“A car is made to run on gasoline, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. . . .There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way. . . God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because it is not there. There us no such thing” (CS Lewis).
More and more these days I hear about people who have dechurched and are in the process of deconstructing their faith. There’s a fundamentalist part of me that recoils and says, “How dare you? How dare you leave Jesus?” But most of the time it’s not about that.
Mostly it’s people who have been hurt by those who are in positions of leadership within the Church and who practice a Phariseeical form of Christianity that puts rules over people. Some people have been through hurt and trauma and are processing honest doubt and need answers to real questions.
I learned tonight at Kairos that the opposite of doubt isn’t facts. The opposite of doubt is trust. The way to interact with people who are deconstructing is not to argue theology or question their motives but to listen and to love well. It’s to walk with people through their journeys.
Ultimately, we need to be as patient with others as God has been with us. We need to remember that it was the kindness of God that led us to repentance and relationship in the first place. You and I need to learn a word that has become one of my favorite words — hesed. As I learned, hesed is when the person from whom you have the right to expect nothing gives you everything.
When you understand that you can’t outgive or outlove God, then you can be much more patient and understanding with people who have doubts and struggles. And that just might be what they need most.