“When God closes a door, God opens a window.”

The inspirational phrase is common among Christians and can be found on various China-made trinkets in your local religious bookstore. But when spoken to someone just handed a terminal diagnosis or languishing in poverty, the saccharine saying turns toxic. Sometimes the door closes and the windows are nailed shut.

In a era of spiritual sentimentality, Christian clichés like this can circulate among the faithful without scrutiny. We accept them because we want them to be true. But when we forage the Scriptures for them, they are nowhere to be found. And when we speak them at the wrong moment or to the wrong person, they can cause a tidal wave of emotional damage. Here are some other common–but untrue–Christian cliches.

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Written by Jonathan