A word or phrase that has been used so often, and in so many different settings, that it has lost its original meaning. Assuming, of course, it ever had an original meaning . . . which many clichés never did.
Good communicators, then, want to avoid clichés like the plague.
Anyway, there are certain clichés that seem to be under the special purview of the Christian world. Phrases that well-intentioned church people have used . . . and used . . . and used . . . regardless of whether or not the phrases are either true or helpful.
So here they are: the Top Five Christian clichés.
1. Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven. Perfect bumper sticker theology! And a perfect Christian justification for un-Christian driving habits! And a perfect way to undermine Matthew 5:48.
2. God needed another angel. When we use this one in times of grief, it’s a combination of good intentions and bad theology. First: those words are rarely of comfort to suffering family members as they make God responsible for taking their loved one. Second: deceased people do not become angels in the after-life. In fact, according to Paul we will actually stand in judgment over angelic beings in the life to come.
3. God helps those who help themselves. How do you follow that cliché? With “And if you work real hard you’ll go to heaven”? Based on Romans 5:8, we might even suggest that God helps those before they are even capable of helping themselves.
4. Let go and let God. This one might be true. I’ve just never really understood it. It does fly in the face of Philippians 2:12.
5. And a personal pet peeve: Family Friendly . . . . Whether it is radio stations, television shows, or even churches themselves, we in the church world seem blissfully unaware of what we convey with the term “family friendly.” Primarily: we’re not interested in people who are single. We’re barely interested in people who are married but don’t have children. Shouldn’t we strive to be family friendly without having to tell people we are?