At our last official meeting, we talked a little bit about Thomas, and how natural doubt is for us- and how God can use our doubts to strengthen our faith. If there’s no room for doubt, there’s also no room for faith to overcome it.
The progression from doubt to faith is what we discussed last Sunday night. Doubt is natural, it’s ordinary.
But faith is extraordinary. It’s knowing something about God, seeing him, hearing him. Father Rob often uses the Celtic term ‘thin places’ for those experiences, a sky full of stars or a mountaintop or the ocean or even a song that gives you goosebumps, where we feel closest to God and are reminded of his fingerprints all around us.
And because he is divine, those experiences are literally supernatural. But, because of our tendency to doubt, sometimes we second guess that feeling. Did I really feel God talking to me, answering me?
Is that true? Is that really you, speaking to me?
In looking at last week's gospel reading, we see a lesson that should be so obvious- of an unmerciful slave, whose master first pardoned him. And it's easy to see how he should have acted until we put ourselves in his shoes.
In practice, we hold on to guilt, even once we’re forgiven. Imagine you are this slave- it’s pretty easy for me. I promise to do my best to repay this loan, that is literally impossible for me to pay back.
And then, rather than acknowledge how blessed I am, how great this Lord is, the truth- I cling to a different story.
The narrative I tell is all about me. About how I need to get my affairs in order, how guilty I am of being wrong and misguided and indebted- are other people going to see that I don’t have it together? And, in my own head where I have all this pressure about how others will judge me, I forget that I have a merciful master. I want to feel righteous again, and powerful. So I throw my fellow slave into prison.
Guilt and shame are heavy, and keep us from the truth, but only temporarily. Because we can’t hide from our Lord- like a baby playing peek a boo, it sometimes seems like he can’t see us if we cover our eyes. But really, we are the ones that can’t see him. We can’t see the truth of our creator with our hands over our eyes. We can't follow his perfect example until we direct our gaze at Him and His truth.
Matthew 18:21-35 Amos 5: 7 & 8