I think that the basis of all knowledge is faith, so we always have more faith than we realize: we have faith in our teachers, in the articles we read, in the videos we watch, in the words of others. We have faith in science and math. We have faith that the sun will rise and that our lives will turn out okay.
But when it comes to spiritual faith, sometimes we all struggle to believe.
Faith is a choice. None of our knowledge is certain; some of it is just more widely accepted. And when we believe something that isn’t widely accepted, it can be harder to make that choice.
I have struggled at times in my life. How do we help those in the middle of a struggle? Here are some thoughts:
- Listen without lecturing. Sometimes people just want to be heard and validated. They don’t need advice; they just need to talk.
- Take the time to ask questions. You don’t have to avoid hard conversations. You can instead ask caring and kind questions to people. Sometime it’s really easy to hide what you are struggling with, but you don’t really want to. When someone shows concern, that can help open up opportunities for growth and connection.
- Be present, and be okay with discomfort. Sometimes you don’t know what to say and you don’t know what to do. But you don’t turn your back on people. You maintain friendships and you show up even if you feel a bit uncomfortable.
- Respect other people’s choices. People are going to make different choices And that’s good. Let people go through their own journeys, and try to be understanding and kind.
- Don’t condemn. While it may seem that someone has made a wrong choice, it might not be that way from a different perspective.
- Provide helpful resources. For people you are close to, who are searching for truth, it can be helpful to share the words or movies or sounds or images that have inspired you.
- Share personal experiences. Maybe those experiences aren’t necessarily inspirational or perfect or whatever, but giving a bit of our imperfect selves can help people through their own journey.
- Love more. Fill relationships with love, with genuine concern for another person and with respect for them. It is better to love than to be right.
And we shouldn’t treat people differently just because they are struggling with something that we don’t know how to deal with, whether that is a struggle with their faith or any other struggle in their life. Show up. Be present. You’re going to make mistakes and say the wrong things, but you can’t say and do the right thing if you aren’t there.