The people who are perplexed and wrestle with doubt, in my opinion, are the most intellectually honest people in the world. They are men and women who cannot rest on unthoughtful traditions or flattering words; they must get to the bottom of things. Even a light survey of the Gospels reveals that Christ was fond of these kinds of people.
How did Jesus deal with doubters?
Jesus never failed to distinguish between doubt and unbelief. Doubt says, “I can’t see it.” Unbelief says, “I won’t see it.”
- Doubt is honest; unbelief is obstinacy.
- Doubt is looking for light; unbelief is content with darkness.
Christ attacked the unbelief of the Pharisees and scribes, but He was generous and tolerant of the doubters like Peter (Matt.14:28-33), Thomas (John 14:5-6; 20:19-28), Philip (John 14:8-9), and even the Pharisee, Nicodemus (John 3:1-16).
How did Jesus deal with their doubts?
The church said, “Burn him” or “Brand him,” but Christ says, “I’ll teach him.” When Thomas doubted His resurrection, Jesus did not give him a tongue lashing―He gave him facts! Jesus said, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing” (John 20:27). The great lesson of the New Testament way of looking at doubt is not to brand people, but to lovingly and wisely teach them. Faith is never opposed to facts or reason, it is opposed to sight.
How are we to deal with doubt in those to whom we minister?
- First, we must make all the concessions to them that we can.
- Second, we must challenge them to set aside, by an act of will, all unsolved problems. Problems like evil, the Trinity, and the relationship between human will and predestination. These are questions that the biggest brains in the world have wrestled with and have never solved completely.
- Third, remember that talking about difficult or unresolved theological issues only aggravates the doubter.
- Fourth—and this is a very important point—turn away as soon as you can from the reasoning and the feelings and go to the man’s moral life. By this I mean leave the great perplexing issues and deal with whether he is doing any good or is wasting his life. Shift him from thinking about things to doing things. In other words, what is he doing with his life? Is he making any difference? Any good that has happened in the world came from doing and not just thinking. At this point you are in a perfect position to show him Christ and point him to what He has done.
How are we to deal with doubt in ourselves?
- Ask God and believe that He is not reluctant to give you wisdom. (James 1:2-5)
- Intend to obey His will before He reveals it. (John 7:17)
- Don’t lean on your own common sense, but acknowledge His right to rule in your life and bow your reason to His majesty. (Prov.3:5-6)
- Look to the facts of the Word of God to show you how to live each day. (Ps.119:105)
- Always doubt your doubts, never doubt you faith. (2 Tim.1:12)