Speaking Of Life 2021 | Patron Saint of Doubters
Have we as Christians made doubt a sin? Have we taken a very natural reflex that God put into us and made it into a transgression? For example, are reflexes like blinking in the sun or sneezing a sin?
There are two pitfalls with doubt. On the one side, you make doubt an unpardonable sin. You make yourself and others believe by force and replace any “glance towards land” with slogans or platitudes: God said it, I believe it, that settles it!
On the other side is to indulge doubt and begin to question everything. We live in an age of dogmatic doubt. No tradition or community or faith system is to be believed. Just watch the movies – almost every religious character (Christian or otherwise) is secretly living a double life. We end up with a kind of burned out cynicism in which no one and no idea is to be trusted.
The big double standard here is that when you doubt everything, you don’t doubt your own doubt. Does that make sense? You don’t doubt your own abilities to question whatever it is you’re attacking. Maybe you have your own agenda? Maybe there are secret fears or desires that fuel you and your doubt is not a pure intellectual quest. Doubt can become a snake that bites its own tail after a while.
Thomas, the patron saint of doubters, became the great proclaimer, and he can be very encouraging to us. All of us might have had a little trouble if Jesus came back from the dead, which no one had ever done, and everybody just said “Hooray!” and believed it without any friction. Thomas proves doubt is not a sin.
Thomas is included in Jesus’ story because he asked questions – like anyone would – when seemingly bizarre things happened. And notice Jesus’ response.
Jesus, who had a pattern of going out of his way for sinners, disabled, and unseen people, makes a special trip to come close enough to the doubter that Thomas can touch the evidence himself. And it changed Thomas’s doubt into belief and worship. Jesus wants to put our doubts to rest.
May Thomas’ faith, and the Lord’s intimate attention turn our doubt into proclaiming “Our Lord and our God.”
I’m Greg Williams, Speaking of Life.