We’ve all heard it—Christians tossing around feel-good Jesus quotes when times get tough or even awkward. Intentions are usually good, but biblical accuracy isn’t always on point. In fact, Jesus frequently gets misquoted.
Here Are 6 Jesus Quotes Christians Might Have Made Up:
- “Go your way and do what makes you happy.”
We live in a unique time in history, where comfort and happiness rule the roost. With a quick scroll on Instagram, it’s easy to find—and want—a flawless feed filled with fancy coffee, darling vacations, the latest shoes—the list goes on. We’re looking for the next thing to make us happy—a sizeable nest egg! iPhones! Netflix!
While none of these things are wrong in themselves, Jesus never said that happiness or comfort is our highest goal. Instead, He said things like:
… “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 NLT
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth … Store your treasures in heaven …” Matthew 6:19-20 NLT
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NLT
- “Follow me and you’ll be trouble free.”
Honestly, a trouble-free life sounds lovely. Wouldn’t it be nice if salvation came with supernatural bubble wrap? But, alas, it doesn’t. A common misconception is that if we choose to follow Jesus, life will be awesome. We’ll rarely get sick, never have financial hardships, and somehow dodge the bullets of suffering.
However, both the problem and the solution are found in a one-liner from Jesus. He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV). On this side of heaven, we will have trouble—a reality that’s inevitable. But the Good News is: Jesus has overcome the world. And that’s a promise that’s better than bubble wrap.
Okay, maybe you’ve never actually pictured Jesus shouting, “YOLO,” aka you only live once—especially since He so clearly blew this meme out of the water with His shocking resurrection. But our culture is definitely urging us to live our best life now. To soak up today because, according to modern trends, today is all we’ve got.
However, Jesus said:
“My kingdom is not of this world …” John 18:36 NIV
“Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” John 12:25 NIV
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?” John 14:2 NIV
For those of us in Christ, our best life is still to come.
- “Neither do I condemn you; go and do whatever you want.”
People love to pick sides, gravitating toward either truth or grace. But Jesus was a big-time advocate of both. People are also prone to justify their sin, saying, “Well, even if it’s wrong, God will forgive me.” But Jesus wants more for us—not for some weird, legalistic perfection, but for our own joy.
When a woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus to be stoned, He brilliantly told the accusers without sin to cast the first stone. Of course, there weren’t any. One by one, they all left. Then Jesus lovingly told the embarrassed, terrified woman, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11 NKJV). Because of grace, we have the freedom not to be a slave to sin. Because of grace, we have been empowered to become more like Christ.
- “I’ll forgive you, even if you don’t forgive others.”
In Matthew 18, Jesus tells the story of a servant who’s been cleared by his master of a massive, humongous debt. A debt that he could not pay. But then he refused to forgive someone who owed him much less. When the master found out what happened, he was furious. In the same way, it breaks God’s heart when we love receiving His grace by the bucketfuls, but hand it back out to others by tiny teaspoons.
Though we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, true forgiveness beckons repentance and mercy. Forgiven people offer forgiveness to others. Jesus actually said to forgive “seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22 NLT), which basically means again and again and again—just as He forgives us.
- “You get what you deserve.”
Typically, it’s not too bad to “get what we deserve,” especially if we’re on the upper half of that totem pole. If we work hard, we get the prize. If we mess up, we get the shaft. But, unfortunately, we are bona fide sinners in an incredibly broken world. We deserve death. We deserve wrath. We deserve eternal separation from God.
Thankfully, the Bible tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NIV). And Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36 NIV). This free gift is better than life, and this truth is far better than that Jesus misquote. Fortunately, we don’t get what we deserve—through Christ, we can receive undeserved grace, instead.
So the next time you’re tempted to share something you’ve heard a lot of Christians say—take some time to make sure it’s something Jesus actually said. Because real Jesus quotes have the power to transform our lives and provide true encouragement.