Truisms are not just trite. Sometimes they can be toxic.
I wrote an article this week for RELEVANT Magazine’s website about some Christian truisms I’ve encountered. Check it out here.
And here are two bonus truisms:
I know that I am saved.
Sorry, but you just don’t have objective, 100 percent certain knowledge about this. You can trust that God will save you, but you can’t necessarily prove it for a fact.
Enlightenment thinkers believed we could achieve rock-solid certainty about at least a few foundational facts, and lots of evangelicals have adopted this idea. Some Christians will disagree with me, but I don’t think we can be completely certain about anything. We are finite humans, not the omniscient God, and we are capable of deceiving ourselves. So how could we possibly be undoubtedly assured that our names are written in the book of life?
But we don’t necessarily have to doubt everything we can’t prove, either. Our ability to know things isn’t always reliable, but we can still be reasonably confident in plenty of things. Above all, we can be confident that God is gracious, and he keeps his promises if we trust him for salvation. It’s far more important to direct our attention to God and to believe that he is good and faithful rather than trying to obtain certain knowledge that we are saved.
Happiness is a feeling that comes and goes, but joy is something deeper than feelings, and it’s constant.
Joy is a feeling, too, and like all feelings, it comes and goes. You don’t have to, and you can’t, be joyful all the time. Mourning is part of being human. We are impermanent, changeable creatures who can’t always hold on to hope or peace, much less joy.
We can’t be constantly joyful until God establishes His kingdom on earth. We can experience foretastes of joy now, but it won’t be complete until Christ returns.
For further explanation of this, and for other truisms that are particularly destructive to our faith, check out “Good News for Anxious Christians: 10 Practical Things You Don’t Have to Do,” by Phillip Cary.
Special thanks to my friend Seretha Curry for serving as my philosophical and theological consultant on the subject of happiness.
What Christian truisms have you noticed lately?