested enough to find that out. And more than anything, when we make a big specticle of something that, honestly, should only be the starting point. When we’re too busy cheering to disciple and actively enter the lives of the people who are now “followers of Christ.”

    1. Josh,

      Man. I love your comment!

      It is convicting and so true. I accepted Christ at a conference. I also walked away from God only 2 years later because I had no discipleship and no accountability. Not until I found those things, did I understand what it was to live for Christ.

      Thanks for commenting.

  10. A good list. Somewhat convicting on the “I’ll pray for you.” I feel bad when I just forget but it happens.

    I like the term Hedge of Protection and here’s why:
    The idea that I have always thought of it being is that it’s God placing a wall of protection around us against the bad things in the world. It’s a little more descriptive and specific then simply just saying “God protect them”

    That’s my $0.02

    1. Kelly,

      I like your $0.02. I understand the hedge of protection thing. I just don’t prefer it. Although, I have prayed that God would place angels of protection around people. Same kind of thing.

      As for “I’ll pray for you.” I would always forget and then the Spirit convicted me, big time. So I stopped saying it.

      That was no good either. I decided that when I said it, I would do it. It has changed the way in which I pray…and I’m thankful.

      Thanks for sharing Kelly!

  11. A personal non-fave fave is:”Where two or three are gathered there I am in their midst.” People use this scripture during prayer so often but it is SO far out of context…and also “I can do all things through Christ…” another HORRIBLY misquoted out of context scripture people use during prayer. Makes me feel so awkward because I want to correct them and tell them the context of the verses-but I haven’t yet because I know that their hearts are sincere.

    And I do have to say that “I got saved” has come to be pretty meaningless in our culture today-and irritating!

    1. Yes. We all have those verses that when taken out of context make us squirm.

      It would be nice to correct people, but as you point out, their heart is usually in the right place.

      “I got saved” makes me cringe by the way.

    2. Um, can you give an example of how those two scriptures are used out of context? They seem pretty self-explanatory.

  12. My list mainly involves how we use Christian phrases to dismiss someones genuine pain and suffering. It is almost as if we judge those who experience human pain and tragedy:

    “Give it to God” – While as a believer, I do lay my burdens at the feet of God in prayer, I often hear this when I open up and go to a trusted brother in Christ over some major problem in my life that I can’t solve. “Give it to God” has become a Christianese non-answer that people who have no advice give to somehow let me off easy. I’d rather hear someone say “I wish I had an answer for you, but I don’t. The best you can do is pray, and I’ll pray with you.”

    “God will never give you more than you can handle.” – Tell that to the thousands of martyrs who die or are at the very least tortured every day. Tell that to believers who have had a loved one pass away, a spouse blatantly cheat on them, or have struggled with a chemical addiction to the brink of death. I have seen people recover from all of these things, and I have seen people become consumed by them.

    “This too shall pass” – Something older members of my family like to say to sound biblical. Non advice when things are getting tough. Probably only said in my family so this doesn’t really count.

    “God is Awesome” (used in the context of death) – Guess what? God is in fact Awesome, but I hear this one overused all the time. The worst is when someone, especially a fellow believer is suffering with the loss of a loved one. It’s almost as if people in Christian circles are not allowed to be human and go through the full mourning process (a very healthy and necessary process). I have witnessed several fairly tragic losses that hit close to home in my adult life. While as a believer, I know that the person who passed is now in the presence of God, I know better than to use such statements in an attempt to alleviate the pain of those left behind. When someone loses somebody that they love, they don’t want to hear how “awesome” that event is, they just want their loved one back, like any other human being would.

    I could write 300 pages about dating, but I won’t…

    1. Joey,

      I so empathize with your list. I especially dislike the “God wont’ give you more than you can handle” lie, which I have written about before.

      I think you’re saying it all comes down to the need for honesty. If we don’t know what to say, it’s okay to say that.

      Everyone is looking for genuine, sincere, loving relationships, not superficial, trivial, catch-phrases.

      (I know you stopped yourself from commenting on dating, but I could guess some of what you’d say…)

  13. I love this post! The over-arching thought for me is that words that lose their meaning or that are irrelevant to others aren’t necessary.

    Being involved in a ‘church plant’ I have discovered that the phrase means nothing to anyone outside the church. I choose to refer to it as a ‘church start up’ because most people understand that.

    Super trendy words drive me nuts (intentional, relational, etc) because they completely loose their meaning due to over-use. They’re also not biblical, so I don’t care if they stay or go away.

    How about ‘love on’? Literally no one outside of the church I have encountered says this phrase. Why can’t we just say ‘love’? That’s much more normal.

    1. So well said Heather. When we begin to over-use phrases that are suppose to mean something, slowly they begin to mean nothing.

      “Love on” is a great example too of something that is so unnecessary. You’re right. Why don’t we just say “love”? It’s as if we think in order to make it Christian-y we need to alter it.

      No wonder people are often confused by Christians.

    2. Hear, hear! I cannot STAND “love on.” I suspect people use it to describe action, as opposed to sentiment. But still: it is *deeply* weird to non-Christians.

      1. Absolutely agree with the sentiments about “love on”. During college, I went to a bible study that was held in my dorm building, as well as large campus-wide weekly gatherings. My family is Catholic and I was familiar with the whole formal-ness of it all, however had never been to any kind of bible study, much less a young-Christian one. There was a big Christian population at the college and I figured it could be a good way to meet people and get more aligned with religion. The girls and leaders threw out SO many of these terms, especially “love on”! I have to say, the use of all those buzzwords and phrases was a huge turn-off! It always felt like they were saying all that stuff…while really saying nothing at all. It was as if these were phrases that had been imprinted in their minds, over and over, and each meeting was just an exercise in reciting them – then jumbling up the order for the next person to recite. I wasn’t sure how to “open my heart to Jesus and act with intention” while “loving on” those who didn’t have a “relationship with God”. Like, literally what did that mean?
        Quite honestly, I got the feeling that using that lingo made people feel like they were a part of something — and had little if anything to do with true spirituality and understanding of God’s word. Besides the confusion due to the void of clear, direct vocabulary, I myself didn’t want to adopt these words and didn’t want to be part of a group that came off as being so thinly bound to Christianity. Needless to say, I didn’t stick around for long, and to this day, the most vivid memory I have of those activities was the use of vague lingo! I’m sure those words become very engrained for lots of people, just verbal barf they are used to ejecting during meetings without thought as to how outsiders might interpret it. Sad that it had the effect of turning-off a potential new member. Makes me wonder exactly how they “love on” others… likely with lots of vague, not persuasive terms, much in need of some thought and revision.

