5 Lies Christians Are Told

A few of the lies Christians often believe that are hurting the Church.

I love the Church. I have given my life to the Church. I believe in the Church because I believe the King reigns over everything. There is a lot to be praised and celebrated when it comes to the Church and Christian culture.

There is another side though. We have bought some lies. These lies are hurting us, crippling us. If we, as the Church, are going to become the image of God in the world, there are lies we must drop. Here are a few of the lies many Christians have bought into that are crippling us.

1. Some Sins are Worse Than Others.

This is plaguing our church culture. Here’s why. It creates only two types of people. Group one: those that have not committed the “bad” sins. They have avoided the worst of the worst, so they tend to judge those that have not. Group two: those that have committed the “bad” sins. They’re made to believe that once their virginity is gone or they drank too much, God is really mad at them. The stares and judgment from group one tends be more direct and apparent. Eventually, most in group two come to the realization they are just “not good enough.”

It’s true that some sins carry with them greater consequences. Murder somebody and you get jail time, gossip about your roommate and you get nothing. Both are sins. One has greater consequences. But this idea that avoiding a particular group of sins makes you more awesome than the group that has not is utterly ridiculous. We are all sinners.

It is time for Christians to stop ranking sins. The Cross is for every person. Let’s treat people this way.

It is time for Christians to stop ranking sins. The Cross is for every person. Let’s treat people this way.

2. God is Not OK With Doubt and Anger.

In a way, the logic for this mindset makes sense. It is disrespectful to yell at our earthly father and doubt his ways, so it must be the same (and more so) with God. But this idea discounts most of Psalms, where the psalmists write clearly of their doubt and anger with God.

Listen, God is all powerful. His love for you is so deep He sent His son to give you life. He can handle some doubt and anger. He knows this life is hard. He knows we are limited.

If you are reading this and have doubts about God, welcome to the club. We’ve all struggled with doubt, but doubt is an opportunity to draw near to God, not run from Him.

3. God’s Love for Me is Determined by My Behavior.

The problem here is that we think too highly of ourselves. We think we can control our behavior and be “good” and then God will love us.

But I suck at living up to God’s standard. Even on my most awesome day, I still end up light years short of God’s standard.

You are a child of God for one reason: What Jesus did for you. It’s not about you. You can’t earn God’s love. You can’t earn God’s favor. You are driving down an exhausting road. Take the next exit and get off!

You are awesome because of God. When you really suck at life, praise God. His love for you hasn’t changed. When you knock it out of the park, praise God. His love for you hasn’t changed.

4. We Should Never ‘Water Down’ the Message.

All right, some of you are ready to write me off. Hear me out.

I am not interested in changing the message. The message must stay the same. It is the message of Jesus that transforms lives. It is of first importance (I Cor. 15:1-3). I am interested in changing the delivery of the message. This idea that we should never alter the message so those who do not know Jesus can comprehend it is ridiculous.

I was talking recently with a guy who did not grow up in church. He has been a Christian for about 20 years now, but he told me, “I struggle to understand the message most Sundays. I don’t speak the language. So, most of the time I just tune out when the sermon starts.”

Translation: Christians often speak a language that is native to us, but foreign to those who have no framework for God. Call it Christianese. Call it whatever. But it is prideful to believe people should constantly reach up to our level.

Yes, we have a standard. Yes, we are called to be holy. But that isn’t the issue here. The issue is making the Gospel clear to everyone. It is equivalent to expecting a toddler to comprehend high school concepts. Ridiculous.

Christians often speak a language that is native to us, but foreign to those who have no framework for God.

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Churches that are bringing non-Christians to Jesus get this. The message is not watered down. It is convicting, and it is powerful. But it is not littered with big Christian words that only locals understand.

5. God Wants Me to Be Happy.

The word “happy” appears six times in the Bible, none of those in reference to God’s intention for your life. This is not a bad thing, though. Happiness is more fleeting than a relationship on The Bachelor.

Right now, I am in a great mood. How quickly can that change? Happiness is almost always tied to the present. If we constantly lived for our current happiness, what a miserable life most of us would have. How many times has something awesome birthed from something not so awesome?

