There is a great difference in excellency, usefulness, and comfort between people of clear, digested knowledge, and confused, undigested apprehensions. -Richard Baxter

throw away lines

“our thoughts and prayers go out to (x)”

“sorry we can’t be there in person, but we’re with you in spirit”

“he’s not gone [dead] so long as he lives in our hearts”

what are some of your most exasperating throw-away lines: those patently double-tongued phrases people feel the need to say because they can’t think of anything else to say, even though what they say is furthest from what they’re really thinking or believing?


  Small Groups Nazi wrote @

“We’re only human…”

I’ve searched Scripture to find where we have any references to exonerate ourselves by being “merely human.” Yes, we do have to understand that nobody is perfect, but I think it’s clear that the presence of the Spirit obliterates the validity of that excuse.

  Anonymous wrote @

I’m kinda being the devil’s advocate, but I think a lot of times people just don’t have a gift of words, so they revert to what they’ve heard. I think it is good to keep that in mind. But I think to those who do get irritated with cliches, it can be pretty obvious when these words are just said to fill awkward silence or if they are really heartfelt, whether they are said with SAT words or not. I have struggled lately with friends who’ve suffered a death in the family, and it is just hard to know what to say, so its really easy to just say “I’m praying for you.” Sometimes people actually do that, it isn’t always just a line, but a lot of times it is just a line.

But I understand what you mean. It can be really irritating when you suffer and hear someone who is not suffering say something like “Oh, it’s all for the best”

  Patrick Lafferty wrote @

so true about feeling the need to find proper words and, having not found anything that we think can help, we just spout something we’ve heard before…

I think saying “I’ll pray for you” is anything but pretentious or trite. It is ultimately loving, even if it might be interpreted as empty. It is saying implicitly, your circumstances prevent me from responding with some vacuous phrase, and therefore requires one of the most honest and humble acts I can think of: to address the Almighty God on behalf of you.

  Small Groups Nazi wrote @

I concur. I think a lot of times we choose to say nothing at all, instead of saying “I’ll pray for you,” at the risk of sounding pretentious. I know this is true at least in myself, as I feel pressure in times when my friends are in need to say something original and profoundly comforting. Truth is, however, that when it is me who is in need, I’ve found it true that no matter how original the statement, words can never completely heal hurt. Instead, if someone approaches me in a loving manner and assures me of their prayers, it serves as a reminder that there are many interceding on my behalf before the “God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1), Who alone can offer the healing balm that we need. So, perhaps, the assurance of being prayed for is the most profound thing that you can offer those you love when they are hurting.

  Bobo wrote @

Jeremiah 29:11

  Anne wrote @

“It’s not my fault.” That is actually my signature phrase (and the name of my blog). Ever since I was a little kid, whenever my mom would ask what happened to ______ or who did _______ my standard reply was “It’s not my fault.”

I don’t like it when people say “there is nothing you could have done” and I am guilty of using that myself.

“Time heals all wounds”

  Dawson wrote @

My favorite: “I covet your prayers.”

  Patrick wrote @

This may be a bit off the topic, but how about when a well-intentioned person says to you, after a breakup, “It’s OK: this just means that the Lord has someone better planned for you.”

Of course, by “someone better”, the advisor means that the Lord has someone that will meet the dumpee’s every wish and heart’s desire, and it’s just a matter of patience… the implication being that our earthly comfort and happiness are foremost upon the Lord’s mind, at least when it comes to marriage.

Of course we know that everything that happens to us is for our good, a la Romans 8:28, but I dont think Paul means it in the way this Christian cliche suggests.

And, don’t feel too bad: I’ve used this line before, until I heard someone refer to it as “The best promise God never made” 🙂

  Patrick Lafferty wrote @

first of all, Patrick, you’re sentenced to 30 days hard labor for ever having brandished that phrase…

but, you are definitely onto something. Sure, they’re trying to be kind (I suppose it’s somewhat more courageous, but only slightly, than the proverbial Dear John letter), but their attempt at letting you down easy does perpetuate the (erroneous) sense that marriage is for your, as you say, “comfort and happiness”…if anyone gets their hands on a fine book called Sacred Marriage, I think it paints a far more accurate portrayal of the essence and purpose of marriage: less about making you happy and more about making you holy…which, in the grand scheme of things, ultimately leads to a different but deeper kind of joy

  Patvano wrote @

I didnt use that line on an ex! What I mean is that this is a line I hear people use when trying to console a friend who’s recently been broken-up with (by someone else!) and is unhappy about it. This doesnt change your point though, which I think is along the lines that a Christian view of marriage is different (or ought to be) from a secular one in a number of ways: one of the main ways being that the particiapnts are not looking to eachother for fulfillment but to the Lord. It’s almost hard to imagine how different the world would be if more people approached it that way… I will check that book out- it sounds like good pre-pre-marriage counseling… (or even, more appropriately for me, pre-dating counseling!)

  Keith Martel wrote @

“it was a God-thing.”

nice blog

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