  14. If someone has already said this forgive me but I wince when someone prays(and I’m guilty of it) “Lord be with….. ” Or “Lord go with…”. If we don’t add that does God say”Well I promised to be with you always but since you didn’t ask…..”.

  15. Yup, you’ve got it. The surrender piece is not likely to be coupled with social niceties. I know someone who is resisting surrender, I’m guesing the F word will likely be part of it when she does finally surrender…. no way it’s going to be pretty, jargon phrases for sure! Bring it on…. genuine surrender is messy stuff. I’m guessing some of those fishermen Jesus hung out with threw a course word or two from time to time as well.

    1. “Genuine surrender is messy stuff.” That is great! That could be a bumper sticker, but then it would be over-used and meaningless.

      I agree. I bet the disciples–those fishermen–certainly cursed on occasion. I mean, they saw some crazy stuff, after all.

  16. I grew up with many of these phrases and some of them can easily roll off my tongue without thinking. And yes I stop myself mid sentence too! God is the one who knows my motives for saying things and I pray He reveal when it’s just for “show” or because I lack compassion or even times of self deception.

    My husband on the other hand, did not grow up in the church and I see his faith – plain and laid out, no jargon or catch phrases – just someone who believes in God but doesn’t have to flaunt it with words lacking meaning.

    That said, even when I speak plainly, sans the jargon, my speech will be different from those who don’t believe in Jesus. I have had the opportunity to share my testimony to many non-believers, about my marriage, about God’s providence and God’s timing. And still, many walk away because they don’t desire to seek after God or see God at work. So even though at times I don’t want to use phrases SIMPLY to sound spiritual, I don’t want to water down my testimony either because God is glorified whether people understand it or not.

    And one more thing to add…while I’m talking your ear off!

    When I pray with my girls, I try to speak back scripture to them. “Your Word tells us…..and we believe and trust in you for that promise.” Or whatever. I am conscious about helping my children understand why we, as Christians, say certain things and it’s precisely the reason you said. I don’t want to toss around Jesus phrases like their a quotes from a Hallmark card.

    1. Melissa,

      I think you’re right. So many Christians use Christianese to sound spiritual.

      I love that you use scripture and pray scripture to your girls. I want to do the same. I once heard it said that the Word id the vocabulary of the Holy Spirit. It is a great practice to instill in them.

  17. I’m going to be laughing about this post all day!
    Check out Tim Hawkins on “hedge of protection” (don’t be drinking anything when you watch this or you WILL spit it out…

    See also his bits on prayer, “Just Just Father Father” and the thesaurus prayers (“lead us, guide us, show us the way”)and “bless this food to our bodies”

    He also has a wonderful bit on why you should RUN when someone tells you they see in you a “servant’s heart”!

    Bottom line, we have a culture and it should be one in which we can laugh at ourselves, and maybe try a little harder to say what we mean and mean what we say and be more accessible to those who aren’t “in” yet =o). Thanks for the giggles and the great reminder Nicole!

    1. I will admit, that I have never actually heard “traveling mercies” used in real-life. And I gotta be honest, I’m kind of glad about that fact.

      P.S. I kind of heart cynical Christians.

      1. Anne Lamott’s book (well, one of them) is “Traveling Mercies.” Funny, you mention her. I’ve met her and she is a VERY unconventional Christian, but she does have a genuine heart. Very funny person too!

  18. Love it! I’ve been reading your blog for a while (after meeting your hubs at Refresh Cache last year), but I had to pipe in after reading this post.

    Working on a church staff, I’ll add a couple that I think are worth of mention that I hear all the time:

    * “Doing life together”: Not sure there’s much better way to make yourself sound like a cult member. A lot like “fellowship” but with less Gandalf-awesomeness.

    * “Love the sinner, hate the sin”: I think this is by far my least favorite. It’s found nowhere in the bible. I hear this all the time when Christians address homosexuality. How do you reconcile that to a person who’s openly gay? Somebody whose identity lies within their sexuality? You’re basically saying “I hate you”. How is that supposed to be effective in any way? How does that communicate God’s love?

    * “… a peace”: Usually when dealing with pain or sickness. “Lord, please give them ‘a peace’ in their heart”. Really? What if I need 3 or 4 “peaces” because my heart is in pretty bad shape; and you’re only going to provide one? Now I have to find other people to help fill the void that you just created with insufficient prayer. Why are you being stingy with the peace, man?

    1. Jason,

      You bring up such good (by good I mean bad) Christian-isms. “Doing life together” is so cult-like and uber-creepy.

      “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” I despise this phrase and think it causes so much harm to the Church.

      Thank you for commenting and sharing these.

  19. Whoo boy. We’re using the basic concept of the Wordless Book in our ministry as one of the tools to share the gospel message – telling the gospel story using colour.

    We’re not using the bok per se, more a stylised diagram. But the original “how to use the Worldess Book” was written in the early 1970s and I’ve had to do a complete re-write. The “how to” is riddled with hippy-influenced evangelical jargon – just about every no-no mentioned above apears!

      1. What doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger. :-s

        Another one I saw recently was a Christian author writing about another male he’d never met calling him and having a conversation, so he invited him to visit his house so he could “love on him”. Is that an American thing? To the Australian ear it sounds very Mardias Gras.

        1. “Love on” is apparently an American thing, unfortunately.

          We use it when we are talking about broken people or unbelievers. We’re gonna “love on” them…meaning show them love.

          I wish we would stop being creepy and just say “show them love.”

          1. Actually, the first time I heard that phrase was in a secular context–someone was talking about loving on their pets.

          2. “Love on” is definitely an American thing. I live in Toronto (Canada) and I picked the term up from my boyfriend who’s in California.

            I get funny looks from the Canadians whenever I use “love on” instead of “show love”. They’ll get used to it eventually.

          3. Nicole,
            Excuse me, I have been hearing the phrase “broken people” a lot recently, always connected with the idea that all Christians are “broken people” and are on a journey to wholeness or that “broken people” is a name for humanity with the effects of sin… but I can’t find or think of any passage that talks about humanity or believers this way. Sin has marred all of creation, but brokenness as far as I can see biblically is a great thing, for blessed are the brokenhearted (Matt. 5) and “the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” ( Ps. 51:17). Brokenness is worship, not something wrong or fixed. Can you tell me if I am missing a passage and biblical meaning/application of the phrase? As far as I can tell it’s anot her modern heresy, tickling people’s ears but I want to be sure… I would appreciate you time in response!


