Or, more genteelly, 10 Cliches Christians Should Avoid by Christian Piatt.
I checked, and I’ve said precisely two of these cliches, and one of them, back when I was knocking doors for Jesus in Joplin, Mo., I said quite a lot. I regretted it at the time because where someone was going to spend eternity seemed to be their business, and my asking them felt intrusive to the extreme. I did it, anyway, because their soul — and mine — was in the balance. I’ve said this before but I’ve often thought of going back to that neighborhood where I was bringing in the sheaves — or trying to — and knocking on doors to apologize.
Sorry for interrupting your Saturday so many times. Sorry for the arrogance. Sorry for trying to scare you into heaven. Sorry.
And then something hit me a few weeks ago. After the devastating May 22, 2011, tornado that blew a third of Joplin to thunder, I was back in that same neighborhood knocking on doors to distribute goods to people who were picking through the devastation, trying to reassemble their lives. At one point, I was banging on a door holding a box of pulled pork calling out, “Red Cross!” which is a lot different from banging on a door and asking somberly, “Where do you want to spend eternity?” People greeted me with hugs and with tears when I handed over a box of food, and wrote down whatever else they needed, and then went and got it. I don’t know. Bringing relief and listening to their stories — it was still soon enough for people to want to talk — felt like the most holy thing I could be doing.
And I never said so out loud, but maybe that was my sorry.