From the Pulpit: Things we should never say

By: 
Pastor Dan Deardoff, Blessed Redeemer Lutheran Church
How many times have you heard someone say, “As it says in the good book, the Lord helps those who helps themselves”? The trouble is, not only is that verse not found anywhere in the Bible, the sentiment it expresses is the opposite of the message of the Bible. The Bible teaches that when it comes to our salvation, God had to send Jesus to help us because we couldn’t help ourselves.
The second chapter of Ephesians begins by explaining that we were dead in our transgressions and sins before God rescued us. Dead means dead, as helpless as you can get. The good news is explained a few verses later: “But, because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ, even when we were dead in our transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved,” (Eph. 2:4-5). If you want a Bible verse about being industrious and hard-working, go instead to Proverbs 6:6-11 or 1 Thes.4:11-12 or 2 Thes.3:10, but please don’t quote a made-up Bible verse! 
Another thing we should never say is “God won’t give you more than you can bear.” This sounds very Biblical, and is even very close to 1 Cor. 10:13, which tells us that God won’t let us be tempted more than we can bear, but will provide a way out of temptations. But please don’t tell someone who is hurting that God won’t give them more than they can bear, because it makes people feel like God has left them to handle their problems themselves, or they have to be stronger than they can be. 
The truth is we are all crushed under heavy loads at different times of our lives, and Jesus offers to shoulder those loads for us. In Matt. 11:28 Jesus pleads “Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Trust me, your friends will find whatever family problem or illness they are facing more bearable if you quote Psalm 68:19 to them, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” 
Have you ever heard someone say that someone is “so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good?” It is a high-sounding phrase, but one that actually is an insult that unbelievers level at followers of Christ. The truth is, only those who are heavenly minded truly care about their neighbors. We are not animals involved in some fight for “survival of the fittest” but people who are called by Christ to be compassionate and loving, caring for the weak and helpless even as we remember “our citizenship is in heaven,” (Phil. 3:20). In 2 Peter 3:11 it asks, “What kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.” Heavenly minded people even love their neighbors enough to invite them to share in the place Jesus prepared for them in His Father’s house when he died and rose. What could be better than sharing a Bible verse that gives people real hope?

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