  20. Ha! Great list! I enjoyed your points. I think “I’ll pray for you.” has become a thorn in the side of many Christians who question if people are really praying for the hundred people a day they say that to. Or they just use “praying” as an excuse to share gossip with others, cause they care so much. My husband wrote some interesting thoughts on this topic.

    I also get so sick of “I don’t feel led,” you nailed that one!

    One I’ve also heard is that God wants us to “plant people in the house of God,” which is used as an excuse to harass people into joining their church and bad mouthing other churches. When I had heard that phrase 3 or more times in one conversation I asked the person where in the Bible that was mentioned. As you can guess, she didn’t have an answer.

    Great post! Thanks!

    1. Carla,

      Thanks for sharing your husband’s post. It’s true, we often use the “I’ll pray for you” line to pass long some juicy tidbits of the latest gossip.

      I haven’t heard that “plant people…” phrase, but I can see how that concept can be destructive and misused.

      Thanks for sharing and commenting here. Your husband’s blog is smart. Great content. Blessings.

  21. As a Catholic, can I add:

    “Just offer it up.”

    Gah. I am a firm believer in gracefully accepting whatever crosses we’re handed in life, but this line always grates on me.

  22. oooh Another one that is deceptively misleading is the misquote of “He will never allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear,” (1 corinthans 10:13) in that people console one another with the trite phrase “He will never give you more than you can handle.” How the heck did we manipulate that verse into that belief?! This verse is addressing temptations, not trials!
    Of course He never gives us only what we can handle–how else would we depend on Him? We are never meant to handle it all, or even parts of it, alone. We are to act responsibly with the daily bread with which we are provided (and not go freaking out trying to buy a Sam’s Club month supply of bread so we can convince ourselves that we will be OK for a long while).
    This ultimately means (from what I understand!) that we make the best decisions we can with what we know now, and the “give it over to God” means that as we do we surrender our expectations and desires for the ideal outcome according to our human understanding. We have to remind ourselves that He is faithful to provide and has sovereign control! :]

    1. You hit the nail on the head! I should have had this one on my list because I find it so damaging in the church. How do all these Christians think that God won’t give you ore than you can handle? Wasn’t going to the cross more then Christ “could handle”? I’m not even sure what that means.

      If you are interested, I wrote a whole piece on this very phrases and God’s truth, being as you stated, 1Corinthians 10:13.

      Thanks for the great addition to the list.

  23. Ok.. could chat about a ton but had to mention the prayer thing. It is one of personal conviction for me …. When I say I will pray for someone I make sure I DO, often I do it right then so I do not forget! And I KNOW you will when you say it.. it’s funny… something about how you say it I just know it’s real.. sincere. It’s been very comforting as a friend to KNOW… you REALLY do!

    I think this phrase in particular is a prickly one because I have family that uses the “just pray that……” line so many times and my thoughts are… are you praying that? Is this something you’re really taking to God? Because in the entire context of the request it seems more like a “catch” phrase then a true heart of the matter. (probably another phrase that annoys but what can I do)

    I have to mention one of my own “annoyances”.

    I used to actually think the out of this… Oops I mean NOT of this World bumper sticker looked kinda cool the first time I saw it a few years ago. Then I thought… ya know, seems kind of self righteous to be running around letting everyone know that you are too good for them. I completely get what Not of this World Means in the Christian sense and that those having the sticker have good intentions. I completely understand the statement trying to be made. I am just not sure it’s the best loving example of Jesus to make this statement to the world via your vehicle.

    Especially if you happen to drive like me… hey, maybe it could take a new context?

    1. Great point Jen. “Not of this world” stickers are for believers only. Non-Christians don’t know what the heck that means. You’re right, it sounds snobbish and stuck-up. I never thought of that…

  24. your whole list is on mine! I’ve been realizing more and more that I was taught and raised to pray in a different language. I’m not even talking about tongues. that’s a whole nother issue for a whole nother day. but I was indeed taught to have a prayer language. to use words and phrases that I never normally would, and that I never understood the meanings of anyway. like “hedge of protection”. I mean really!? bunnies can frickin get through hedges, never mind the devil! I think I should be praying for something a bit more protective than a shrub. “plead the blood of Jesus” and “lift her up to You” are high up there too.

  25. I don’t want to hear the following: “Just get out of God’s way” or “I am staying out of God’s way” – what does that mean? “I feel the Lord wants _________” “God told me to _____ ” “Whatever He wants for me” “I only want to honor HIm” (can you do that and take care of some regualr non-churchy stuff too?)

    I want people to think and speak clearly, and things like “God told me” are manipulative and conversation-enders. Just having a hard time hearing the Christian-ese these days and asking about it, only to get a blank stare. The folks who say it dont know what they are saying either.

  26. I don’t want to hear the following: “Just get out of God’s way” or “I am staying out of God’s way” – what does that mean? “I feel the Lord wants _________” “God told me to _____ ” “Whatever He wants for me” “I only want to honor Him” (can you do that and take care of some regular non-churchy stuff too?)

    I want people to think and speak clearly, and things like “God told me” are manipulative and conversation-enders. Just having a hard time hearing the Christian-ese these days and asking about it, only to get a blank stare. The folks who say it dont know what they are saying either.

  27. Christian jargon we don’t want to say or hear are anything we believe is true spoken to someone we talk to in an untimely situation or in any way unrelated situation.
    In other words, saying things without sensitivity.

  28. I will admit that there are some words and phrases that Christians tend to over-use, and that some are not genuine. But the Word cautions against disagreement. If someone is praying (in group prayer)and using words and phrases mentioned in your list, some of which I too have heard oh so frequently, it is not for me to assess whether they mean it or not. My duty is to agree in prayer. Further, as a mature believer, it our duty to seek info if we don’t understand. If someone prays asking for a hedge to be built around them (which I still do, becomes it holds significant meaning to me), I agree with them, because by agreeing, there is greater strength in prayer. There is just simply too much division in Christ’s Church. And pleading the Blood is real warfare, certainly not an empty expression. Those who don’t understand should seek wisdom, not condemn it for lack of understanding. Finally, it is only the Holy Spirit who has the task of searching men’s hearts to see if they are genuine. Be careful that you don not trespass on His authority with your criticisms. Bless (or is this a pet peeve too, lol).

  29. So interesting – I love this! Having been raised in the Bible Belt, I recently spent a number of months doing public relations for a mission organization in the Arab world. Talk about a challenge!!! I meticulously scourged my vocabulary of “Christianese” words – until then, I didn’t realize how MANY there are! But it was a great exercise for me to be forced to articulate my values using secular, “normal” language only. When I couldn’t use the words themselves, I learned so much about what they actually MEAN.
    I totally agree with you that we should stop using what I now consider to be cop-out phrases!

