Imagine this scenario. Your friend at church (who is a believer) comes to you and confesses an ugly sin they committed. And they feel terrible about it. What do you say?
No doubt this scenario is played out countless times a week in evangelical churches all over the country–particularly given the church’s fascination with authenticity and vulnerability (see my post on that issue here). And it is not always easy to know how to respond.
But here’s one response that gets used a lot: “Don’t feel bad about this sin. If you are a believer, then God is always pleased with you. He can never be more pleased with you than he is right now.”
Is this response helpful? Yes and no. It depends on what a person means and how they frame it.
Our purpose in this post (as in all the posts in this series) is simply to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of this phrase. We will do this by asking three questions: (1) Why do people use this phrase? (2) What is correct or helpful about this phrase? and (3) What is problematic about this phrase?