Are you like many people across the nation who grew up going to Sunday school or in heavily Christian influenced environments? Did you ever have a teacher or leader who got frustrated with you for asking questions? This is all too common of a story, and is often a basis for why people leave the faith when they are older. They grow disillusioned with the neglect of hard questions that leads them to giving into their doubts and turning away from God.
We’re here to tell you that having questions and doubts is not a sin and should never be discouraged. Those who get frustrated with questions tend to be people who like to exercise power or control, which is not easy to do when people question you. However, all power and control ultimately belongs to God, and He has infinite patience with our questions, our doubts and our other struggles.
Questions are good
Think of the best students in any subject. Math. Literature. Biology. None of them could go on to become experts in their field if they weren’t allowed to ask questions in the classroom. Christian communities should be open to the same level of scrutiny. By asking questions, whether based out of curiosity or doubt, one can gain the answers they seek, or at least grow closer to God in the process of seeking.
If you have questions, we encourage you to ask them! And don’t despair if you don’t find the answers. Many Christians who are genuine about their faith are candid about not knowing answers or spending a lifetime in pursuit of them. God meets us in these places, and we would never want that experience to be denied to you.
What to do when you doubt
If you’re having doubts about God’s teachings, His character or even His existence, we encourage you to express your doubts and pursue the answers, not shy away from them. When doubting, you can:
- Talk to someone you trust — Hear us again. Someone you trust. Not necessarily a church leader or a teacher, although they may indeed be the person you trust. Find someone you know who will listen to you and respect your time and concerns. This person will validate your doubts and should commit on some level to working through them with you. They may pray with you. They may point you to helpful resources. They may even have the answer to your question! The point is, don’t hold your doubts in. Talk to someone and let them join you in your journey.
- Take your doubts seriously — So often, people develop doubts or questions and then stop there. Not just with faith, but with anything in life that appears to be mysterious or is difficult to understand. That’s because seeking answers isn’t easy. Sometimes we’d rather give in to neglect or fantasy than pursue the truth. Don’t let this type of thinking shape your mind. Take your doubts seriously, and be diligent in pursuing the answers if you truly desire them.
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At Unfiltered Radio, we’re all about exploring what it means to authentically follow Jesus and wrestle with the hard questions in life. Check out our podcast to listen to daily episodes about personal growth, spiritual growth and talking about hard questions about God.