  30. I’m going to push back little against the “hedge of protection”. For me that is a very powerful image and I believe it to be taken straight from Hosea 2, when the LORD put up a hedge of thorn bushes to protect Gomer, not to hurt her, but to protect her. Unless she willingly walks through the thorns, she will not be hurt by then.
    I also see it in 2 Kings 6 when G-d surrounds the Aramean army with an army of angels and chariots of fire. If that isn’t a hedge of protection, I don’t know what is.
    And lest you become convinced that these are only things that happened in Bible times, remember that we serve the same LORD today that they served then.
    You may call me crazy if you wish. It won’t bother me much, but more than once I have been able to see the armies of angels surrounding a person or a group of people, and that is a hedge that no devil can get through, unless he is invited through. When the LORD’s people pray for a hedge of protection, he is faithful. He does send his angels and they do form a pretty formidable hedge.

    1. Joy,
      I did get some flack from other readers about the “hedge of protection” comment. I was told it comes from the book of Job. I didn’t do my homework prior and wasn’t aware that it was actually a scriptural reference. That being said, I do have to take back some of my former reaction tot he phrase. It’s still not my favorite, but I appreciate that it is in the Bible. And like you said, it does create great imagery of a host of angels surrounding us in our time of need.

  31. I’ve grown up in church so all of these hit SO close to home. I say them SO much that it is ridiculous. This has challenged me to get even more REAL! Especially “I’ll pray for you” and then half the time I don’t. Thank you for getting honest with us and being real. That’s my goal.

  32. I hear you here. I understand what you’re saying. As a Christian, I know I’ve thrown out some trite phrases and I know I’ve used God as an excuse when it wasn’t ever Him.

    But I think we need to be gracious. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Usually, when people say these things, they are saying them out of a loving heart. God doesn’t care about our words, period. He cares about our hearts. And I’d hate to make people feel like they need to talk on egg shells around me because I’m annoyed with what they’re saying.

    1. Katie,
      I so agree. I myself have certainly done and said things that are not only annoying, but plain wrong. grace always abounds.This post is meant to be satirical in tone though. I think Christians need to do a better job at laughing at themselves sometimes.

      Thanks for stopping over and commenting.

  33. I do agree with Katie completely. Also, I think it’s pointless to be annoyed with Christian phrases (sorry!) It seems to me here that your root problem with Christianese is the dishonestly of the people using it.
    If you knew someone completely understood what they were saying and totally meant it, would it bother you?
    What seems to bother all the commenters here is that they’ve experienced Christianese as disingenous. It’s sad but there are fake people everywhere and finding them in a church that’s supposed to be truthful and real (because Jesus was) can be disheartening, and even make people get bitter and disillusioned. I’m sorry for everyone’s experiences here. That said, it’s pretty easy for us to judge everyone else and it would probably surprise us to find others who think we’re fake. Hmmmm. Can fakeness be subjective? That is, subject to perspective and opinion?
    LOL Too much food for thought in the morning. Thanks for the interesting post though. I came over from Heather S’s blog.

  34. I am with you! Visiting via Heather Sunseri. I think you summed it up by saying that actions speak louder than words. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from St. Francis (i think!? — need to look it up) – “Share the gospel always, when necessary use words!”

  35. I’ve been keeping a mental list similar to this one. I’m glad to see so many other people on the same page.

    DTR (define the relationship) genuinely irks me.

    There’s no particular reason why it irks me aside from it being overused. Conveniently enough, my boyfriend introduced me to this term shortly before our relationship began.

    Is DTR a relatively new Christianese term? I’ve only come across it over the past two years or so, which is unfortunate because I’m already sick of hearing it…

    1. DTR isn’t a Christianese term. I don’t even think it originated among Christians. Christians are probably more likely to use it because they are more likely to feel a need to clarify their intentions to the other person.

  36. Great article. I also hate “love the sinner, hate the sin”. It’s so trite and holier than thou, but then so are way too many Christians. Thank God Jesus wasn’t a Christian :-)

    I also get annoyed when people say “God laid it on my heart”. On my heart? If I stand up awkwardly will it fall off?

    But my pet hate is when people, even highly respected pastors, seem unable to pray without starting every sentence with “Father we jus”, or “Lord we jus”. Over and over.

  37. I am completely with you. Be real! This is my mantra. Every time I pray i start with “Hey God..” not “OH ye Dear precious Lord God Who art in heaven yea verily…”

  38. You’ve got some great ones here! Having spent my entire life in “the Church,” I didn’t realize how much Christianism I spoke until I moved to a different culture.

    I have a particular pet peeve with church-specific language, such as AMEN instead of YES. Somehow the proper answer to the question, “How many of you came here to worship the Lord tonight?” is AMEN, but step out the door of the building and try saying AMEN to “Who wants to go to the buffet after service?”

    On that line, why DO we ask who came to church to worship/get a blessing/hear from the Lord/etc? Maybe we expect that someone’s gonna stand up and admit, “Well, I came to see if there were any hotties here,” or “I came because my wife pressured me into it.” Nah, they’ll just say AMEN.

  39. I hate songs with lyrics about ‘running to God’s arms’. Yes, I’m picking on Hillsong. How exactly can you run into God’s arms when God is inside you? Ridiculous.

    Here are more (just because I am in a particularly snarky mood this morning):

    1. I’ll pray a hedge of protection around you. A hedge? Really? I keep picturing the Knights who say Nee and their golblasted shrubbery.

    2. This too shall pass. ***bristle***

    3. Our church DNA is…. So, if I don’t agree with you, I must not be made up of the same body.

    1. Sarah, oh man did I need (and enjoy) your additions to the list this morning.

      A hedge? Yes! How about a concrete wall.

      This too shall pas. I’m so with you. My skin is crawling.

      Church DNA. Don’t even get me started. My former church used this one and it made me want to scream. Out loud. A lot.

      You rock! Thanks for sharing!

  40. I know I have no right whatsoever to judge how anybody prays. I just wanted to get this off my chest. It irks me a little when people fill in their prayers with “Father God” or “Lord Jesus” when they pray publicly. Thank you “Father God” for this day “Father God” because “Father God” you hath made it “Father God”Amen “Lord Jesus”… “Father God”. I hear people pray this way & it honestly distracts me the during the whole prayer. I don’t mean to say that they are insincere; I just can’t listen to prayer with “fill ins” and not be distracted.

