Before you write off this post as click-bait or heresy, hear me out. Remember doubting Thomas in the Bible? In John 20:27, Jesus welcomes Thomas’ doubt by inviting him to come and experience Jesus as the resurrected Lord. He does not condemn his doubt as weak, or even nonexistent. Think about it, we often blackball Thomas as doubting, but how many of you have gone to a funeral and had dinner with the deceased later on? I probably would have been Thomas if I were in the same situation to be honest. So if Jesus did not condemn Thomas for his faith, why do we do that to our teens?
Not to mention that welive in a post-modern society and culture. This is a fancy way of saying that our culture today says truth is relevant, or in simpler terms what is true to you and true to me can be different things. There is no “absolute truth” according to culture today. And that is the culture which our teens have been raised in. All faiths are the same, everyone believes in the same God with different names, all religion is the same – these are just some of the claims of society today.
At times I find it annoying when teens doubt in their faith, but it is easy to do that on the other side of my own wrestling with faith. Not everyone has to have this crazy testimony of Jesus rescuing them from addiction or what have you, but everyone wrestles with this decision. Or at least they should.
I actually am more worried when teens come to faith WITHOUT any struggle or questions.
Giving up the throne of your life to Christ and committing life to follow after Christ is no small decision. To quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Do you hear the depth of the decision there? Or what about Jesus’s words? “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34, NRSV). That is no small decision. Paul says he will live or die for Christ, whatever comes his way. And that is the marker of faith. That is the call of Jesus. That is why that Bonhoeffer quote earlier is from a book called The Cost of Discipleship.
Because following Jesus is costly and not a light decision.
Jesus welcomed Thomas’ struggles to faith, and we should do the same. Be ready when the time comes to help them walk through the doubts and struggles to the other side. Following Jesus is a journey, be their tour guide.