At some point, most Christians doubt God, the claims of the Bible, and the reality of Jesus. Especially in today’s climate, God, the Bible, and Christianity are under intense and critical attack on many fronts. Questions abound and are often not taken seriously or answered. Slowly, faith can break down, leaving many people feeling lost, alone, and frustrated. With people feeling more and more spiritually homeless and frustrated with Christianity, how do we in the church reach out to them and help them? There’s no easy answer, but here are three ordinary but impactful ways you can reach out to those who are struggling.
Listen with Patience
The first thing we need when we doubt is someone who will just take the time to sit and listen to our questions and doubts. We need someone who is willing to come alongside us with patience and love–someone who won’t ridicule us, shoot us down, or rebuke us for having questions and doubts. Often, the road back to faith is paved by the love and grace of people willing to walk with the doubter through the dark times of uncertainty.
Get at the Roots
Crippling doubt comes from a variety of factors that can be difficult to sort through and figure out. The reasons for the breakdown of faith need to be sorted through carefully and examined. It is often the case that our doubts have their own doubts. We must be sensitive and thoughtful enough to help people discover the root of their doubts and uncertainties so that we can understand the specific issues and lovingly and gently interact with them.
Walk With Them
In many cases, there are good answers to common causes of doubt; but often the answers take a lot of time and effort to work through, and it helps when someone goes through the process with you. Be someone who welcomes people fighting battles of uncertainty, and support those who are often plagued by anxiety and depression. Seek to offer them a safe place to explore their questions and find the answers.
Finally, when people come to you in search of answers, always do your best to remind them of the gospel–Jesus’ love for sinners that led him to die on a cross to free them from sin. The most compelling thing about Christianity is the whole point of our faith: the work of Christ for salvation from sin and death.