  41. I hate it when christians are constantly saying “God laid this upon my heart…” it may be true sometimes but to do it all the time, it’s better i think just to say what you hear from God without always announcing that He told you so every time. it’s like bragging

    1. Mel, so true! Did I have this one on the list can’t remember, but it really irks me too. It sounds pretentious, forced, and sometimes like a lir. I mena, God does lead us to certain conclusions. The Spirit certainly guides us, but this one has become trite and people often use it as an excuse to not do something. God laid it upon my heart to not witness to my neighbor. Oh really? Really?

  42. The Serenity Prayer. It’s most famously used for Alcoholic’s Anonymous, but I’m specifically referring to Christians who push the Serenity Prayer when what they really mean to say is “don’t rock the boat.” Less emphasis, of course, is placed on the part of the prayer that says “the courage to change the things I can” in favor of just accepting everything with passive serenity.

  43. I could do without “traveling mercies” lol. also i could very well do without people feeling like they need to use the phrase “Father God” in between every single sentence of their prayers (kinda like saying “um” except they fill that in with “Father God”)…… or people who talk a certain way and that is their norm, but then when they start praying, they switch to their “reverent voice”. hahaha just stuff that annoys but cracks me up at the same time.

  44. I wanted to comment about this ‘hedge of protection’. It is biblical and comes from the book of Job. God asks Satan if he has considered Job (1:8-10) and Satan basically says why bother, you have a hedge of protection around him. God protected Job and everything Job touched from family to business to health. Blessings like that is something I personally want and would expect every Christian to as well. :)

  45. A word that drive me crazy is: The word “relevant”. Ok, so you are trying to be a cool church or a hip pastor.

  46. Great writing. My least favorite is “Let go and Let God!”. Seriously? Let go of what? I can’t stand cliches. What I also hate is when you say a part of a bible verse that most people know, that’s when everyone start jumping up and down and “Ummm huh!” and “Amen!!!”. Sometimes those scriptures have nothing to do with what is being said. “You are going to die tomorrow, but THEY that WAIT…..”

  47. I love it when people start a sentence with, “I’m not judging you but…” It almost always guarantees that the next thought spoken will be full of judgement.

  48. I’m a retired clergy and still working filling in for a small congregation…I understand perhaps where you’re coming from with all this, but you know…people are people and these things will always be said amongst Christians and reallly there’s nothing wrong with most of them and I fear that soon we will become so ‘politically’ correct that we will be afraid to say anything to encourage each other…. I haven’t arrived yet, I’m still learning on this journey and maybe I say the wrong things sometimes but my heart is sincere and I don’t feel that I should be judged when I do things in a genuine way…

    1. I understand your concern and sentiment. To be fair, however, these phrases and my remarks are made to poke at the sore spots in the Christian culture, not to judge others. I admit, in this very post, that I have said some of these things myself. The Lord taught me long ago to not judge another’s intentions or motives. However, what I try to do and what this blog is dedicated to, is a call for Christians to stop living cookie-cutter, safe, legalistic, and/or lukewarm lives of faith.

      Not always, but very often, I find these Christian-ism’s to be associated with one or more of the aforementioned types of faith. I never, never, want to make anyone feel isolated, picked-on, or judged. I do, however, hope to make us (myself included) more aware of the ways in which we water-down our faith or simply begin going through the motions because as I’m sure you know, a life in pursuit of Christ should and can be so much more.

  49. Thanks for the post. I see the point of the post/discussion being that words matter and that we shouldn’t be lazy and fall into the trap of settling for easy, trite, spiritual-sounding code words. It’s particulaly challenging for me as a communicator!

  50. Here’s a big one:

    “Avoid even the appearance of evil.”

    This is often badly misunderstood. It DOES NOT MEAN “Avoid doing something that looks like evil, even if it isn’t actually evil.” Now, sometimes this could be good advice in the Romans 14 “Don’t do something that will confuse or offend someone else and prompt them to evil b/c they have different beliefs than you” sense, but only sometimes – and it is objectively not what 1st Thess 5:22 is saying. But yet people continually mistake this to be saying that there are some things that are not sin but that we should avoid because they might seem sinful.

    Point 1: The verse divisions were added later. 1st Thess 5:21 & 22 comprise one piece of advice in three parts: Test everthing (to find out if it’s good or evil). Hold on to it if it’s good. Avoid it if it’s evil. It’s a type of parallelism – hold onto the good, get rid of the evil. Much like “Don’t be overcome by evil. Overcome evil with good.” The idea isn’t even present of something that isn’t evil but resembles evil , except in this sense: if something merely resembles evil: test it to find out – keep it if good, reject it if evil.

    Point 2: Jesus did a lot of things that seemed evil to many people. Clearly the Son of God did not believe that he should avoid both actual sin AND things that appear to be sin – he only believed in avoiding actual sin. Accepting kisses from a prostitute appeared to be evil. Letting his disciples pick grain on the Sabbath looked sinful. Wrecking the shops at the Temple sure seemed wrong.

    Point 3: The confusion’s source lies in the ambiguity of “appear”. A good translation would pick a different word that can’t be interpreted another way. “To appear” can mean to resemble something. But “To appear” can also mean “To suddenly exist in a place” e.g “The magician appeared out of nowhere”. This SECOND meaning, not the resemblence meaning, is the one in 1st Thess 5:22. So likewise “appearance” can mean “the way something looks” or it can mean “the act of appearing” much like entrance means “the act of entering”. So, “Avoid every appearance of evil” means “Avoid evil any time it shows up”

    As a corollary, if a guy named Bob is annoying you to no end and your friend says “Avoid every appearance of Bob”, your friend probably means “If Bob appears on the scene, avoid him” and probably doesn’t mean “Avoid any person who looks like Bob”

  51. Very sad and yet so true. We, as Christians, need to think about what we say and whether or not we’re really meaning it. Our words should be that which glorifies the Lord and express His perfect loving character.

    I would add “I’m just a sinner saved by grace!” to my own version of your list..
    Oh really, So everything Jesus did on the cross was for nothing? Why are you still dragging around your old man that died when you became alive in Christ? Just my opinion.. Lol

    We need to change that to: I was a sinner and now, that I’ve been wash by His blood, I’m a saint saved by grace!

    Sarah from
    The Hem of His Garment
    Word press

  52. I’m so with Dave Helms on this one. The use of old English in prayers. What the WHAT?!? Because as we all know, the Almighty personally penned the King James Version and speaks the king’s English. Thee, thou, and thy should be allowed in “Words for Friends,” Enlighs lit classes, and no where else in 2012….

  53. Here’s the one that irks me ad nauseam: “If you just have more faith then . . . {fill in the blank}.” Well, just how much faith do I need, exactly? I’ve experienced certain health issues, lost loved ones and friends to terminal illnesses, and a slew of other things . . . and this phrase has reared its ugly head by well-meaning but clueless people.

