All of us have heard them. The trite expressions bantered about in the world around us. Here is my Top 10 list of expressions used by the world and my comments on each:
1. “Bigger is better.”
No, better is better. Just because something is big doesn’t mean it is better.
2: ”The More the Merrier.”
See the comment on #1. More of something doesn’t make us merrier. I think of the biography of Howard Hughes, America’s first billionaire. Hughes was married three times yet declared in his biography, “I never knew if any of them loved me or my money.” More does not necessarily mean merrier.
3. “Sex sells.”
Yep, an attractive woman showing some skin on the cover of a magazine or a billboard does indeed attract attention. Does it generate sales? That is open to debate. Sex generates looks and possibly sales.
4. “Youth must be served.”
We live in a culture which, in my opinion, overvalues youth and undervalues age. Jews have a saying, “You don’t get wisdom until you’re 30.” That’s why all rabbis had to be at least 30 years old. Also, you must be at least 35 years of age to be the President of the United States. Other cultures, China in particular, value the elderly because they are repositories of wisdom. In this country we don’t. Don’t get me wrong. Youth has a lot going for it: zeal, energy, attractiveness, stamina, and talent but youth does not have either experience or wisdom. They make foolish decisions and take huge, often life-threatening, risks. In order to acquire experience and wisdom, you have to have lived life and gone through the hard knocks life hands you.
5. “Science has all the answers.”
We need science. The discoveries science makes are amazing and we all benefit from them. The Bible and science, however, are not contradictory. They are complementary. However, science does not have all the answers. It speaks to the physical and mental realms of man. The Bible speaks to the spiritual dimension of man, something for which science has no answers. In the spiritual realm we have moved into the dimension of God. Much of science is atheistic and does not acknowledge God. No, science doesn’t have all the answers.
6. “God helps those who help themselves.”
No. God helps those who call upon Him and ask for His help. This expression implies that we help ourselves and God blesses it. The life of faith in God depends on Him to answer prayers, open doors, give thoughts to think and words to speak.
7. “The one who dies with the most toys wins.”
You’ve probably seen the poster of the luxury home with a pool, expensive cars, and a boat. The caption is the above expression. My question is, “wins what?” When you die you leave all the toys behind. The winners are those who are born again. They go to heaven to be with Jesus.
8. “Question authority.”
I’ve seen this bumper sticker on a number of cars over the years. What is it saying? I think it is telling us to not accept authority or what authorities say simply because they are authorities. Okay, I can affirm that. Authorities can abuse their power and must be questioned. However, Romans 13:1 tells us “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. . . “ So, what is the upshot of all this? We must submit to authorities, not question them, as long as they rule within their God-given domain. If they step out of that domain and attempt to rule outside of the realm given to them, they must be questioned and even resisted (Acts 5:29).
9. “See it to believe it.”
This expression is contradictory and those who use it know better. We cannot see, touch, taste, smell, or hear radio waves yet we know they exist and had we a receiver, we could hear what is being broadcast. Seeing is not believing when it comes to many issues. Rather, this expression is the opposite of faith. Faith is “being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1, italics mine). If I can see it, I don’t need faith. God is always and only pleased by faith (Hebrews 11:6).
10. “Out of sight, out of mind.”
This expression can be true. If something is no longer visible to us we can forget it pretty easily. The expression, however, is not true of the ones you love. Though they be out of sight and far removed from you physically they are not out of mind. You think of them, long for them, and pray for them.
Trite doesn’t trump truth,