Two instances which we see from the teaching and life of Jesus are illustrative of this fact. In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus tells a parable (a story with a moral in simple words) in which the tax-collector makes a real connection with God while the Pharisee misses out on that. To put this into context, the Pharisee was part of the religious elite within the Jewish society of his time, while the tax-collector was part of what was considered as a dirty corrupt profession. The Pharisee made a long prayer, the theme of which was basically trying to say that he’s so much better than the tax-collector due to his moral purity and his religious piety. The tax-collector made a seven-word prayer - an honest confession that he was a sinner and desperately in need of mercy from God. This tiny prayer clicked with God. Why? Because God, as revealed in Jesus, values the warmth of relationship above the cold hard demands of religion. I’m aware this is a cliche, but well, it’s a good one. This is not to say that the tax-collector came with an attitude which said, “This is how I am. Take it or leave it.” In fact, he was saying, “This is how I am. Change me, Lord, please!”
In Mark 9:24, we see a very memorable confession of faith where a father who sought healing for his son exclaims, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” This sort of honest acceptance of being caught between belief and unbelief would probably be unacceptable to a lot of Christian leaders today. It simply would not conform to our formulaic conception of faith, that demonizes doubt, no matter how genuine. When we read the entire passage, especially the preceding verses, we understand that the harrowing life experiences that this man had been through had put him in this crisis of faith. And what he was saying to Jesus was that he desperately wanted to believe, but his ship needed steadying in the rough waters of doubts caused by painful circumstances. And Jesus did not reject this honest confession just because it didn’t adhere to a formula. He engaged with him, and healed his faith even as he healed his son’s body. I am aware of verses in the Bible which renounce doubters, but those are actually talking of skeptics, who lived by the philosophy of doubting everything for the sake of doubting. This wasn’t the sort of doubts that this man was having. So yes, Jesus receives those who strive for purity, but struggle with sin, and those who tend towards faith, but struggle with honest doubts.
So here’s an invitation for anyone reading this. If you are a person who has genuine doubts or struggles and want to fight through those to somehow connect with God or keep faith, our prayer is that this would become a page where you would find a lot of answers. If you would like to express some of your own struggles, opinions, or questions, feel free to write in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org