    It really annoys me when I hear this one repeated over again to people who then feel like they’re not “walking with the Lord” (from your #7), since they “don’t have enough faith”.

    Thanks for bringing to light particular Christian-isms that I also wish wouldn’t be tossed around so glibly. I think that’s the root of these types of phrases, which show little forethought or depth.

    As you basically said, just say what you mean, rather than throwing out a catch-phrases which are all too easy to do.

  54. I’ve been a christian for 50 years, since a very small child and I am realizing the older I get, the less I know. My husband and I have been down a very difficult road and life’s crap has brought me to a point of despising some points of Christianity, one of them being the cliches. Yet, through it all, we love the Lord more than we ever have.

  55. In addition to all the fine examples listed here, high on my list is: “let’s unpack this.” I mean is this a church service, or UPS? What are we unpacking? Have we gone on a trip? Is this luggage we’re talking about, or the Bible?

    And who’s speaking–a pastor, or the TSA?

    “Let’s unpack this.”

    Just sayin’. ;-)

    1. Chad,
      Yeah, I have to agree. I’ve been hearing “unpack this” more and more as of late. At first I thought it was a useful little metaphor, but now it’s become kind of trite and over-used. {sigh} …just like everything eventually does.

      1. How about “watch this”…This phrase is used allot while having conversations in Christian circles or groups, much like my one Christian friend say’s all the time when we discuss or debate theology. At the foot of the cross, we are all on equal ground. As a Christian, I am seeing the awful truth of his narcissistic prideful side filled with alter-ego overtones and even bigotry. Does He say lines like this in the off chance he’ll get noticed and score some recognition from his peers or is he emulating someone? I’ve also heard it expressed in sermons around the globe and being preached in Mega Churches much like the modern day popular stage-preacher widely critiqued by his peers by his new book and known as “Charles Stanley”. He uses this line allot…Maybe that’s where my friend got it..Don’t get me wrong, I like some of Charles Stanley’s teachings, but his recent book has some serious flaws…Is this also birthed in ego? I’ll admit it if no one else will, that Charles can give off a much condescending tone in his teachings. At first, I began to feel like the line in the movie “talk to me like I’m a second grader”, came to me right away….as if I’m not intelligent enough to keep up with you…or, you might think i suffer from ADD?? Dunno, but it makes me cringe.

  56. Lol!! I particularly find the voice change when someone begins to pray a bit amusing. But I myself am trying to find the balance since God is my best friend and I can include some OMG’s in my prayers, but at the same time He is my Master and Father..

    And yes, I have been guilty of many of these.. His grace is always suficient! Thanks for the post! :D

  57. The LORD told me. Most people use t5his to avoid accountability and examination of their motives or the appropriateness of their decisions. I also agree with the oft used; “I’ll pray for you.” I am convinced most people seldom give you athought after you leave their presence. Too many in-house speak for me in the church today.

  58. Since I haven’t used these phrases, does that mean I am not a Christian? ;)

    “Bless his heart” is a phrase that often is placed next to a derogatory comment. “He’s so clumsy all the time, Bless his heart.”

    “She has no clue how slutty she dresses, bless her heart”

    What? What??

  59. How about: “Have you found Jesus?” I see that on a banner all the time. I did not know he was lost!

    Another: “Accept Jesus as your personal savior.” Every time I hear this phrase, I am reminded of the movie, “Saved!” It denotes that your life will come together in a magical way by simply saying the words.

  60. I especially like the one, “I’ll pray for you.” I used to say that, but “”I’ve finally learned to say, “I’m praying right now.” This way I’m actually doing it at the very moment I read or hear someone’s need.
    But more than anything…I get really put off when people blast huge pictures of their version of what Jesus looks like on FB, and ask you to click a like button. Run! Please stop with this kitschy offensiveness. Please! Just lift up your feeble head and ask, “Do you know the Jesus I know? The one who knelt in the dirt, held mud in his hands, touched the “gasp” lepers, slept in cornfields, ate food with his hands, used a dung heap for a bathroom like everyone else (No Cottonelle here). He didn’t have a hair salon or 24-hour dry cleaners…so he could pick up his expensive suit, starched dress shirt, and tie…to sit on the grass and feed thousands of people after breaking smelly fish with his just manicured hands. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but I hope this might help someone re-think how they view Jesus. His purity and beauty came from his inner holiness because he was God, but he also sat in the dirt with common broken man. Whew…you can get a real picture of Jesus by seeing who he was and how he reached us, jagged pieces and all, and what his character was like by reading about his words and actions brought to us via his followers and embedded in us by the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, once we allow him in. He invited people to follow, and every invitation was unique to the individual. Okay…I’ll stop.

  61. A hearty “laugh out loud” is all I could muster on this one.
    How about:
    “The Lord knows my heart”
    “tapping in to His presence”
    “But I’m not claiming that” (when speaking of something unfavorable that could happen)
    “don’t speak thus and so into existence”
    And so and so forth……

  62. This is not specifically Christian, although I hear it a lot in the church which makes it particularly painful when it’s said in all seriousness…”Put your big girl panties on”. Ugh. Really? In essence we are saying – Put some fresh lipstick on, smile and show the world what you’ve got!

    The other one I hear all the time is “I’ll pray about it”. A lot of times when I catch myself saying it I really mean “I don’t want to give you an answer to your face” ;) lol!

  63. Date God
    Stop focusing on boyfriend, girlfriend, focus on God
    are you sure you are suffering because your will is contrary to God?

  64. I just came across this, but it’s a great list! I have to share 2 that really bug me: 1. “LEAN INTO the Word” and 2. “wreck,” as in what happens when we feel especially convicted of something. They’re both great images, but we don’t all have to describe our experiences in that way.

  65. Wow I really enjoyed this article and had to read it three times back to back. A new one that gets on my nerves is S.W.A.G. (Saved With Amazing Grace) I want to punch who ever came up with that one grrr jk ;p Hmmm, there is also “Jesus is my co-pilot”, “God told me to tell you…” oh boy so many more lol.

  66. One that gets me is “God brought me to it, He’ll bring me through it.” As if the horrible event that a person is dealing with is God’s fault. Let’s be honest…most people create their own storms and then cry when it starts to rain. God didn’t bring you to it…your sin brought you to it…your rebellion brought you to it….your lack of surrender brought you to it…..and repentence and obedience will bring you through it. His grace will bring you through it. Your faith in His sovereignty and holiness will bring you through it. Let’s everyone stop blaming God for the heaping pile of poo we create, then step in and expect someone else to clean off of us.

    oh and when public prayer is used to reiterate points, to address the congregation, recap the service, or typed out over facebook.

