“I have doubts about God.” Those words can be scary. Especially when they’re said by a friend or family member. If that’s where you are right now, maybe you’re not sure how to respond, or you tried to bring answers or comfort, and it didn’t go as well as you hoped.
So how can we help our loved ones who have doubts about God? There’s good news. God gave you everything you need to help your friends and family. You can have confidence as you step into these conversations.
3 Ways to Help Loved Ones With Doubts About God
Rarely does one conversation resolve doubt, but consistent care from trusted people can make a big difference. It’s also rare for someone’s doubt to go away when given a list of answers. More often, people need a judgment-free space to express their thoughts and feelings. So how do we build trust and create safe spaces? Here are three simple ways:
1. Give permission to doubt.
Doubt can be hard to talk about. Your loved one may be afraid of how you’ll react. Maybe they’ve tried to voice their doubts before, and it didn’t go well. Or their doubt could be tied to past trauma they’d rather not talk about. So if someone shares a doubt with you, the best first step is to thank them. Thank them for showing trust and for their courage.
Jesus modeled this for us when He showed care and respect for people of differing beliefs. He helped people through their doubts and never shamed them for having questions. So let’s follow Jesus’ lead by being a grace-filled companion as others process their doubts.
2. Avoid rushing the process.
Helping someone process doubt can feel like helping someone heal from a physical injury. You could try to rush the process, but it’ll often do more harm than good. That’s because doubt is rarely just intellectual. It’s connected to our feelings, experiences, and relationships. So it’s a lot to untangle.
Your loved one will probably want some answers, but they might also need time to talk about their feelings. How long? Everyone’s process is different. So be prepared for a journey. We can’t force anyone into authentic faith, so love should be our only agenda. We can do this by giving our friends and family time to process doubt alongside trusted relationships.
3. More questions. Fewer answers.
Your friend or family member might say some things that make you uneasy. Anything from doubts about God, questions about the Bible, or suspicions about the church could come up. In those moments, you have a choice.
Imagine your friend tells you they have some doubts about the accuracy of the Bible. You could launch into a passionate explanation of why they should trust the Bible, which might be helpful. But what if they’re asking because they saw someone they trust use the Bible to back up a hurtful belief? And now they’re doubting the Bible and aren’t sure if they trust God. Simply asking, “Can you tell me more about your doubts?” could have made all the difference.
Answers can be helpful, but only after you understand the doubt. And the best way to understand is by asking questions. So leave assumptions at the door and approach every conversation with curiosity.
Even though there are no magic words to resolve doubt, you can have hope. Why? Because the faith of your loved one is in God’s hands, not yours. He loves them, and He loves you, and He’ll will be with you both every step of the way. You have everything you need to help others process doubts about God. You don’t need special training—just need compassion and curiosity.