The good news for you and me is that God is much more concerned with lasting qualities such as joy and peace. Those qualities are unaffected by the fragility of life.

An earlier version of this article was posted at frankmatthewpowell.com

Top Comments

Jim VanDuzer


Jim VanDuzer commented…

How about the lie that mental illness is not something Christians experience...at least "good" Christians? I've recently outed mine and it's surprising how many people will say, "Really? You? Me too!" But rarely publicly. (This is one of my healing processes: http://picturesbyduzer.wordpress.com/)

Daniel DuVal


Daniel DuVal commented…

I think #1 flies in the face of a lot of verses like: Matthew 26:24, Luke 10:12, as well as the law that was given to the Jews by God Himself (God gave more severe penalties for murder and adultery than for lying. Not to mention that some sins required a different sacrifice than others.)

The proper way to avoid the kind of prejudice in the church that you described is to have a proper understanding of our own desperate situation. No matter how small the sin, each one is enough to earn us a spot in Hell.


David Parker


David Parker commented…

I'm in agreement with this article. Here are some of my thoughts.

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
It is our flesh that seeks to "rank" sins. Yes, the physical world consequences may vary, but they all have the same eternal consequence - separation from God.

"Be angry, but do not sin." Ephesians 4:26
Obviously there are times when anger is permissible. And as was mentioned, many psalms are written from moments of doubt. The key is to not let the anger and doubt remain, as that brings about more separation from God and others. Living perpetually in a state of doubt or anger is not what God wants for you, but He understands we have moments or seasons of doubt and anger as we wrestle with this fallen world.
And for those keeping a count, I had my season of being a depressed missionary. Mental illness happens to many of us. The grace and acceptance extended to me helped me overcome.

"For God so loved the world . . ." John 3:16
His love is unconditional. It is a part of his character to love us; we don't earn His love. He adopted us as sons and daughters and in doing so gave us access to this love. We may behave in a way that leads to discipline, but the discipline is given in love in much the same way a parent disciplines a child yet still loves them. We get caught up in how our imperfect parents withheld love from us and superimpose that on God.

"I have become all things to all people . . ." 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
In the same way that I would communicate to a French speaker differently than an English speaker, I need to alter how I speak to someone who has no previous experience with Christianity. I am communicating the same truths to you but in a way that speaks to your heart.
The "Church" has created such a complicated vocabulary through the influence of King James English and the choice to transliterate instead of translate key Greek words. Breaking down the language into simpler words doesn't change the message, it makes it more accessible.

"Consider it pure joy . . ." James 1:2
Happy is used in some translations, but it is typically not how the word is used today. God did intend something so much better for us, but our ancestors chose to throw that away. We now live in fallen bodies on a fallen planet. The current teachings that say God wants me to be rich and happy are not in line with how I see Jesus and the Twelve living. If God wants us to be happy, how do you reconcile that with the Persecuted Church around the world? Are they disobedient, so He is withdrawing His favor? Or are American Christians the only ones who have earned the right to be happy?
God calls us to be joyful, which is based on our relationship with him. Happiness is based on happenings; what makes me happy today won't make me happy tomorrow. But joy gives me an inner sense of contentment whether I have material blessings or persecution.

Brad Mabilog


Brad Mabilog commented…

Hi there friend, I am happy that you are making your way to loving and accepting our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that you are willing to share pages that has Christian inspiration. But there are some things that I would like to point out that I hope will help you in understanding the salvation provided by our Lord. This comment has no purpose to offend but to get closer to the truth, which is God and His teachings, and His love for us.

1. Some Sins are Worse Than Others

The Church teaches this because it is true in Scripture.

1 John 5:16-17
15 We are sure that he listens to all our requests, sure that the requests we make of him are granted. 16 If a man knows his brother to be guilty, yet not of such a sin as brings death with it, he should pray for him; and, at his request, life will be granted to the brother who is sinning, yet not fatally. There is a sin which kills; it is not over this that I bid him fall to prayer.[4] 17 Sin may be wrong-doing of any kind; not all sin is fatal.

