I’m going to be posting bits from my upcoming book, “A**hole Christian Survival Guide,” over the next month or so. The idea behind the book is that maybe we need to follow Jesus because all of us, at one time or another, can be real a-holes. The real problem arises if we think that being “saved” or accepting Jesus somehow offers us lifetime a**hole insurance. But the irony is that this misconception makes us even BIGGER a**holes.
Find out more about the project by clicking here, and preorder your copy to help it get published.
Many Christians are trained to have questions – and answers – at the ready for any situation. The problem is that sometimes this means we speak when we shouldn’t, or we say something we didn’t actually mean.
It’s easy for any of us to lapse into offering cliches in an otherwise meaningful situation, maybe out of awkwardness, an effort to help or even the desire to escape the moment all together. But Christians who use these in times when others are particularly vulnerable have an even greater responsibility to, as Horton the Elephant says, mean what they say and say what they mean.
Here’s the first in a series of cliches I’ll be posting for a while from the book.
God never gives someone more than they can handle.
Except maybe for people with profound mental illness. Or people in war-torn countries who are tortured to death. Or maybe the millions of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.
You get the point.
It seems to me that plenty of folks end up with more in their lives than they can handle, and although the crisis at hand may not be as grave as the ones listed above, it tends to minimize the struggle the other person is going through. And if they feel like they simply can’t handle all they’re “given,” what does that say about them? Without meaning to, we’re implying they’re weak, unable to bear their own burden that God assigned to them.
This also implies that, if really horrible things are happening to them, God gave it to them. Is this a test? Are they being punished? Is God just arbitrarily cruel? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be a big fan of that God.
Now, I do believe that, in hindsight there are things we emerge from that we didn’t think we could handle. And sometimes, looking back, we realize that the thing we thought was so incredibly awful wasn’t as bad as we thought. Maybe it even led to something pretty good. At least maybe it helped toughen us up or glean some wisdom from the experience.
But if you’re like me, if life has just given you a swift kick in the goodie bag, the last thing I want to hear is that God did it to me, and that I can handle it. Just get me some ice and tell me the swelling will go down…eventually.