Dealing With Our Doubts
It is safe to say that there is not a person living who has not had doubts in the realm of religion. Conviction or faith is described in the Bible as "evidence of things not seen." Obviously, if one is unfamiliar with available evidence on a subject, he will be doubtful concerning it. Thus we see one of the causes of doubt: Ignorance.
Doubts and their antecedent ignorance are not wrong in themselves. On the contrary, if dealt with properly, they can be the occasion of leading to greater growth and knowledge. As is too often the case, however, the doubter mishandles his doubts which then lead to his own harm as well as that of others. It would appear, then, that it is of the greatest importance for us to know how to deal with doubts when they arise. When some doubt is raised in our mind concerning a doctrine or religious practice, there are three courses of action usually open to us.
- We can harbor that doubt and constantly look for things with which to nourish it until it makes complete ruin of our faith.
- We can express such doubts publicly and thus run the risk of creating further doubts in the minds of others.
- Or, we can engage in diligent investigation of the subject and resolve or confirm the doubt.
Unfortunately, too many doubters want to expose their doubts before anybody and everybody. Some do this in writing, from the pulpit, and in Bible classes. It is one thing to have strong convictions on something and stating such convictions publicly. It is quite another thing to entertain doubts and express such before babes in Christ, the unconverted, or outright enemies of truth. When we have doubts, don't spill them all over everybody else and thus run the risk of hindering the free course of truth in other people.
Obviously, one should never leave a doubt alone. Doubts are like a leaven that, left unattended, will eventually permeate and corrupt all of one's convictions. Doubts indicate insufficient evidence to bring real conviction, either because such evidence does not exist or because the doubter is unfamiliar with it. So, let's not harbor a doubt and foster it with continued ignorance. Get after it! Face it squarely and do something about it! Dig the information out of the Bible for ourselves. Or study the matter with ones who have more knowledge of and no doubts about the subject. Find out wherein their confidence lies. Don't just take their word for it. Require them to point out the evidence from God's word.
One cannot live happily in doubt. Eminently more important, one cannot serve God acceptably with a doubtful mind (Romans 14:23). So, when doubts arise (and they will), face them for what they really are: signals indicating that our knowledge is deficient, then get busy and investigate. By so facing our doubts we will not only resolve them, but will find ourselves growing more and more in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.