Criticizing Bible Characters

Time to share a pet-peeve.

I get real tired of Christian-types ripping on biblical characters for their lack of faith. A few examples with the typical modern take on them:

Gideon–he was afraid, an angel shows up and he still goes out at night? What a wimp. When God calls him “a mighty man of valor,” God was obviously making fun of him.

Thomas–he doubted, he wasn’t even at their prayer meetings! He wouldn’t believe until he saw for himself. Doubt is baaaaad.

Peter–does the guy never shut up? What incredibly stupid things he says. Even after he received the Spirit, Paul still had to reprimand him.

Jonah–he went the opposite direction! He thought he could escape God. He even had the nerve to be mad when his enemies were saved, he even whined about a plant dying.

On and on, we take these biblical accounts and chalk them up as actions of true losers. All these criticisms are spoken by people whose largest showings of faith consist of saying a prayer, speaking a sermon to like-minded people and maybe, possibly, once or twice sharing the Gospel with an actual unbeliever.

Guys in the Bible are no different from us. I’m pretty sure if God asked you to tear down your fathers idol you’d do it at night too, if at all. It may be possible you’d miss a prayer meeting or two after your favorite religious teacher died.

Seems our criticism of these guys is a defense mechanism in place to ward off facing our own lack of faithfulness. Criticism says more about the criticizer than the one being criticized.

Faith is hard. It was hard for Gideon, Jonah, Peter and Thomas. And it’s hard for us too. That is the lesson. Be wary of comfortable, armchair quarterbacking when reading the Bible.

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