1 Corinthians 3:10-17
10 With what grace God has bestowed on me, I have laid a foundation as a careful architect should; it is left for someone else to build upon it. Only, whoever builds on it must be careful how he builds.11 The foundation which has been laid is the only one which anybody can lay; I mean Jesus Christ. 12 But on this foundation different men will build in gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, or straw, 13 and each man’s workmanship will be plainly seen. It is the day of the Lord that will disclose it, since that day is to reveal itself in fire, and fire will test the quality of each man’s workmanship. 14 He will receive a reward, if the building he has added on stands firm; 15 if it is burnt up, he will be the loser; and yet he himself will be saved, though only as men are saved by passing through fire.

John 19:9-11
9 going back into the palace, he asked Jesus, Whence hast thou come? but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 What, said Pilate, hast thou no word for me? Dost thou not know that I have power to crucify thee, and power to release thee?11 Jesus answered, Thou wouldst not have any power over me at all, if it had not been given thee from above. That is why the man who gave me up to thee is more guilty yet.[1]

John 19:9-11
9 going back into the palace, he asked Jesus, Whence hast thou come? but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 What, said Pilate, hast thou no word for me? Dost thou not know that I have power to crucify thee, and power to release thee?11 Jesus answered, Thou wouldst not have any power over me at all, if it had not been given thee from above. That is why the man who gave me up to thee is more guilty yet.[1]

2. God is Not OK with Doubt and Anger.

The Church disagrees with the above statement, that God is not ‘OK’ with doubt and anger because of the same reasons and scripture the article said.

In fact, the early Church fathers, theologians used their doubt in order to find and tried to prove God’s existence and these curious monks, priests, and people of God laid the foundation of our educational system

Sources on the internet such as wiki:

St. Anselm’s Proslogium
Gaunilo’s On Behalf of the Fool (An antithesis to proslogium)
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Five Proofs from his Summa Theologicae

It is not okay with God when you channel one’s feeling of doubt and anger to sin. These feelings, allowed by God, are supposed to lead you to find Him through prayer, learning his Word, and helping and loving others (Faith, alive in love; good works).

4) God’s love for me is determined by behavior.

Of course not, and the reasons written in the article that makes the said statement false are also the teachings of the Church. That is why we are saved by His Grace and we accept Him through our Faith in the expression of good works, which is equally important.

James 2:14-18
‘What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it? So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.’

Although we are poor sinners and are in a continuous struggle to be faithful to God, to His commandments, and to His teachings, God loves us and to the point of giving us His only son Jesus Christ. But sin is sin. And as God most merciful, God is most just. That is why he gave a process for us to come back to Him when we fall, Repentance. It depends on our will if we will make that action of repenting, coming back to Him, and having a resolve not to commit sin. And again, if we fall, we come back to him and he will accept us in open arms. (Parable of the Prodigal Son)

4. We Should Never ‘Water Down’ the Message.

Yup, we shouldn’t. And the people of the world should be able to understand it. That is the Church used latin because it was the popular language during its early stages. That is why in Vatican II it was changed to vernacular. And the latin was maintained as well because it is the language used for the first bible translation. So that scripture won’t be subject to wrong interpretation. (Not watering down the message)

5) Yup God does want you to be happy and it is in Him we can find true joy and happiness. The Church teaches that too.

I pray that you find true happiness in God’s Love and salvation. God bless you. And He surely loves you =)

Brett Starkid-Miller


Brett Starkid-Miller replied to Brad Mabilog's comment

For #1 your 1st John 5:17 verse.
This is making reference to something known as Blaspheming of the Holy Spirit, which, cannot be done today. It occurs when the works of Jesus are attributed to the work of Satan, which happened when Jesus casted out the demon which caused the man to be blind and mute in Matthew 12:22-37
The reason that John mentioned this in 1 John is because of the fact that he assumed Jesus would be returning in his life-time, so that it would even be possible to blaspheme the work of the spirit.

