Gospel Relevance

Gospel-Centered Resources For The Gospel-Driven Life

6 Things Christians Should Say More Often

When was the last time you told someone you loved them?

Last week I wrote an article citing six Christian cliches that I think, quite frankly, Christians should just stop saying. Growing traction quickly, I was surprised to see the post go viral (well, sorta, not really), and to see so many Christians in agreement (and disagreement).

With that said, however, I think a follow-up post is necessary, in which we discuss some things that Christians should say more often.

What are they?

Here’s six things Christians should say more frequently:

1) I don’t know. God is all-knowing, but we are not. When we pretend as if we know the answer, when we really don’t, we diminish our credibility. Not only that, we also hurt the people we speak to. Here’s a new idea: When someone asks a question and we don’t know the answer, it might be wise to say, “I don’t know.”

2) I’m grateful for ____. The seasons of our lives change. We might go through times of blessings or burdens, success or suffering, prosperity or poverty. But no matter what season we find ourselves in, the goodness of God never changes. We all have a myriad of things of which we can and should be grateful for.

3) I love you. Because no one ever gets tired of hearing that they’re loved.

4) You hurt me. Often times, we’re not really hurt. What happened was our ego and pride got in the way. But, when Christians legitimately sin against us, we shouldn’t refrain from confronting them just because they’re in Christ. We should repent of our own sin, overlook annoyances, and confront the sin in others — in love, and to build-up.

5) You’re great at ___. The author of Hebrews commands us to encourage one another daily (Hebrews 3:13). Now, we don’t want to flatter people, because flattery is sin, but we should be quick to spot signs of grace and godliness in others, and tell them about it.

6) (Say nothing). Job’s friends were the best counselors on the planet . . . until they opened their mouths. Paul tells us to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). James tells us to be quick to listen, and slow to speak (James 1:19). It varies case by case, but often the best thing to say to a sufferer is to say nothing.

Words are powerful; they can build up, or they can destroy. There’s lots we shouldn’t say, but also some things that we should say. And we’re responsible for both. As Martin Luther once noted, “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.”

What would add to this list? Post your comments below. 

About David Qaoud

David Qaoud (MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary) is associate pastor of Bethesda Evangelical Church in St. Louis, Missouri, and founder of gospelrelevance.com. His work has appeared on The Gospel Coalition, For the Church, and Banner of Truth. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and son. Learn more.

27 Replies

  1. I forgive you…and mean it. Too often I’ve heard Christians say this to someone, then later on recant to someone else about how so-and-so offended them. That’s not forgiveness! Once you’ve forgiven then it’s not to be brought up again. How would we fare if we asked God to forgive us, then at our judgment he said, “well, remember all those times when…”?

    1. Great point! Agree on both ends. We should be quick to forgive not only with our words, but also with our hearts.

  2. Hi David. How are you, sir? Another scintillating post. The one about saying “I love you”? Well, I’m a buttoned-up Brit and when the Holy Spirit started speaking to me about my relationship with my daughters – I realised I’d never really told them that I loved them. It seemed a bit of a mouthful to me!!! So, I started off by saying “love you ” on the phone. Felt strange at first but got better!! Small steps. Small steps. With our brothers and sisters? Not sure. Will need to work on that one!! Thank you. I enjoyed this. Every blessing -Reuben

    1. Always great to hear from you, Reuben! I feel your pain on saying, “I love you.” It can feel awkward. But I’ve never once regretted telling someone that I loved them. We’ll grow in this together.

  3. mgsunshine

    I pray for courage to do number 4 because I’d rather brush it under the rug and overlook an offence than go through awkwardness of addressing it. but i know it can hurt a fellow believer by not letting them know that they are wrong.

    1. Yep — that’s a tough one. Conflict is not always easy. But it’s necessary at times.

  4. I’m so grateful for this post. It’s a very sobering reminder of a few “shoulds” in the bible that aren’t as hard to do as we Christians sometimes make them out to be. May God continue to bless your efforts for the Kingdom!

  5. What comes out of the mouth is determined by what fills the heart. If we are being filled with God’s spirit, the spirit teaches us what to say or not say. If we are not being filled with God’s spirit, we are being foolish, not knowing what God’s will is.

    1. Yep. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

  6. “Trust God” would be my choice for something Christians should say more often to each other, and to themselves: When we ‘don’t know’; when we are ‘grateful’; when we wonder about ‘love’, are afraid of ‘love’, or are in ‘love’; when we are ‘hurt’; when we are trying to be ‘great at something’; and when we are trying to understand when to ‘say nothing’. We should say, “Trust God.”

    Another great job, David, as always.

    1. Agree with you, Tony. Hearing “Trust God” never gets old. He’s trustworthy and faithful indeed. Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. Matt Medema

    Excellent post. I agree on all 6 points. How about “Blessed be the name of the LORD”?

    1. Matt, great one! Love that phrase.

  8. Some good ones there! Not so sure about “I love you” though. I have heard many times people saying “I love you” in a passive aggressive manner. Actions to demonstrate one’s love are the best way to say “I love you”.

  9. hi sir, i just started following you and I find it interesting reading your blogs. I started reading in this blog. For a woman, it’s very easy to say how they feel like “I Love You”. but for the man I am clinging too.. I never heard him saying it back to me. Just “Thank you”. It really hurts that he is not sharing anything to me, despite of me being so much open to him and enticing him to be open to me. but what tells me always, “give me some time.” Every time I am thinking not to show him what I feel I feel so sad. that’s why no matter how many times (for a month) I force myself not to cling to him, something inside me tells me to ask him how is he feeling.. how is his day.. the cycle is like that. then he will me, “I’m busy, no time for messages” . I didn’t find any love from him but why do I still love clinging to this man? I’m kinda weird. I know.. P.S. Sorry for my emotions, I was just touched by this blog 🙂

  10. Rose

    Thank goodness! These let me know I’m doin’ just fine…well, sort o’…

    I’m keepin’ on…keepin’ on.

  11. David, a wonderful list. So was your list on what not to say. I think “I don’t know” is a huge one. We so often, in our attempt to have answers, want to fake it. “I don’t know” shows honesty and humility. You are so right: “Words are powerful; they can build up, or they can destroy.”

    So glad to meet a brother in Christ and get connected.

    1. Likewise. Agreed on your comment. Need to say it more myself.

  12. I gently disagree slightly with number 6. First use number 3 – then say nothing more.

  13. This is a good list, David. Your thoughts are helpful for the body of Christ. I fear that as a whole, we do not think clearly enough or critically enough about the effect of what we say on those who hear us, especially the unbelievers. Thank you for your clarity. Thank you also for stopping by Garment of Praise.

  14. Nice post. Thoughtful and sincere. I was edified not only by your wise post, but also by this posts comments.

    1. Great to hear. That’s exactly the goal. Don’t want this to just be me writing, but want to make it a communal activity where we all chime in and encourage one another.

  15. Katie

    I think one thing to add to this list that we, as Christians, should say more often is, “I’m sorry.” I think a lot of us tend to let our pride get in the way sometimes, when we really should apologize and make amends. It’s not always easy to admit when we’ve made a mistake, because we oftentimes want to be right. I believe that when we’ve hurt somebody, God wants us to go to the person and say, “I’m sorry” and genuinely mean it. This is something I’m also trying to work on myself.

    1. Yes. Apologizing, confession, and repentance are crucial. Admitting we were wrong is a big first step.