What’s Wrong With Doubt?

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Is it wrong to doubt? Is it wrong, or sinful, to say “I’m not sure”?

Why is it okay in some circles to admit, “I’m not sure”; yet in church, with matters of faith, we are expected to swallow everything we’re told?

Whatever happened to “Holy Leniency”?

If the Lord could allow people to doubt without scorching them with the fire of Heaven, can’t we?

Doubting is actually part of the believing process. Note the difference between doubt and unbelief!

Doubt: to be uncertain about (something): to believe that (something) may not be true or is unlikely: to have no confidence in (someone or something)

Unbelief: refusal to accept something as true.

Is it too much of a stretch to think there could be things we doubt about God, our faith, the bible, the church, Heaven, hell, and the antichrist? I think not.

Why does the church, as a rule, make people who doubt feel like they’ve committed the unpardonable sin? I know I have been guilty of it. And I know I’ve felt like it.

Doubt helps us realize what we really believe. It says to our heart and mind, “not quite clear enough, Bubba. See if you can get me some more evidence, or information, to process.” To attack the doubts in someone’s life is to attack the deepest and dearest part of that person.

Everyone holds their doubts as something very personal. Why? Because we all believe our doubts. Until our doubts are satisfied, that’s what we’ll believe. That’s where our “faith” is.

Doubting is like trying to navigate an unknown area without a map OR light. It’s not that we don’t want to believe there is such a place; we simply have nothing to build our belief upon. The more unknowns, the more doubts. Start clearing up the unknowns, doubts diminish and faith builds.

Let’s say Brother Bigmouth comes up to me and, for the first time, introduces himself to me. I’ve never met him, don’t know anyone who has met him, never heard anything about him. But after shaking my hand, he tells me to trust him, do what he says, and he’ll make sure I’ll become a wealthy man. Well, I’d have my doubts.

But if I knew him, or someone who did, or knew something about him, I’d have an easier time believing. Especially if everything I discovered was favorable. And faith would increase even more if I’d known him for twenty years and we’d spent a lot of time together. See what I mean?

No, doubting is not a sin. It’s a bit uncomfortable at times, and probably a little embarrassing. But lying IS a sin. So if you don’t believe, say so. And move on from there.

Notice how Jesus addressed some of his disciple’s doubts: “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:3-5 ESV)

When the disciples asked the Lord to increase their faith, they were actually admitting their doubts. Yes, there were times when he asked them, “Why did you doubt?” And sometimes we doubt because we haven’t been diligent about learning our “lessons” properly. But that’s for another post.

Even after Jesus was raised from the dead, some doubted.

“And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted.” (Matthew 28:17 ESV)

I’m not advocating “doubt” as a virtue; I’m just saying it’s part of the faith process. We ought to help one another with their doubts, instead of treating them like a second class Christian. Know what I mean?

Faith can and does move mighty mountains. But if we don’t help each other with our doubts, I doubt we’ll see any mountains move.

Do you have any doubts? Do you have an example of a doubt that was turned to faith?

One Comment

  1. Nice Article! I know for many Christians, having doubts or concerns makes them feel unworthy to enter a church building, or even pray. I particularly liked how you defined the difference between doubt and unbelief, and I have always been taught that if we are even simply willing to believe, and exercise even a little bit of faith, we will be strengthened as we act. Here is a link to an article I think you will enjoy. http://goo.gl/3vJe50

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