John Devlin


John Devlin commented…

While I agree with #1, that we all need the cross, I disagree that all sin is the same. In 1Jn5:17, John finishes off a short teaching on sin by saying "All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which is not deadly." In other words, there is deadly sin and non-deadly sin. That sin which does serious harm to the individual, another person or the community and is done in full knowledge of the perpetrator is deadly. It purposely drives God's grace away in an intentional act of knowledge and will. Direct and willful acts against the commandments could fit into this category.
On the other hand, some sin is not serious. I might tell someone a "white lie" instead of telling them the truth about their appearance - or I might fantasize sexually about a person or experience. These "not-so-serious" sins could easily lead to something much more sinful. That sexual fantasy of mine might just become such an obsession that I need to experience it. Those "white lies" I tell might make it easier for me to tell a real whopper some day. You might imagine Adam and Eve dreaming about and desiring that "forbidden fruit" long before they ever partook. The point, of course, is that many things are sinful but all sin is not "deadly" as the Apostle John tells us.
Naturally, regardless of what someone has done we have no right to look down our noses at them or ostracize them from community. I visit people in the jail on a regular basis and I KNOW there are times in my life when I could easily have been in their situation had I been caught. Jesus preached about this in the Sermon on the Mount when he reminded us all to take the plank out of our own eye prior to trying to remove the speck from our neighbor's.
The lesson in all of this? Take up Jesus' challenge to "be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect". We do that only through humility, prayer and grace.

Joseph Craig Steel


Joseph Craig Steel replied to John Devlin's comment

"Take up Jesus' challenge to "be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect". We do that only through humility, prayer and grace."

Certainly we are co-workers with God, and exercising our renewed spirit through prayer is needed. As is God's grace.

The humility part though is more complicated, as we can certainly try to be humble in our old man, but that's the same as abiding in sin.

True humility only comes as we see who we really are in our natural fallen man — and that's where God's grace comes in, as we would have no idea how to go on if it were not for God's grace working within us.

Joseph Craig Steel


Joseph Craig Steel commented…

1) "It is time for Christians to stop ranking sins."

Even better... Isn't it time believers just stopped the vanity of ranking anything.

There is God at #1... And then there is nothing else.

2) "He knows this life is hard. He knows we are limited."

And He also knows we have received the Spirit of Life, Christ, in our renewed spirit, for one reason... To cause us to grow in God.

3) "You are a child of God for one reason: What Jesus did for you. It’s not about you."

Well... Yes, and no. First we are children, then we are sons, then we are heirs. It is a process of transformation. And yes, absolutely what Jesus did is at the center of this transformation work... But just as absolutely, God has called us to be co-workers with Him in our transformation.

Therefore, in a very real sense, it most certainly is about each believer too.

4) "It is the message of Jesus that transforms lives."

Hmmm... This is another "Yes, and no" scenario.

Scripture tells us that it is Christ, the Person, who does the transforming.

Romans 11:36 & 12:2... "Because out from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen." . . . "And do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and well pleasing and perfect."

In fact, it is the Christ-life that we have received that actually carries out the transformation in us.

That said, God has most certainly given us the scriptures (His speaking/message) as a help to this end. But we need to have a clear view of what the scriptures reveal.

5) "The word “happy” appears six times in the Bible, none of those in reference to God’s intention for your life."

No... That's not quite true.

Proverbs 29:18... "Where there is no vision, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law."

The above is scripture, and all scripture is from God... Meaning, all scripture most certainly contains/reveals God's intention towards mankind.

The "happy" in the above verse refers to the living and being of a person as they go through their life.

The word "keeps" (or keepth in some translations) means to guard, cherish, care for, hold to in a very personal sense.

And the law refers to God's law; which was fulfilled in Christ.

And since this is a kind of solution to the first part of the verse, regarding lacking vision, we can know that God's intention is for us to be "happy," as it is most certainly His intention to bring us into Christ, have us "keep" Christ, and be "happy" in doing so.

David Thorne


David Thorne commented…

How about the lie that being a Christian is about being a "good person" and not messing up. What God ultimately wants from us is not moral perfection, but perfectly trusting in Him in all things. What Jesus did perfectly was listen to, respond to, and trust in His father. The call to be like Jesus as a Christian is the call to know and trust God. Here's an article talking about how Christianity isn't about "Do's and Don't's" http://refuelblog.com/2014/06/30/discipleship-is-not-about-dos-and-donts/

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