Emotional Doubt and How to Combat It
by Brian Chilton
In a recent class at Liberty University, it was noted how 80% of a person’s doubts do not stem from intellectual problems with Christianity, but rather from emotional doubt. Emotional doubt is a problem for every person, but it seems to be a tougher concept for men to combat. The reason is because most men abstain from talking about their emotions. Many will suppress the emotional doubt and ignore it. However, such actions do not eliminate the doubt. Emotional doubt may address issues concerning the loss of a loved one, an unanswered prayer, or frustrations in life for which one blames God.
Interestingly, emotional doubt can be combated by a form of biblical cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Some may claim, “Hold up, Brian! You are talking that psychology mumbo-jumbo! What good is cognitive therapy?” Actually, cognitive behavioral therapy is quite a good practice. Paul argues the following:
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things” (Php. 4:6-8).
The believer should focus on those things that build up one’s faith and not on worry and fears which cause anxiety. CBT does just that. Using CBT to combat emotional doubt is quite effective. CBT can also combat depression and anxiety. Biblical CBT follows three steps…