  67. Church always say- “Go and sin no more, then I wont condemn you.” But, Jesus said to the woman caught in the adultery” Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11)

  68. My pastor is very cheesy… and I am not. He says things like:

    “Jesus loved you this much …” and he’ll spread out his arms, “that he spread his arms and died for you.”

    Or he’ll say:

    “Just like your child will run up to snuggle on your lap, sometimes it’s good to just climb up on Jesus’ lap and have him give you a big hug”

    – or something like that. I love my pastor… but phrases like that make me want to barf. I NEVER imagine cuddling on Jesus lap. I imagine hi-5ing with him, or if I’m really upset, maybe Jesus would pop an arm around my shoulder.

    1. That imagery doesn’t reach you, but it might reach someone else. I didn’t use to imagine very much about God, but now I do get imagery from Him, sometimes of Him embracing me, or patting me on the head – just brief imperfect images, and it’s more the sensation that I notice, and it’s not very often, but it comes when I need it, and it’s a reminder that yeah, I am loved a TON, and that yes, He is with me, right then and there, and He sees me and I am important to Him.

  69. Christian comedian Tim Hawkins has some great riffs on these kinds of phrases and practices – the hedge of protection, a servant’s heart, wanting to love on you… check him out on Youtube!

  70. The phrase “traveling mercies” is beyond me. Why not pray for safety and protection instead? It makes so much more sense. LOL

  71. I don’t know if this phrase was ever covered, but how about “God will never give you more than you can handle”? Our pastor did a sermon on this phrase, and he pointed out that this particular phrase is NOWHERE in the Bible, in any translation. It’s just a feel-good phrase that Christians tell each other to make ourselves feel better. The fact is that God will give us more than we can handle to get us to rely on Him rather than on ourselves.

    Great article, btw.

  72. I feel a bit unsatisfied when I let a “God bless” out. You know – in parting. Maybe I should just stick with “bye”.

  73. In my opinion, what’s wrong is not the phrases but the way it’s used for or for whom it’s being spoken ( perhaps by religious, perhaps by Naamans full of leprosy). Being wise and knowing apply all these shall be great.

  74. I sick of hear “purpose driven”, or “what is God’s purpose.” We have all new Jesus jargon. Launch this, target that, what is your churches DNA. Next it will be, “I will take a Jesus burger with my happy meal.” I’m sick of the commercial marketing of my Savior, and the denigration of His holiness..

  75. I read through the article and every comment. I concur, in North American churches there are many many phrases that are highly overused, to the point where they lose significance, and also that there are many, many people in the North American church culture who are simply adherents rather than sold-out, born-again, Bible-believing Jesus followers; fact of life. Complaining about it does nothing to change things. I get that the article is an exposé, to encourage others to evaluate what it is that they are saying exactly, but most of the comments that follow are simply complaints, and as another commenter, Lisa mentioned, we don`t need more division in the church. We don’t need another enlightened group looking down on the ignorant sheep, that are in this case, spewing out ‘Christianese’.

    “I hate it when people say _____. Just sayin’.” “They always say ______ in their prayers; bless their heart!” “They use _______ phrase all the time. God knows their heart!”

    How is that any different?? Sure it can get frustrating, if we focus on it, but it’s not like it’s a new phenomenon (there’s nothing new under the sun). Many of these word or phrases are very good, and should be redeemed through correct usage vs. being kicked to the curb by ignorance. Make it a habit of using them purposefully with understanding, or for those with scriptural roots, use the direct scripture instead. Don’t throw the baby with the bathwater.

    Katie Nelson also had an excellent response.

  76. The one “Christian” phrase I absolutely detest is “God has a plan for you.”
    I can’t count how many times I’ve wanted to whack someone upside the head for saying this to me every time I mention some personal issue in my life.
    I think these phrases comes from how both our church and American culture implicitly states that we always have to say something to somebody whether it is needed or not.
    Oftentimes, these phrase are more about our assuaging our own feelings than genuinely helping the person we’re supposed to be supporting in some fashion. As an introvert, this “cultural rule” needs to die, period.

  77. As a new believer in my late 30s I attended Bible school for a couple of years and this word fellowship kept coming up. A friend of mine who was also a new believer finally asked me one day what it meant, I told him, “I have no clue but every time I hear it food usually follows so I just go along.” I was in the Marine Corps for many years and the language of the Christian culture often reminds me of the acronyms we were so fond of. Only those on the inside understood what we were talking about.

  78. I cringe when I hear “God never gives us more than we can handle”…Seriously, If you say this then I doubt you have ever been challenged in your walk with the Lord…


    “God helps those who help themselves”…would this be included in your downright narrow-mindedness that a starving, homeless, or abused 5 yr old could help themselves?…or How about their Mother who is being abused daily in front of them with zero resources to get out?

    They will only receive help when we act ! Pray and Obey the promptings of our Lord and Holy Spirit…b/c many are suffering

    Remember in Daniel when the hidden evil forces delayed the angelic messenger!…demon forces are real

  79. “Step out on faith”. I know that coming to Christ for salvation is an act of faith; but there are things I have done in recent years where I have done this but did not get the desired outcome (staying with my current employer, attempting to start a tutoring business, for example).

  80. “Go to God and let him show you what He sees and wants to deal with.” The phrase itself would be great IF the person also gave any of their own knowledge. But this is all I ever hear and zero personal advice. It just seem pat answer when I am seeking council and already aske God and he told me to ask one who knows, then all they can say repeatedly is seek God for the answers. I do eventually get answers from God but why I do have to wait so long for what could have been answered but someone was too afraid or didn’t know. Why couldn’t they just say, I don’t know then say seek God. Or say, I don’t wish to input. etc.? I don’t know.

  81. “I KNOW IT’S NOT VERY *CHRISTIAN – LIKE* (for me to think or say this)……BUT…..”

