Three Phrases Christians Should Never Use

IMG_5229 church.grace_smqt

There are three phrases some Christians use when talking about sin that should never be used. They often cause people to feel condemned and discouraged rather than loved and encouraged. Not only that, but the phrases are lies.

  1. God cannot look upon sin.

Christians have taken part of Habakkuk 1:13 and twisted it to make people believe that God cannot look at sin. It makes people think that God must be so disgusted with them when they mess up that He can’t even look at them. That is far from the truth. If Christians who use that phrase would just read the whole verse, they would notice that the rest of it actually reveals that God does, indeed, look upon sin, but the implication is that He cannot watch it happen without doing something about it. Yeah, I know it sometimes seems like God is blind and doesn’t care about the evil in the world. That was Habakkuk’s question, and God answered him. If anything, God is full of patience, as well as compassion, mercy, grace and love toward His children, not disgust.

  1. God can’t use you if you are in sin.

I’m not sure what verse or verses are used for this one, but it is another phrase that can make people feel condemned and discouraged. Usually, when the phrase is used, it is used in reference to ‘big’ sins or things the person speaking has strong convictions against. What of the gossip or the glutton? I’m sure they sin daily, but does that stop God from being able to use them to bless people as well, or to work with children in the church, or to sing in the choir? That God cannot use us because we sin or struggle in an area is a lie that the devil wants us to believe to keep us from actively reaching out to others, because it makes us feel unworthy. Intentional sin may interfere with our intimacy with God, but as in the parable of the prodigal son, the Father stands waiting with open arms for our return.

  1. You need to get right with God.

What makes us right with God? According to the Bible, we are declared right with God when we accept Jesus as our Savior for redeeming us from sin and rising from the dead. So to imply a Christian is not right with God because of a sin she is struggling with is to imply a works-based system rather than a faith-based one. Which is it? Are we or are we not saved by faith? I am reminded of something my friend, Randell, said in a Sunday school lesson based on a study from Hebrews 8.

He said, “It is unfortunate that many Christians think they are saved by grace but still must fulfill their Christian life according to the Old Testament law. They want the New Covenant for salvation, but they want the Old Covenant for sanctification.”

If we feel the need to approach a Christian brother or sister about something in their lives, then we need to focus specifically on the issue and not imply that the person is not right with God. What if they agree with God about the thing they are struggling with, and we come along and accuse them of not being right with God? We will leave them feeling condemned and discouraged rather than loved, encouraged, and strengthened.

We really need to be careful that we do not parrot what we have heard other Christians say without really considering the validity and impact of those things. These three phrases have done a lot of harm by hurting people and misrepresenting God, so let’s throw them out.


If you liked this, you might also like… Conviction vs. Condemnation

About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

14 responses to “Three Phrases Christians Should Never Use

  • Randell

    I’m reminded of two instances in the Bible where both people’s lives were not right with God, but………
    The thief on the cross, yet Jesus said today you will be with me in paradise and the woman at the well who had been divorced and married 5 times and the man she was living with wouldn’t marry her and Jesus said serve me (give me water) and she evangelized her whole village and I won’t even try to explain King David’s behavior except the Bible says he was a man after God’s heart. Before we examine other’s relationships with God we need to examine our own relationship and leave the conviction to the Holy Spirit and the condemnation to the accuser of the brethren.(Rev.12)
    Excellent post Rene

  • jmsabbagh

    He who knows Christ owns a precious diamond ,he will never trades it for a piece of a rock. God reconciled us to himself when he send his only son to die on the cross.He crushed death and sin .He gave us the hope .He paid the price on the cross. J.M.S

  • gwennonr


    Your writings are always superb. But this post was especially, ESPECIALLY relevant and well-presented. This was something I definitely needed to hear, and I plan to refer back to it from time to time.

    Thank you so much for sharing it.

    Blessings on you!


  • jim

    You are growing my good friend.

  • Scott

    Because we have such trouble grasping “Grace” we tend to retreat behind the wall of recognized rules and regulations – most of our own making. We too easily forget Romans 8:1 and 8:38 are in the Bible. We shy away from Galatians because it addresses this very issue. Like the Jews we have a zeal for the Lord…but we clutter it up with our pet rules not found in the Bible. We establish a standard (like those found on rides in amusement parks: You must be this tall to ride”) based on our personal preferences and then, because we fit them to a ‘T’ we use them to judge others.

    Thank you, Rene, for this stirring and much-needed reminder that it is the Lord who sees our hearts and handles our daily lives.

    • Rene Yoshi

      Yes, I used to have that misplaced zeal for the Lord, too. Now, I have to be careful not to be ‘legalistic’ in the other direction concerning our liberty or freedom in Christ. Thank you so much for your encouragement and input, Scott. 🙂

  • Hubert writes

    I like this Post Rene, pointing to point 2 I think God always uses us more in spite of ourselves than because of ourselves, I also believe many Christians are proud of their gifts and don’t understand that they are to be freely given, as freely as they were received.

  • Zachary Bright

    Reblogged this on Zachary Bright and commented:
    Here are three under-examined phrases that cause mischief in the Christian life. I’m tired of hearing them, and if Sweet Rains had not written this post, I would probably have written something similar.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: