“Now remember class, there’s no such thing as a stupid question”. I can remember my 2nd grade teacher saying this to us often after she’d had just given us a list of instruction to follow. She wanted to make sure we all felt like we knew what we were doing and why… and I guess she thought this would calm some of our insecurities if we DID have a questions but were too afraid to ask it in class. However most of us still remained quiet with the look of “I’m good” on our face – even if there was a question inside of us.
I’ve actually said this to my children as well. Come to think of it – I’ve said this to rooms of adults when hosting a Q&A about issue with life & faith. It’s interesting how we feel like this simple phrase has the power to break down walls of fear, anxiety and insecurity that lies beneath the surface of our “I’m good” exterior.
WHY? If we’ve been given permission to ask ANY questions and that there really is NO STUPID QUESTIONS…why do so many of us walk around each day filled with questions about life and faith and we don’t feel like we can ask them or share them with anyone.
1. Because this statement is NOT really TRUE.
If you were to ask your question or state a question you’ve been struggling with to the wrong group of people or person – there is a strong chance that judgment would immediately happen if THEY see it as a stupid question. It’s our natural default to sit in judgment of others and to compare ourselves. When someone asks a question that we feel the answer is SO OBVIOUS, we see it as a silly or stupid question and unconsciously cast a small measure of judgement to the asker. Because we are ALL GUILTY of judging others by their questions, we instinctively know this statement is not true and we keep our mouths shut.
2. Because we feel that NO ONE KNOWS the answer.
Most of the deep, deep, questions we carry around are ones we’ve pondered for a long time. The longer we carry a question, the more and more isolated we feel with that issue or concerns. We feel alone in our pondering. If the question were easily answered, we would have heard it by now. If it was a common question – someone else would have voiced it by now.
3. Because most Christians GO TO answers are to “Just Trust God!”.
Although this is a true statement and a legitimate response to many questions that God has simply NOT revealed the answer to us – I agree that men and women of faith often throw this response around as if it is the “catch all” answer to all of life’s issues. Many people with questions burning deep within them DO TRUST GOD, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still desire to seek answers. So shaming them in their faith doesn’t do them any good and only feeds the false doctrine that questions are bad – so don’t have any.
Here’s what I know to be true. God LOVES our questions. He LOVES our desire to seek truth. He LOVES our struggles with answers because HE KNOWS that sometimes ONLY IN ASKING THOSE QUESTIONS will we take the journey required to bring us closer to Him and grow in our faith!
Look at the life of Jesus. His disciples were constantly asking questions and Jesus was so patient and willing to walk them through answers (even when He knew they wouldn’t fully understand them). Jesus used questions with the Pharisees when they were wanting to simply cast judgment or set Him up with a question that had a hidden agenda. Jesus was the master questions asker, and He was also the one willing to engage every person’s question individually. From the rich young ruler, to Nicodemus, to Peter, and to John – Jesus always took the time to hear and respond to questions.
So maybe we should stop saying “There are no stupid questions” to each other.
Maybe we should rephrase it to say “There are no stupid questions to God” and without judgement or criticism, He wants to hear every single one of them.”