This post is inspired by the book 9 Common Lies Christians Believe: And Why God’s Truth Is Infinitely Better by Shane Pruitt, which I recently finished reading. The book has 5 stars out of 5 stars from 145 reviews on Amazon. On the cover of the book is an endorsement by Lee Strobel:

A clean and compelling antidote to the kind of common cliches that so many people uncritically believe.

Shane’s list of the 9 Common Lies are:

  1. God Won’t Give Me More Than I Can Handle
  2. God Gained Another Angel
  3. God Just Wants Me To Be Happy
  4. I could Never Forgive That Person
  5. Follow Your Heart
  6. God Really Doesn’t Care
  7. Well, ______ Will Never Change
  8. I Don’t Think That God Likes Me
  9. Believe In Yourself

The introduction is aptly entitled The Truth Shall Set You Free From Bad One-Liners.

What he says on page 17 in regards to the first lie can actually be applied to all of them:

First of all, this statement cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. Most people who say it claim it’s because they’ve heard others use it. But as far as it being something God actually said? No, it’s not there.

Several of these I have heard myself from others. But you won’t find any of these in the Bible.

1. God Won’t Give Me More Than I Can Handle

When the apostle Paul prayed to the Lord 3 times for God to remove his thorn in the flesh, God responded by saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” If it was something that we could do, then we could take the credit. If it was something that we had to rely on God to do, then the glory goes to God.

Often the biggest blessing of being in over our heads in life is that we have an opportunity to rely on a God who can take anything and everything.
pg 19

We have a great God who identifies with us. Jesus knew what it was like to:

  • experience poverty
  • experience exhaustion
  • be betrayed
  • suffer from grief
  • be tempted
  • experience suffering
  • feel forsaken by God

Truth to move forward with:
Sometimes God gives us more than we can handle, but He never gives us more than He can handle through us.

2. God Gained Another Angel.

No matter how well intentioned the lie is, it is still a lie. What people need the most on their terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days is the comforting truth of God’s Word.
pg 40

The belief that when we die, we become angels is simply not in the Bible. In fact, in the biblical understanding, as humans, we are greater than the angels. God did not send Jesus to die for them.

Truth to move forward with:
God is not gaining new angels; rather, He is calling worshippers home.

3. God Just Wants Me to Be Happy

The statement that is always the card people play when they want to justify their actions: “I know God just wants me to be happy!” The statement that is always the excuse people give for ignoring what the Scriptures have to say about their particular breach of ethics: “God just wants me to be happy.” The statement is also a lie…Is happiness really the determining factor for everything? Is happiness really the greatest good in the world?
Pg 55

Joy is greater than happiness. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is not built on circumstances but on Jesus. Only the real Jesus brings joy. A fake Jesus brings fake happiness.

Truth to move forward with:
The world’s definition of happiness is often dictated by circumstances, but biblical joy is build on a person named Jesus.

4. I could Never Forgive That Person

Jesus said that if you forgive others, God will forgive you; but that if you do not forgive others, then God will not forgive you (Matt 6:14-15).

Shane opens up this chapter with a powerful story of forgiveness that he has also shared here. He then goes on to list several lies about forgiveness (and explaining how they are lies):

  • Forgiveness means that you have to forget
  • Forgiveness means you’re condoning the actions of others
  • Forgiveness means that you have to be a doormat
  • Forgiveness comes from an apology
  • Forgiveness is based on the actions of others
  • Forgiveness is easy

Both Psychology Today and WebMD have articles on how unforgiveness is actually bad for your health.

Truth to move forward with:
If I am going to be a receiver of forgivenes, then I must be a giver of forgiveness.

5. Follow Your Heart

Shane explains this best on page 104:

…the Bible has a lot to say about the heart, and most of what it says carries a negative connotation. For example, the prophet Jeremiah wrote this: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and deperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). The greatest Bible teacher of all, Jesus, also pointed out the fallen condition of our hearts: “From within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these things come from within, and they defile a person” (Mark 7:21-23). Bascially, the most vile and disgusting acts that a human being can be involved with begin in the heart.

