‘Doubting Thomas‘ is a man for all ages and one of my favourite biblical characters. I love his honest doubting, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will NOT believe.”
Richard Dawkins should be proud of such an attitude.
We are not told, but I wonder how the disciples responded to his refusal to believe? Were they disappointed, frustrated or angry? Did they take offence at his refusal to accept their testimony? Whatever their response it begs numerous questions on how the church handles the doubts and questions of believers, unbelievers and would be believers.
My experience has been that the church struggles to appropriately handle doubt.
When in my early years I raised questions about the exclusive claims of Christianity, people quoted scripture and prayed for me. It was not helpful but I did not say so for it was highly likely that it would have been misunderstood and I may have been labelled a backslider!
Doubt is not disbelief. It is an honest exploration of issues.
Os Guiness in his book Doubt, states that if a doubt is substantiated then we can abandon a false belief but if a doubt is proved to be false then our belief is strengthened. With Thomas the Lord met him in his doubts, gave him incontrovertible proof and led him forward. We need to follow his example by meeting and walking with people through their doubts. A non judgemental but frank Emmaus road journey with people can prove to be immensely helpful to those working through their doubts.
I had to prayerfully work through the questions on my own and the Lord graciously answered my questions, but I would have appreciated it if someone had accompanied me on that journey. Let us accompany people through their doubts and stay with them however long it takes, for it demonstrates sacrificial, unconditional love for them.
As for Thomas, he went to India, preached the gospel and was eventually martyred there. It is worth sticking with doubters, for amazing outcomes can emerge through them.
- Journal Entry – April 27, 2011 – Doubting Thomas (lindalulong.wordpress.com)
- T.Didy Gets the Short End of the Gospel Stick (josephyoo.com)
- Stop Doubting & Believe (truth4today.wordpress.com)
- Passage of the day: John 20:24-28 (standingatthedoor.wordpress.com)
- Seeing His Scars – Easter 2011 (captivatedbychrist.org)