    This Annoys, Insults & Peeves me to no end when I hear a “Christian” say that around me (& others who happen to be in the same room, etc.). If the others who are present do happen to be Christians as well. then to them it is a common, non-charged Buzz-Word that bonds them all together in a crowd. However for me as a reformed Christian, I think it is just despicable for Christians to say that phrase so much. Even though they may mean well by trying to set a good example their Faith suggests, to me it seems like just another way for them to get a chance to bring attention to themselves & show-off their “Label” to everybody around them.. Can’t you just say an all-inclusive “I KNOW IT’S NOT VERY DECENT, LOVING *HUMAN BEING-LIKE* (or something equivalent) for me to think or say this…..BUT….” At least that way you are bringing all of those around you together instead of repelling (& repulsing) those of us who are not of your Faith ) Gee, you’d think that Christianity cornered the market on the most Holy way for people to think, say & conduct themselves – forget about all the thousands of other just as Holy & viable Religions in the History of Mankind that use more or less the same “Rulebook” to live a peaceful, clean Life by. That is, in reality there are thousands of non-Christian religions whose followers are working every day at living by somewhat of a Universal “Golden Rule” – very common to that of the “Christians”. However, “Heaven Forbid” myself or any other non-Christians around to speak up & answer back to that Christian in kind – ” I KNOW IT’S NOT VERY *BUDDHIST / HINDU / TAOIST / ZOROASTRIAN / MUSLIM / ATHEIST (& on & on…) – LIKE (for me to think or say this as well)….. BUTT……..” I never seem to hear anybody from any other Faiths spout-off buzz words such as these in public, etc. I think they have the good Sense, Security, Discretion & Integrity to keep their mouths shut & not brag about their religion like the “Christians” are constantly do so much of all the time. PLEASE !!! YOU ARE BEING SO ANNOYING & INSULTING TO US NON-CHRISTIANS, WHOSE FAITH IS JUST AS HOLY AS YOURS IS, AND WHOSE GOD IS JUST AS LOVING, FORGIVING & (Thank God) ALL ENCOMPASSING & ALL ACCOMODATING. I’m for Equality here & I don’t give a Damn that I’m outnumbered in this country. We are all going to Heaven or Hell just like the rest of you, whether you know it or not – just wait & see. All you so-called “Christians”- Play Fair & Live Fair. You really have a lot to learn from this, as I speak for many. QUIT BEING SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS AS SO MANY OF YOU ARE !!! Can’t you see in so many ways you are actually going AGAINST the teachings of Jesus when you refuse to be Humble, but instead are so Self-Righteous & Arrogant ? After studying & being a member of a number of religions, thank God I now finally understand what Vernon Howard (RIP) meant in his many books, that “One can only be truly Spiritual when all Labels, Self Descriptions & Self References (all of the Ego) are finally dropped. I love my new Faith, my new Religion. However, I don’t feel the need to broadcast it to anyone out there. I don’t need to. I prefer to quietly live by Example instead. Thank You. Amen.

  82. I think I may be one if those cynical Christians – but people talking about how they are “blessed” with material things bugs the crud out of me. On FB, lots of folks post things like “here’s our new house! So blessed!” Yuck. Let’s make very body in an old house feel Un-blessed?? Huh?

  83. I really like your list of top 10 Christian phrases… I heard a pastor call these kinds of things, “Protestant Latin.” I agree with MLT. The phrase “let’s unpack this verse (or passage) nearly makes me go postal. Christians are great at using non-existent words e.g. “impact” as in “How does this verse impact our lives?”. I have a pretty big dictionary and there is no verb “impact” meaning to have an affect on a person or thing. Also, “prioritize”. My dictionary has no such verb. Of course, to be fair, non-Christians use these things also.
    While “intentionality is a real word” I think it is way over-used in Christian jargon.

  84. You forgot one, probably because you used it yourself. The royal “we” when criticisiing the behavior of other Christians. From my experience the “we” actually means “those rude fundamentalist who are obviously not as enlightened as I am”. Perhaps you should take your own advice and say what you mean.

  85. The Church is “Full of Sinners”…Is One I Cringe Over…What a Lame comment to make basically stating, Jesus has no power here….Yeah, so is the world, full of sinners and sick people, but I thought we “Go Out” into the world to bring them in??…Yes we are all sinners and not like Jesus who is perfect, neither were the Apostles but their holiness was matured and developed and even Peter’s shadow cast upon a sick person could heal. Is but is this popular remark a cop out? to skirt around our efforts to overcome more to become “Holy b/c God is Holy”?? Have we “Shelved The Holy Spirit” to the point of believing we can’t become Holier with His help? Have we lost trust and faith in the one mode of transportation that will guide us only to replace it with law and rules b/c Leaders and Elders of the Church feel this is the only means of controlling their flock?? If indeed our churches are ‘Sinner’s Full” then what in the heck might we be doing wrong…what are we teaching, our poor role modeling, a halfheartedness to serve with a spin-dial door in our churches instead of door that swings in two directions, or our like-mindedness to Jesus? to follow after Him…The church has become a one-way service oriented organization which guilt’s many into compliance only returning good deeds to the members…what does this say about the un-saved and attendees…no clear lines being drawn…

  86. Another one that I never want to hear again is: “traveling mercies.” What exactly is a traveling mercy? Does it mean to protect them from an accident, from running out of gas, from not getting diarrhea from all the burgers and fries, or not to have any problems while they travel?

    Newsflash! God allows precious saints to die horrible deaths in car accidents, running out of gas in irresponsible, watching what you eat and caring for your body is a personal responsibility!

    Perhaps what we should be praying is: “God, in their travels, help Tom and Sue to see the opportunities along the way to share about you! Give them togetherness, and thank you for the time they have to talk and grow close in their journey!” Just a thought.

  87. I will pray about it….often used when asked to fill in for something like teaching Sunday school. What they really mean is find someone else!

  88. Didnt read all the posts yet but ive about racked my brain enough about living or doing something in my own strenght and living or doing something in Gods strenght. oh right let me just put my strenght in my back pocket and go down to home depot and rent out Gods strenght today for 39.99 plus tax, i got some holy living to do this saturday.

  89. How about “Depart from me for I never knew you?” That might be a real negative depending on at what point you hear that!

  90. Well said, Ilfring.

    Griping, grumbling, complaining, and even showing anger (one commenter said, “I’ve wanted to whack someone upside the head for saying this,” while another post of “going postal” – really, you want to HIT or KILL someone about something you find annoying?? Even if it was hyperbole or jest, should we as Christians be talking like that?) about the most minuscule and petty of sayings is not what we as Christians should be focused on.

    Most of these ten concepts that the article author brings up ARE Biblical. What we should be doing is digging into the Bible ourselves and knowing it inside and out, letting it transform us, giving us wisdom and understanding and helping us discern the truth from false doctrines, NOT sitting here as cynical keyboard theologians and armchair language experts and essentially trying to split hairs.

    Yep, (for better or worse) language is a fluid and changes all of the time; and with it, new phraseology develops. Yep, there are always new cliches. IF any of the current vernacular is not firmly grounded in Biblical truth, then we should point it out and discard it. But if the spirit of the Word is still there fully, why complain about the silliest of details?

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