The Virtue of Doubt
One common issue with modern Christianity is that many children and teenagers simply accept the faith of their parents without truly engaging with the ideas and claims for themselves. Many parents are thrown off guard when their high school or college-age kids suddenly begin expressing doubts over their faith. In reality, this is a normal and healthy process. I do not believe that God is pleased by Christians who express faith in Him simply because their parents said so. What God desires is those who are completely committed to His cause. They have counted the cost, weighed the issues, and made the informed decision that they choose to pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ.
If the person whom you are dating is expressing doubts about his or her faith, engage the doubts. Do not try to resolve the issue straight away, and do not dismiss the doubts. Ask good questions. Try to understand what she or he has understood about the subject in the past, and what other ideas they are currently considering that are causing doubt in the first place. Seek out mentors and resources that can explain multiple sides of a certain issue. In order to wrestle with doubts, one must seek guidance, think critically, and ultimately make an individual decision on the matter.
This can be, and often is, an extremely edifying experience for the Christian. When a believer can finally break free from believing what they have been told their whole lives, to having a true, genuine commitment to Jesus Christ, it is a beautiful thing. Doubt is the very foundation of this process.
Who you share your doubts with is important. If you share doubts you are experiencing with a pastor or mentor, they can help to address your questions with grace and knowledge, guiding you towards Christ with their responses. However, if you express doubts with non-Christian friends, they may contribute to your doubts and leave you in a more uncertain position by the end of the conversation.
If the person whom you are dating is having doubts about their faith, do not be quick to run away. Press into these doubts. What initiated the doubts? What are the implications of these doubts? Who else do you know who has experienced similar doubts? Do you have any insight to share on the matter? Have you yourself thought critically on these matters?
Join in with your friend in exploring these doubts and see how God is able to work through the process. Is it possible that your friend will experience doubt to the point of walking away from the Church? Yes. Is it also possible that working through such doubts can be a turning point, leading him or her to a deeper, richer relationship with Christ than ever thought possible? Absolutely. Allow the words of Solomon to guide you on your journey through doubt:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.” (Proverbs 4:13)
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