#4 of 2011: Top 10 Christian Phrases I Never Want to Hear Again

I find this post to be just plain fun. However, a lot of people, to my surprise, found this post to be insulting, mean, even spiteful. But again, I argue that if Christians can’t laugh at ourselves, what’s the point?

Are we trying to be perfect or trying to follow Christ, who is Perfect? The former borders on legalism, while the latter should entail freedom. And freedom, in my opinion, also means being able to realistically evaluate ourselves, and even make some jokes while we do it.

But, you decide. Got any Christian phrases you would add to the list?


The 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 honestly don’t even know where this came from or why people pray it. I have caught myself start to pray it, as well, and I stop in my tracks. It’s just a silly Christian-ism. 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?

22 thoughts on “#4 of 2011: Top 10 Christian Phrases I Never Want to Hear Again”


    When I was a teenager I was involved in a Christian Homeschool group. It’s was well known and while working a week at a vbs type thing for kids I got written up for not haveing a courtship spirit. It was drilled in me over and over again to have this. To this day I’m not really sure what it means but the feeling I got was that I was not aloud to speak to males because I might flirt with them.
    “have a courtship spirit”. Mmmm ok

  2. Girl… preach.

    I know often times we just utter these words because they have been ingrained in us. I’ve tried to eliminate most of them from my repertoire as well. I want to be the me God designed and not a cookie cutter Christian. I want to think, pray, and learn for myself, meaning I will take into consideration what I am taught but I will investigate it for myself and seek God to be sure it is true. After all, the bible says we don’t need anyone to teach us because we have the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:27). That doesn’t mean we can live alone or not be a part of a larger group of believers but it does mean we need to make sure what we start to believe is actually scriptural. Sometimes it isn’t. Proverbs 14:15 tells us that only simpletons believe everything they are told. And, if the spirit of the living God resides in us then we should sense something is off about some of this and that is when we should dig into the word and pray.

    Prime examples:
    “Watch your witness” which was based on 1 Thessalonians 5:22 which is mistranslated as “abstain from all appearances of evil”. Only one translation says abstain from all appearances of evil. The original text says nothing like that. Besides, it would be impossible to abstain from all appearances of evil. I can’t stop someone else from thinking I’m doing wrong when I’m not. It’s ridiculous. God doesn’t focus on appearances anyway. He looks at the heart and motives.

    The other one, which I despise is, the where we lie through our teeth and claim that God told us to. For years I was taught from the pulpit to watch what I say in regards to the current condition of my life. For example, when my middle son was spending most of his first year of life in and out of hospitals, I was taught to tell people that he was healed and was doing fine… even if he really wasn’t. I was taught that this was a mandate from Romans 4:17.

    “(as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;”

    What is typically quoted is, “Call those things that be not, as though they were.” As you can see, this is only a fraction of the scripture and only a small part of a complete thought. It has not been used in context concerning this teaching. I wrote more about it on my blog: http://amybayliss.com/2008/04/don-say-that_7427/.

    Anyway, I just wanted to chime in. I don’t like the Christianese either. When you say something over and over as second nature it really does lose its emphasis.

    Side note, I do believe that we are in constant communication with God so if we say –with pure intentions– that we’ll pray for someone I think that is prayer within itself. I always say a brief silent prayer when I say that to someone. God doesn’t need a time set aside or a long winded plea. Only a request and a recognition that he is our source of whatever we need. If we are just saying it to be nice then, well, it isn’t even nice.

    Great post, girl! Love your heart and your zeal!

  3. This post is exactly what I love about you Nicole! Every item on the list made me giggle. “what the what?!?” Heck I even think that after one of those phrases comes out of my mouth!
    Oh and on the non-Christianese list…if I never hear “just sayin'” again it will be too soon.

  4. I literally laughed out loud at the Hedge of Protection. That must be why I get myself into messes…I forgot my neatly trimmed bush!!! LOL
    My phrase that can die is “I say this in Christian love or As a sister/brother in Christ, _______” in other words “I’m gonna insult the crap out of you and hide behind my Christian status…”
    Fabulous post!

  5. *Going to church.
    You cant go to a place that you are already in. The church is the relationships in the body. Church is having relationships daily with other followers not a building you go to on sunday.

  6. I created a category for this on my site because I get so over the Christianese… it drive me insane. I think last year I was over “organic” and “missional” It drove me insane!

  7. “There’s a strong presence of the Lord is in this place tonight.”

    There’s a weak presence of the Lord? Maybe He’s just strong on Sunday, but average on weak on Tuesday night.
    Does this place have a monopoly on the presence of the Lord? When I walk out the door, is the Lord’s presence absent?
    Does the Lord need a commentator during this service?

  8. I, too, thought “hedge of protection” was especially funny. When I need God to watch over me, I don’t want that guardrail to be a well-trimmed bush. How about a “steel curtain of protection” or “cinder-block wall of protection”? Or maybe this is just an outgrowth of our inexplicable need to feel like we are eloquent when we pray.

    Here are a couple of my favorites:
    “traveling mercies”
    “unequally yoked” (OK, this is totally biblical – and totally 16th century.)
    “What Would Jesus Do?” – because “What does Jesus want me to do and how can I best follow His direction” (WDJWMTDAHCIBFHD) doesn’t fit on a bracelet.

    I’m just glad to know that I’m not alone in wanting to examine what we say, and how it sounds when we say it.

  9. Great post! I agree, as Christians, sometimes we just don’t know what to say so we say an expression that we thinkmisnappropriate. My small group read the book “Why” by Adam Hamilton and it really opened my eyes to why stuff happens and how we should really respond.

    Thanks again for sharing,



  10. How about saying someone who works really hard but complains all the time at least has “a servant’s heart?” Really?Couldn’t be further from the truth…

  11. I don’t mean to be a smart alec or nothing but #6 comes from Job 1:9-11 when Satan came to accuse Job before God’s throne. Satan says to the Lord:

    So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (Job 1:9-11 NKJV)

    1. Peter, yes you are right. #6 comes from Job, which in the original post was pointed out to me by a few different commenters. I do think knowing it has some scriptural reference makes it a little more likable. But it still isn’t one of my favorite phrases. It could be too that I hear people pray it alllllll the time and so it has just become a bit trite for me.

  12. Very funny. I would also like to add “traveling mercies” as in Lord, give them “traveling mercies” as they drive to Chicago. Kind of sounds like a pre-trip vitamin one might take… Good blog.

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