It’s Narcissist Friday!
One of my favorite memes has large graffiti on a wall that says “Question Everything.” Underneath, someone has written, “Why?”
It is, perhaps, a duty of youth to question. As we get older, we tend to get stuck with traditions and habits that have little purpose or benefit. At one point, certain actions made sense; now we are just used to them. Habit is a path of less resistance.
Young people wonder why older people do those things. They should wonder. They should ask. At the same time, older people wonder why young people do certain things. And they should, and they should ask. Sometimes a question is good for us.
But there is a difference between questioning and rejecting. I think we should be quick to question and slow to reject. Some people seem to forget that you can question without rejecting. They reject first, sometimes even without questioning. They reject something just because it is traditional or old or familiar. They reject just because it comes from a certain person or a certain group.
At the same time, we should not expect to receive completely satisfying answers. Sometimes we might, but there are many things in life that are hard to understand. Part of maturity is realizing that there are things you don’t know and may never fully know. You can still question and search, still study and investigate. Perhaps the answer is there for you if you seek it. But often it will not be, or it will be different from what you expected.
In every generation, it is popular for young people to question the things of their faith. In our day, some are calling this “deconstruction.” In the past, some called it “modernism,” then “post-modernism.” Usually, this settles into a pattern, a new tradition, which the next or some following generation must question. The circle continues.
It is unfortunate when this questioning of your faith becomes rejection. To reject the faith of parents or grandparents simply because it is theirs is foolish. To reject it because it is hard to understand may betray your own ability and wisdom. Neither bigotry nor doubt should cause us to reject something so important.
Why are there discrepancies in the Bible? How can a good God even speak of Hell? What about those who never heard the gospel? These are reasonable questions. The answers are challenging, but two things will help settle your heart. First, there are answers! You can find the answers if you ask the Lord and seek the truth. Second, remember the things you do know. The love of God is certain. The fact that He desires a connection with you is true. There are things you do know.
I have told people for years that you must always step from what you do know to what you don’t know. In other words, be sure of what you do know. Then, and only then, you will be prepared to question and understand what you don’t know.
But, if you reject the things you know because they are connected with people or traditions you no longer respect, then you may not have the tools or the wisdom to understand what you don’t know. The Lord tells us not to rely on our own reason, especially for the things of the faith. That does not mean our reason is unimportant. It means it will not be sufficient. There is a place for faith, for trusting what we know from the Lord. Paul said these things are “spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor 2:14)
And if you reject the people who do not think like you, perhaps because of your bigotry or ignorance, you may cheat yourself out of a great deal of wisdom. Even if you ultimately think their ideas and beliefs are not right, you can learn from their arguments and reasoning.
So, yes, question everything. Question everything this world offers you. Question everything people say is important. Question everything about your leadership. Question everything about your faith. The gospel can stand up to your questions. Not everything will. But don’t be quick to reject anything or anyone.