The Bible and Doubting Thomas:
Most have heard of the phrase “doubting Thomas” –that phrase comes from a story in the Bible about Thomas the disciple who doubted things –and had to see them before he believed them. When Jesus was crucified on the cross and resurrected Thomas refused to believe until he could see the evidence himself. Upon seeing Jesus himself and the wounds in his hands –he believed.
The name Thomas comes from the Aramaic word te’oma which means “twin.” It was undetermined if Thomas was really a twin! I believe the name and the story of Thomas refers us not to the name or phrase “doubting Thomas” but the two states of being we often experience within ourselves. These two states of being are always at play in our lives and whether or not we realize it – we are always choosing one of the two states of being. The choice of seeing before we believe or believing before we can see with our eyes.
In essence it’s about using the power of our creative minds. It’s about the inner vision (our spiritual vision of ourselves) we hold in our minds about ourselves, our goals and our dreams versus the outer appearances.
A Doubting Thomas in Hawaii
Before we explore more about the meaning of the two Thomases in our lives. Allow me to share a story about a Thomas I met in Honolulu, Hawaii. I was living in Honolulu Hawaii many years ago and taking the bus (known as “TheBus” from my place of work in downtown Honolulu to my home in Palolo Valley. One day I met a man named Thomas at the intersection of Kapiolani, King and Waialae Avenue. I got off the bus and there was a homeless man there –unshaven, long hair, quite a sight!
For some reason I was drawn to talk with him so I invited him to sit down on the bench with me. He told me that his name was Thomas and that he had experienced many challenging situations leading to homelessness and alcohol abuse. His eyes were dull and lifeless and he seemed to be in a hopeless state of mind. He had spent the last 3 years on the street and said that he had chosen to drown his sorrows with alcohol.
Out of the blue—I posed a question to him –I asked him – so which Thomas are you?
He looked at me with surprise and asked me to explain. So I told him the story of Thomas in the Bible. I went on to tell him – “You sir, have a choice on which one you will be –will you be the doubting Thomas –doubting yourself and your potential or will you be the Thomas that believes in himself?” He looked at me and said he would think about it and meandered on his way.
I never expected to see him again.
Two weeks later –I exited the bus at the same place and I noticed a man sitting on the bench. And as I walked by –he spoke –“Hey, don’t’ you recognize me?” I looked again and it was him!!! Clean shaven, cleaned up and bright eyes!! He said – “I made the choice to believe in me”. We talked for a bit –he said he was looking for a job –was giving up the alcohol and felt much better about himself.
I congratulated him on his choice, we hugged and we both went on our way. I don’t know what happened to Thomas – but I do know that for that moment in time – he had made a decision to believe in himself and not in the circumstances of his life! That despite the outward appearance of his life, his hardships – he could pull from that inner vision of the person he could be!
I believe this Thomas that I met was buying into his outward circumstances of his life and allowing those circumstances to be his life –homeless, wandering without direction in his life. All that it took was a few words of encouragement about his belief in himself to turn it around! He became the Thomas who had belief in himself and his potential before he saw the results!!
In the Bible, Jesus goes on to say “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet believe.”
Applying it to our Lives
So what does this mean in our lives and how do we apply the principle of the “doubting” Thomas? So many times we put our dreams out there, we are working on them –yet we do not see results…and we begin to doubt. The doubting Thomas within us wants to see before we believe, but the law of creation requires us to first believe and then we will see. I “believe” that belief is like faith –we plant a dream (seed) and even though we cannot see the growth yet, we water it and nurture it and before long it becomes a reality (plant). In other words, we not only work the process but also trust the process- even though we cannot see the results. Just as the “Thomas” did in Hawaii who chose to belief in the Thomas within him who saw potential instead of the Thomas who chose the doubts.
Which state of being am I choosing? The doubting Thomas? Or the believing Thomas?
Where in my life am I choosing to believe the “doubting” Thomas?