There are a lot of spiritual seekers and spiritual orphans around.
And there are more every day. Including those who seemed to be firm in their faith.
Many long-time believers, even church leaders, are making statements questioning their faith. Others are taking a break from church attendance and religious devotion out of confusion, anger and apathy.
Still others, after having been damaged in unspeakable ways, have outright denounced their faith – if not their faith in Jesus, at least in the church’s ability to properly represent him. Some have left the idea of God behind entirely in an embrace of secularism, agnosticism and atheism. Sometimes in active ways (“there is no god!”) some passive (“don’t know, don’t care”).
When it all adds up, there’s more high profile departure from and uncertainty about faith than I’ve ever seen before.
So, today I have an announcement of my own to make.
I’m not going anywhere.
I’m not saying this with any sense of pride, superiority or anger. At least I hope not.
Instead, I’m speaking to all the spiritual seekers, abandoners and denouncers to let you know four hopeful realities:
Hopeful Reality #1: I Sympathize
It may seem like there are only two responses to people who have abandoned or questioned their faith. Rejection or acceptance. But I can’t do either one. Because, even though I’m not taking that path myself, I sympathize.
Stepping away from a faith that you don’t sincerely hold is the right move to make. Truly. The Bible is very clear that a lukewarm faith is worse than a hot or cold one (Rev 3:15). God despises it when we go through the motions even though there’s no active faith behind those motions (Matt 15:8-9).
There have been, still are, and will always be far too many people who retain the outward trappings of faith with no real heartfelt connection to it. So recognizing what you really do or don’t believe, and acting upon that is the right thing to do.
Sometimes, what we think is a step away from genuine faith may actually bring us closer to it than when we were feigning certainty.
Hopeful Reality #2: I’m Not Moving
I’d be lying if I told you I’ve never doubted. I have. Very deeply at times. I’s also be lying if I told you that I’ve never gone through the motions of faith without really feeling it. I have.