Things Better Left Unsaid Series
The late writer Brennen Manning famously said, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle.” While I agree with this assertion, I think there is another major factor and that is what Christians are acknowledging with their lips. I think often Christians say all kinds of things about God that turn people off to the faith. Many describe God as judgmental and vindictive. Some say God creates tornados and hurricanes to punish people. Then some of the most famous Christians in the world are telling people God rewards people by making them rich. All of these things are un-theological, non-scriptural, and untrue. Why would anyone want to serve a God like that, much less, believe in that kind of God? These things are better left unsaid.
I also think there are other, more subtle, statements we make about God that turn people off from Christianity just as much. Sometimes they are those cliches we offer up to comfort people or help make sense of the senseless. For example, when someone is going through a difficult time, we might say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” On the surface, it may seem encouraging to that person because it reminds them they are strong and can handle their struggles. But if we think about it more deeply, do we believe that God tests us like that? What does it benefit God to give us hardships? Is God toying with us to make us be more faithful and if so, what does that say about God’s nature? Is that the God of grace we come to know in Jesus? If I were in the midst of one of life’s great struggles and someone told me God was intentionally making it happen to me, I’m not sure I would want to have anything to do with that God.
Our New Year’s Worship Series will explore these things we say about God that ultimately have a negative impact on people’s understanding of God and their faith. This series is called Things Better Left Unsaid. We will search for more helpful and authentic sayings that reflect the grace-filled God of love and life that holds this world. I hope you’ll make plans to be here this Sunday as we kick this series off exploring “Everything Happens for a Reason and God Won’t Give You More Than You Can Handle.” If you can’t make it this Sunday, join us the other weeks through February 12th. See you soon and Happy New Year!