March 18 – Hard Questions 2.0 – How to answer hard questions

Read James 1:19 and Colossians 3:12

One of the worst failings of my Christian walk was how I handled an attempt to share the Gospel with a close family member. My attempt was indignation cloaked in understanding, and superiority masked as empathy. Not surprisingly, it was ineffective. The fallout from that was years of separation, accompanied by broken trust which may never be completely repaired.  As I reflect on that situation, the primary thing that I failed to understand was that my family member had been wrestling with extremely deep, complex, and significant questions. They were crying out for wisdom and understanding, compassion and attention, and I trivialized their questions and misinterpreted their intent.

In our Christian walk, when we come across hard questions, I believe there are best ways to handle them. 

To start with, we must NOT be afraid to ask hard questions, and as Christians, we MUST acknowledge them. We cannot be lazy, and must seek the answers! If God is who He says He is and all wisdom is found in Christ, then we need not be afraid of being stumped. Ask God to reveal truth to you… it is the promised work of the Holy Spirit! 

In today’s passage, we are instructed to be “Quick to listen”, and “Slow to speak”.  Before telling a fellow brother or sister how they should think about a tough question, command yourself to be silent and listen FIRST. Listen to God, listen to that person’s heart and perspective. You may see evidence of God already at work in their life, and it’s usually more successful when you are partnering with God as opposed to trying to run out in front of Him!  

Secondly, you MUST be familiar with, and seek guidance from His Word. The Bible is the PRIMARY way in which God has revealed Himself to us today.  Combined with Creation and the gift of Jesus, God’s desire to be known to us is wrapped up in His perfect Word. Any answer to any difficult questions MUST be grounded in Scripture, for it to bear any semblance to the truth.  

What if you aren’t all that familiar with Scripture and don’t know where to look? There’s instruction for that as well… seek WISE COUNSEL.  This means to find another person, be it a friend, family member, pastor, co-worker, who is perhaps more able to help discern the best way to minister to a question you or someone you care about is struggling with.  God designed us to live in community, and part of the beautiful design is how He uses His peoples’ lives to build experiences and perspectives that help the church minister to a hurting world… ask God to show you someone who can help!  

Grace Church is here to walk with you through these types of situations!  There are small groups, Sunday school classes, ministries, and multiple pastors at Grace Church available to help find God’s will in everyday life, and to encourage those seeking God’s way in their life. Let’s not be afraid to ask tough questions, let’s be diligent and zealous in seeking answers, and let’s help those around us find peace through the wisdom offered by Jesus!

Craig French

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