What? An open mind may let the devil in. That’s okay. Let him in and convince him that his “evil spirit” is wrong and tell him to “Get thee behind me, Satan.” That’s what Jesus did, and it worked!
Some may say that “Doubting Thomas” was flirting with the devil. But most of us can identify with him at some point in our lives. Some of us struggle with our faith and we question our own beliefs. We don’t understand some of it and we allow labels to separate us. I’ve been told many times that it’s okay to question your faith. Some folks just take the beliefs they’re fed during childhood and that’s good enough for them. I heard a friend of mine exclaim, “I’ve lived through a lot of preachers but I haven’t allowed any of them to mess with the beliefs that my Momma taught me.” Wow. He protected himself from every preacher-storm that blew in. an unexamined faith may not be worth very much. If we don’t rise a little above the prayer of childhood: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep…”, our prayer life is like a dried up creek in late August. That’s like climbing a prayer-ladder and never getting beyond the first step.
Thomas said he wanted to see the nail-prints in the hands of Jesus before he could believe (John 20:19-29). He sought proof of the Resurrection and he got what he was asking for. We, in this scientific age, are living in the “show me” atmosphere. It is the empirical mindset that comes from the assumption that if it’s real, it needs to be tested in a lab so it can be visually observed. It’s like “seeing is believing, feeling is believing, smelling is believing” and so on. But have you ever tried to put love in a laboratory? Yet, I’d bet my life that love exists. An atom you cannot see, but there are those who will testify that atoms exist. You can’t see an idea, but your head is full of them. When it comes to spiritual things, you simply cannot dissect them. Faith is like that.
The German philosopher Geothe once remarked, “I will listen to your convictions, but keep your doubts to yourself.” I’m not sure I’d go along with that. Let’s talk to someone we can trust about our doubts, and maybe we will gather a little insight or a new perspective. We may have to let go some old, worn-out notions for a fresh insight into God’s eternal truth. That’s happened to me so many times. Isn’t that what we mean by “spiritual growth”? We give up old wineskins for fresh new ones.
You have to look at the historical context of each Scriptural message and ask, “Who wrote it?”, “To whom was it written?”, “Why was it written?”, and “What were they trying to say?” Of course, some of it is pure history, such as the “begats”, which may be interesting to somebody. Having faith doesn’t mean we have to check our brains at the counter. The bible talks about studying so you can show yourself approved. Confusion comes from taking every passage on face value. The Bible is the history of real people at a real time, with human limitations. This makes it even greater because I can relate to it better. The authors of 66 books had their struggles, just like us.
I believe God not only speaks through the written Word, but in many other, far more subtle, ways. It seems to me that God works through people today as God did in the Old and New Testaments. All of us need the gift of discernment as we plow through every furrow of truth, understanding that the Scriptures contain parables, metaphors, legends, history, poetry, hyperbole, and so on. There is something wrong in thinking that your way and your beliefs are the only true and tried beliefs. That’s religious prejudice. There’s no telling how many people have been killed because they didn’t believe what others believed. All we have to do is look at the Crusades or the Holocaust or many present-day tragedies. Live and let live, believe and let believe. God speaks in many different languages, especially if the language speaks of love at the center.
I believe our spiritual evolution is just beginning. As a race, we are beginning to realize the things that divide us—racism, sexism, nationality, blood, anger, fear, creed, ignorance, greed and much more. There are hundreds of hate groups across our country. And yet…
“There is good in the worst of us,
And bad in the best of us.
So it behooves the rest of us,
Not to judge any of us.” -Anonymous