This past Sunday, the topic was being honest with God. And I think for most of us, we have trouble with this.
When I grew up in the church, I felt as if honesty was secondary to following the rules. You showed your level faith by how well you followed rules not by who you were as a person. Honestly about your doubt, about your issues with what was said from the front or how people acted outside the church was not welcomed.
I look back at those days and have to wonder what made those people not question, not share their doubts or not be honest? Is doubt such a bad thing?
There is a book that I really enjoyed reading. It is called “Benefit of the Doubt” by Gregory A. Boyd. This book was something I needed to read. It was helpful for me to see that others have struggled with doubt and with the baggage that half-truths can bring. It allowed me to see the value in doubt and the tension of not being 100% certain.
Here is one quote that I thought stuck out:
“Suppose you’re in the market to buy a car. You go to a used car dealer and find a car that you think you like, though the dealer is asking more money for it than you think this particular car should go for. But the dealer adamantly defends his hefty price tag by making a number of impressive-sounding claims about the car.
Before you put your hard earned cash down, you understandably are going to want to determine if the claims this dealer is making are true. And how would you go about this? You’d begin by entertaining the possibility that the dealers claims are false, either because he’s sincerely mistaken or (God forbid) because he is lying. And then, if you didn’t know how to do it yourself, you’d get a friend or hire a mechanic to open the hood, get underneath the car, and do everything that was necessary to thoroughly check the car out.
Now suppose a lot more than your money depended on accurately assessing the dealers claims. Suppose your eternal welfare hung in the balance. In this case, wouldn’t you go even further and perhaps get five friends or hire five mechanics to check the car out? The more that is at stake in the assessing a truth claim, the more intensely we work to determine if the truth claim is, in fact, true.”
So why is it that many of us have such a hard time being honest with doubt, disappointment or simply allowing ourselves to be ourselves with God?
I did not come to believe in God without questioning and doubting. In fact, I looked at many religions, ways and denominations even. I found people to ask questions, I looked at after-life theories and examined what I was my personal role or value in each of them. That was my journey. And in that, I found something more than ideologies or theologies; I found that there was a real God, a person, a relationship that not only brought me personal value, but allowed me to see the beauty in all of humanity.
Faith is not a word to describe something you just have. It is an action word. It is something that requires movement or action. It is one thing to believe in God, many do, but it is entirely different to ‘act’ on that faith. Even if your only action is to start finding answers to your doubts, it is a movement. If I can encourage you at all in this small blog post, it is to start being honest with God, so he can start being honest with you…
The story continues…