Have you ever questioned your faith in Jesus? Have you ever found yourself struggling to follow the teachings of the Bible? If so, you are not alone. Doubt and uncertainty are common experiences for believers and non-believers alike. However, it’s important to approach these doubts with kindness and understanding towards oneself and others.
In this post, we will explore ways to practice kindness towards sceptics and cultivate a deeper faith in Jesus.
1. Kindness towards Sceptics
When you encounter sceptics, it’s essential to show kindness and understanding. Instead of dismissing their doubts or beliefs, listen to them with an open mind. Try to see things from their perspective and empathize with their struggles. Avoid arguments or confrontations, as they will only push the person away.
Doubts are a natural part of faith, and it’s essential to acknowledge them. By understanding doubts and finding faith, you can strengthen your relationship with Jesus. When encountering sceptics, show kindness and understanding, and avoid arguments or confrontations. Remember, Jesus is always there to help you and guide you on your faith journey.
To begin, it’s important to understand the nature of scepticism. Scepticism is the practice of questioning assumptions and beliefs, including those related to faith and religion. It can be triggered by a variety of factors, including personal experiences, scientific discoveries, and social pressure. While some may see scepticism as a threat to their faith, it’s important to view it as an opportunity for growth and deeper understanding.
One example of scepticism in the Bible is found in the Gospel of Mark. In chapter 9, a man brings his son to Jesus for healing. The man expresses doubt in Jesus’ ability to help his son, saying
“If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” — Mark 9:22.
Jesus responds by saying,
“Everything is possible for one who believes” — Mark 9:23.
The man then cries out,
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” — Mark 9:24.
This exchange illustrates the tension between faith and doubt and shows that even those closest to Jesus can struggle with scepticism.
2. Responding with Kindness
When encountering scepticism, it’s important to respond with kindness and understanding. This means listening attentively to the person’s concerns and acknowledging the validity of their doubts. It also means refraining from judgment or condemnation and instead offering support and encouragement.
One way to respond with kindness is to share personal experiences of doubt and how you overcame them. This can help the person feel less alone and provide them with practical strategies for dealing with scepticism. Another approach is to offer resources such as books, podcasts, or sermons that address the person’s specific concerns. This shows that you are invested in their spiritual journey and want to support them in any way you can.
An example of responding with kindness can be found in the Gospel of John. In chapter 20, Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, expresses scepticism regarding Jesus’ resurrection. He says,
“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe” — John 20:25.
Rather than condemning Thomas for his doubt, Jesus appears to him and invites him to touch his wounds. This gesture of kindness and understanding leads Thomas to exclaim,
“My Lord and my God!” — John 20:28.
[blockquote align=”right” author=”Jesus is more intelligent than we are, and asking Him questions is a great way to find answers.”][/blockquote]
When you have doubts, it’s essential to acknowledge them. You may wonder what will happen if science proves that God does not exist or if Christians who oppose same-sex marriage are bigots. These are challenging questions that require careful consideration. It’s important to remember that questioning your faith does not mean you’ll lose it. In fact, asking difficult questions can be an excellent way to learn and deepen your faith.
Jesus is more intelligent than we are, and asking Him questions is a great way to find answers. If you struggle to follow the Bible’s teachings or believe in Jesus’ claims, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can turn to trusted friends, pastors, or faith communities for guidance and support. You may also find comfort in prayer or reading the Bible.
3. Practising Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Practising empathy towards sceptics involves putting oneself in their shoes and attempting to see the world from their perspective. This can help build trust and facilitate honest communication, which can lead to deeper understanding and stronger relationships.
One way to practice empathy is to ask open-ended questions and actively listen to the person’s responses. This shows that you are interested in their thoughts and feelings and want to understand them better. Another approach is to avoid making assumptions about the person’s beliefs or motivations and instead ask for clarification if something is unclear.
An example of practising empathy can be found in the Gospel of Luke. In chapter 24, two disciples walk to Emmaus when they encounter a stranger who asks them what they are discussing. The disciples share their doubts and concerns regarding Jesus’ death and resurrection. The stranger listens attentively and then reveals to them that He is actually Jesus Himself. But before He does, He listens to their doubts and concerns with empathy and compassion. He takes the time to understand their perspectives and feelings before addressing their doubts and sharing the truth with them.
This example shows us that empathy is an important component of kindness towards sceptics. We must take the time to listen to their doubts and concerns and seek to understand their perspectives before we can effectively address them. This approach not only shows that we care for them as individuals, but it also helps to create a safe and respectful environment for dialogue and growth.
[blockquote align=”right” author=”we must also respond with patience towards sceptics.”][/blockquote]
4. Responding with patience
In addition to practising empathy, we must also respond with patience towards sceptics. It is easy to become frustrated or dismissive of those who hold different beliefs than us, but responding with patience and understanding is key to building relationships and encouraging growth.
The apostle Paul provides a great example of responding with patience towards those who hold different beliefs. In Acts 17, Paul visits Athens and encounters a group of philosophers who do not believe in the God of the Bible. Instead of immediately dismissing or becoming angry, Paul engages them in conversation and seeks to understand their beliefs. He even quotes their own poets to make a connection with them and begin a dialogue.
This approach is a great example of responding with patience towards sceptics. Rather than immediately shutting down or becoming defensive, we should seek to understand their beliefs and engage in respectful dialogue. This approach not only shows that we value them as individuals, but it also opens the door for further conversation and growth.
5. Living out kindness
Finally, it is important to remember that kindness towards sceptics is not just about what we say, but also how we live our lives. Our actions speak just as loudly as our words, and living out kindness in our daily lives can be a powerful witness to those who hold different beliefs.
[blockquote align=”right” author=” By living out kindness in our daily lives, we can be a powerful witness to those who hold different beliefs, and demonstrate the transformative power of the gospel.”][/blockquote]
Jesus Himself provides the ultimate example of living out kindness. He spent His life serving others, healing the sick, and caring for the marginalized. His actions demonstrated his love and compassion for all people, regardless of their beliefs or background. And ultimately, His sacrificial death on the cross demonstrated the depth of His love and kindness towards all humanity.
As Christians, we are called to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and live out kindness in our own lives. This means serving others, showing compassion, and caring for those who are marginalized or in need. By living out kindness in our daily lives, we can be a powerful witness to those who hold different beliefs, and demonstrate the transformative power of the gospel.
In conclusion, kindness towards sceptics is an important component of Christian witness and discipleship. It requires practising empathy, responding with patience, and living out kindness in our daily lives. By doing so, we can create a safe and respectful environment for dialogue and growth, and demonstrate the transformative power of the gospel in our own lives.
As we seek to practice kindness towards sceptics, let us remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:16: “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” May we be a shining light of kindness and compassion in a world that desperately needs it?
Let Us Pray
Loving Father, we come before you with humble hearts, seeking your guidance and wisdom. We thank You for the gift of life and for all the blessings You have bestowed upon us. We pray for your grace and strength as we navigate through the challenges and uncertainties of this world.
Lord, we ask that you help us to cultivate empathy towards others, especially towards those who may not share our beliefs or values. Grant us the ability to see others as you see them, with compassion and understanding. We also pray for those who are struggling with doubts and questions regarding their faith. May they find comfort and solace in your love and may their doubts lead them to a deeper understanding and relationship with you.
Finally, we lift up all those who are in need of healing, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. We ask for your healing touch to be upon them and for your peace to fill their hearts. We pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.