If we believe the teachings of Jeremiah and Jesus concering the heart, then we should seriously consider this question: If a person was described with these characteristics, would you sign up to follow him?

Truth to move forward with:
Don’t follow your heart. Follow Jesus.

6. God Really Doesn’t Care

1 Peter 5:7 says:

casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

You are the reason that he sent Jesus to die on the cross, to pay the price for your sins, so that you could be redeemed and adopted by him as sons and daughters (Gal 4:1-7). He loves you. Here are some scriptures of his love for you:

  • God will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut 31:6; Heb 13:5).
  • You are precious to him (Is 43:4)
  • You are the apple of His eye (Ps 17:8)
  • He knows the very number of hairs on your head (Matt 10:30; Luke 12:7)
  • He formed you in your mother’s womb (Ps 139:13)

Truth to move forward with:
God has not forgotten you. He remembers you. He is with you.

7. Well, ______ Will Never Change

I’ve said for a long time that if I can become a Christian, anyone can. As I’ve mentioned in my account of how I became a Christian, I felt so strongly against Christianity that I used to tell my friends “if I ever become a Christian, take a gun and blow my brains out and put me out of my misery.” I’ve now been a Christian for 25 years. My wife, who met me after I had been a Christian for 10, has heard of who I used to be, but it sounds so far and remote of who I am today.

God accepts us the way we are, but he won’t leave us the way we are. He takes our heart of stone and gives us a heart of flesh (Ez 36:26). He gives us new life and makes us a new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he isa new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
2 Cor 5:17

Truth to move forward with:
Nothing is impossible for God. He has the power to change people so they will start living the life He desires for them.

8. I Don’t Think That God Likes Me

Many who struggle with this think that they have to earn God’s love. But that is an effort to become righteous before God by your own efforts.

Self-righteousness is always defined by self. You decide what is right and wrong. You vainly attempt to define what is good enough to please God. Or, more accurately, you determine what pleases you. You desperately work to get to the point where you can say, “This is good enough. I bet God likes me now.” If we’re really honest with ourselves, the ultimate reason we want God to like us is because we think if He likes us, He will do what we want Him to do. More often than not, we think we can manipulate God to give us what we want.

This is something that I personally had to deal with, as a result of my years of dealing with depression and suicide. But God has shown me how much he loves me. Even when I struggle with my impression of how others might view me, I am fully convinced and have no doubt about God’s love for you and me.

Here are some more scriptures of God’s love for you (in addition to the ones above):

  • His mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23)
  • He loved us before we loved him (1 John 4:19)
  • There is no condemnation in him (Rom 8:1)
  • Nothing can separate you from His love (Rom 8:38-39)

God is love (1 John 4:8). And 1 Cor 13 defines love as:

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not]puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails
1 Cor 4:4-8a

As my pastor put it years ago, God is a God is second chances. He’s like a father teaching a kid how to ride a bike. The kid falls over. The father picks him up, dusts him off, and says, “Ok, let’s try again.”

Truth to move forward with:
You can’t work to get God to like you and at the same time rest in the fact that God already loves you. You have to choose.

9. Believe In Yourself

There are several clear warnings in the Bible on why you shouldn’t believe in yourself. Three of the biggest are:

  • Believing in Self Caused the Fall of the Human Race
  • Believing in Self Caused Problems for the Israelites in the Old Testament
  • Believing in Self Is the Opposite of What Jesus Taught.

Jesus taught that we need to deny ourselves, to take up our cross daily and follow him.

Truth to move forward with:
You don’t have to live with the pressure of believing in yourself when you full trust God to be in control.

I’ve only briefly covered these 9 common lies that Christians believe. The author, Shane Pruitt, goes into more detail in his book 9 Common Lies Christians Believe: And Why God’s Truth Is Infinitely Better.