Everyone has said things like, “God won’t give me more than I can handle.”
But Shane Pruitt, national Next Gen director for the North American Mission Board, says in his book, “9 Common Lies Christians Believe,” that phrases like that are neither biblical nor helpful.
“There are some biblical truths that are appropriate during those dark seasons, that are really helpful and can help you move forward,” Pruitt said. “A lot of these cultural clichés that we share with each other, all the well-meaning, are not biblically true, and they’re not going to help us in the long run.”
Though trying hard, having confidence and setting goals aren’t harmful, Pruitt suggested of the “nine lies” one the most damaging is, “Believe in yourself.”
“I believe that all the other lies have a root of that — of believing in yourself — you being in control; you being your own god. The big temptation wasn’t eating the fruit, the temptation was, ‘Hey, you can be like God. You can be your own god. You don’t need to listen to God. You don’t need to trust God,’” Pruitt said.
“At the end of the day, we were not created to believe in ourselves. We are not created to live this life in our own power. We are not created to live this life being our own god. We are not created to live this life being in control of everything. We are created to believe in someone bigger than ourselves — His name is Jesus,” Pruitt declared.
Other substantial lies are, “Follow your heart” and “I could never forgive that person.”
“Follow your heart” is especially common among young people, Pruitt noted, though the Bible says the heart — emotions, desires and feelings — is deceitful. Though important, it can change easily.
“I think we’ve had a whole generation growing up of young people that’s been told, ‘Your feelings, your desires, your emotions — those are your greatest dictators,’” Pruitt noted. “It’s really dangerous to follow those. We almost act like our heart is this infallible GPS that will never lead us astray.
“We don’t follow our heart; we need the Holy Spirit to lead our heart.”
Pruitt said “9 Common Lies” came out of a dark season when he and his wife, Kasi, adopted their first child. After praying about which country to pursue they felt a peace about Uganda.
Though she prayed to find a child no one else wanted, they both secretly hoped for a son who was “big, muscular and Christmas-card-photo ready,” Pruitt said.
But they found Titus, a malnourished infant with an infected head wound. They knew he had many unique needs but didn’t know the full extent.
“In [his] first year with us, we found out so many things that he was struggling with,” Pruitt recalled. “Once he got back here to the States, we were able to get him into hospitals and to meet with doctors and therapists and neurologists. We found out that he was suffering from a seizure disorder and had seizures every day. He was in and out of the hospital.”
Friends tried to offer encouragement.
“Well-meaning people would say things like, ‘You know, God won’t give you more than you can handle,’ or, ‘If God calls him home, then God will gain another angel.’
“It’s all those well-meaning statements that, first of all, weren’t helpful at the time, and secondly, we knew weren’t biblically true.”
Pruitt reveals in the book that not only did those statements not help, they made the couple angry. It took a lot of energy to keep up a façade and “put on a happy face, no matter what,” he said.
So they decided to look at Scripture.
The truths they learned are now being used to teach others through the book. Churches are using it for a series of sermons, and discussion questions make it helpful for small groups studies.
Pruitt’s faith in God’s love has been reaffirmed through this journey, he said.
“God loves us; He loves us so much. He is with us, and He’ll never leave us or forsake us. He’s not just God with us in the good days, but He’s God with us in the difficult days. Sometimes in the most difficult of days, that’s when God reveals Himself the most; that’s when God teaches us the most; that’s when God grows us and matures us the most.
“More than anything, this is just a book to go, ‘Hey, we all go through ups and downs in life and we all go through good seasons and seasons of struggle. But in that, God is still with you and God loves you and the Word of God is always relevant,’” Pruitt said.
“It hasn’t always been easy, but God has been faithful through it all.”
The book, “9 Common Lies Christians Believe,” can be found at Amazon or anywhere books are sold.