So I have a thousand and one things to write about, but I’ve felt impressed to share something that has really had an impact on the way I view others—specifically those in my family. I wish I were a better writer and could really explain what is in my heart, because this insight really has changed my life.
When I was at Education Week a few weeks ago, there was a speaker who was teaching about using the scriptures as a marriage manual. He asked us the question, “When you think of the apostle Thomas, what adjective would you put in front of his name?” You could hear a chorus throughout the room of “Doubting, doubtful, unbelieving…”
Thomas, of course, gained his reputation for being doubting when the Savior was resurrected. He was not with the initial disciples who saw Jesus, and when they told him of his resurrection, he replied, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” When Christ did later show himself to Thomas, he gently chastened him, saying, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed.”
I will admit that this is the one story of Thomas that I recalled from the Bible. The instructor went on to remind us of another story about Thomas. It is found in John, chapter 11. After receiving word of Lazarus, and knowing he was dead, the Savior asked his disciples to come with him back to Bethany. The disciples were worried for Jesus’ safety, and I imagine were also overwhelmed with the length of the trip. Then comes verse 16: “Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Why is Thomas remembered as Thomas the unbelieving and not Thomas the loyal? Two stories in the bible, and which do we remember? Which has been his legacy?
I imagine that Thomas must have been an amazingly spiritual man to be chosen as an apostle of Christ. Indeed, after the resurrection he dedicated his life to the preaching of the gospel, and fervently proclaimed his message that Christ was his Lord, and his God. Tradition is that he died a martyr. He was loyal to the core.
What word do you think truly embodies the real Thomas? Doubting? Loyal? Why in that whole room of people listening to this lecture did no one mention anything positive about Thomas?
I choose to believe that Thomas is like so many of us. His faith was not perfect. He was human, and he made mistakes. But I think the real Thomas, the true Thomas, was Thomas at his best!! And that because of Christ, he can someday be perfected and be his best self at all times.
Our instructor asked us how we view the people closest to us. Do we think of them at their best, or them at their mediocre or downright ugly times?!
Jeremy, at his best, is an AMAZING man. He is a spiritual giant, a leader in our home, a thoughtful husband and compassionate daddy. He is a wonderful son and son-in-law, a caring brother, a hard and dedicated worker. He is the truest friend and kindest neighbor. He is fiercely loyal to his testimony of the gospel and not afraid to share it. He is wise and loving and sweet and fun.
Graci, at her best, is an AMAZING girl. She is kind-hearted and thoughtful. She is grateful and respectful and obedient. She has the strength of an ox and the courage of a lion. She is the perfect daughter and sister. She can make my heart sing.
I could go on with every member of my family. Are they at their best all the time? NOT EVEN CLOSE! (And neither am I). But the insight that I gained from the story of Thomas, is to look at every one that is dear to me and see them for what they are when they are at their best. That is who they really are—and who they have the potential to be at all times.
I am just positive that the Lord has a deep love for His beloved Thomas. I am quite sure that He knows that Thomas WANTED to be believing and obedient and perfect—but that he was human and sometimes struggled. I believe that Thomas has been perfected through Christ—and that if we can make it through this crazy mortal life, we all have the potential to be our best selves ALL OF THE TIME.
So, look at each member of your family. Take your spouse and really consider who they are when they are at their best. Take your children in your arms and think about who they are when they are at their best. And hopefully, you will find yourselves realizing the greatness that is in your family. The greatness that through Christ, we can attain on a permanent basis.
That’s all. Thanks for listening! (: