Beware of Generalizations

During my years in school I’ve learned a number of important tidbits. One of these being: Do not make generalized statements. I have tried my best to remember this for papers, my book, and really, for any conversation.

On my way home from work today I noticed an interesting church sign which read: Adversity turns us to God; prosperity turns us to self. My eyebrows furrowed. My thoughts sounded something like, Is that true? Do all adverse situations turn people to God? Is prosperity always about focusing on oneself? You understand where I’m going with this right? Generalizations! Can adversity turn people to God? Absolutely! But how many of us know people who followed the Lord, and then when adversity came they hated Him? Maybe they walked away for good? Most of us would raise our hands to that. Can prosperity lead us to focusing on ourselves? Yes! But are there not many wealthy believers who use their prosperity to further the kingdom of God? Of course! To say that prosperous people do not turn to the Lord is a discredit to people like David and Lydia (Acts 16).

Perhaps this church did not mean to generalize. It’s possible that they just couldn’t fit more words on that sign. However, it is important to be aware of what we teach and learn. If a wealthy unbeliever reads this sign (which I’m sure some have) what would he/she think? What message does it send? What does it say to believers? Something to think about.

So, what should this sign actually communicate? Sometimes adversity turns us to God; it is possible that prosperity may turn us to ourselves.

It’s really about our motive, isn’t it?

©Lauren Heiligenthal



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