The church is not always a safe place for people with doubts. Far too many Christians experience guilt, loneliness, and confusion whenever they doubt their faith in God or the key doctrines of the church. This is very, very sad because we are specifically instructed within Scripture to express mercy toward those who experience moments of doubt. Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, cautions the church to be careful with those who may have been troubled by the false teachers of the day. Here are his words:
22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
People who go through a season of doubt should not be slandered or criticized. They should be surrounded by love and mercy. We should be merciful to them because that is how Jesus treated folks. Let me give you a great example of how Jesus was not threatened by or hostile toward those who admitted their doubt. He had solutions for their doubt.
John the Baptist was one of the great men of faith. His short yet brilliant ministry was designed to put the focus of the Jewish people to their coming Messiah. However, John the Baptist had a significant moment of doubt. In the twilight of his career John found himself in prison and in danger of being put to death. He had been hearing the incredible accounts of the ministry of Jesus but He had expected that when Jesus came on the scene He would immediately set up the kingdom as he had been announcing. As John struggled with what he saw and what he believed–he asked two of His disciples to find Jesus and ask Him if He was God’s Messiah.
John wasn’t sure and had questions. In other words, the great John the Baptist had a genuine moment of doubt on whether Jesus truly was the intended Messiah. Here’s what I love about this story and the lesson we learn about the reality of doubts in the life of the Christian. Jesus didn’t rebuke John or chastise him. Listen to His words,
So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.
Luke 7:22 NIV
Jesus simply reminded John’s disciples of the miracles He was performing and then he quoted Isaiah 61:1–2 to show that He was fulfilling prophecy. In other words, He gave John the Baptist evidence. The evidence was designed to bolster the faith of John the Baptist. So the next time you have a moment of doubt—don’t panic, don’t automatically feel guilty, don’t stick your head in the sand. Doubt is not a death sentence. Everyone has had moments of doubts. There are easy steps to disarm your doubt—pick up my book Footprints of Faith to learn three steps that might help you, your children, or grandchildren.