If you're like me, you don't enjoy situations like these. In fact, I would go so far as to say I hate having to say the words "I don't know."! We like to know the answers to questions. And if we don't know an answer right off the top of our head, we at least like to be able to find it! But while the picture that the Bible paints of a maturing Christian does include growth in knowledge, (Philippians 1:9 & Colossians 1:10 for example), we're never told that we need to have each and every answer. The reality is that the Christian faith leaves room in some areas for not having all of the answers. I'm sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, but it's true. I've suggested before that there are some things that are relatively unknowable simply because they have to do with a God who is infinite and we are distinctly finite. Frankly, acting as if every question has a simple answer is somewhat...well...dishonest. And guess what? People often pick up on that! They might think we're trivializing their question or condescending to them. Or they might just surmise that we're fake; and if that's true, perhaps our entire faith is a house of cards. Sometimes I think the best thing is simply to tell someone, "That's a great question, and I'm not sure I have the answer. In fact, I've grappled with that same question!"
But here's what the Bible does call us to do: "to be prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have." (1 Peter 3:15, which ought to be familiar to those of you who have been with us on Sunday mornings.) THAT is a question you can answer! And while we don't want to be dismissive of people's tough questions, the reality is that these questions can often be a distraction from the Gospel. So, whenever we can gently and respectfully steer the conversation back to what we DO know—that our Savior lived, died, and rose again so that we could have new life—that's a win! Don’t be afraid of hard questions or about what you don't know, and don't be afraid to admit it. But recognize what you DO know and don’t be afraid to share that boldly!
- Pastor Paul