In a recent article, Greg Morse argues that doubt dishonours God. According to Morse, doubt dishonors God because it is a failure to trust him: “We slander him when we refuse to trust him.” The article is well-written and worth reading, and it should lead us to reconsider what it means for us or others to doubt.
After all, the experience of many Christians is one of doubt. Some lack assurance of their faith. Others become overwhelmed by the weight of their own sin. Still others are weighed down with regret.
What do we do when we doubt or deal with those who doubt?
To find the answer, let’s take a step back and look at what the Bible says about trust and doubt.
The Concepts of “Trust” or “Faith” in the Bible
If doubt is the opposite of trust or faith, then we need to see what the Bible says about faith or faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” So, faith is an assurance of hope. It’s a conviction that the invisible will become visible.
Our faith ought to be a sure faith in the promises of God.
This seems to lead to the conclusion that any doubt is a lack of faith and a doubt in God’s promises. In short, it would dishonour God. And it seems to lead to the conclusion that doubt should be confronted and condemned.
But The Bible Says More
Jude 22 says, “And have mercy on those who doubt.” As God had mercy on us to forgive us of our daily failures and sins, so also ought we to have mercy on those who doubt.
Love covers a multitude of sins. And while our daily failures and doubts are sinful, there is no sense in which we ought to condemn those who doubt.
When the Shulammite woman is self-conscious and seems to doubt her worth in Song of Songs (1:5–7), Solomon encourages her and uplifts her; he calls her beautiful (Song 1:15).
Love affirms and comforts. It does not rebuke those who doubt.
A Biblical Balance
Doubt is wrong. But we are called to be merciful to those who doubt.
Doubt is a not a malicious sin. It’s a condition of believing that “I am not good enough to be accepted” or “how can this be true”?
Doubt’s prescription is not condemnation. The medicine for doubt is mercy.
Morse rightly identifies doubt with a lack of trust in God, but his article does not go far enough. (In all fairness, no one article can say everything that needs to be said). It doesn’t underscore sufficiently the heart of Jesus who says, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt 9:13 NIV).
*Note: Greg Morse’s article is well-written. When read as a whole, the article is not as harsh as the quote above could suggest. Please read his article here to make your mind up about his argument. I agree with much of it, but, as noted, I think Morse should have underscored the role of mercy when it comes to dealing with doubt.