How can conflict be an opportunity for growth?  How would you deal with doubt and use it as an opportunity to grow?  In the series, CAPITALIZING ON EVERY OPPORTUNITY, we explore how "Capitalizing on Every Opportunity allows us to grow in life with God and our relationships with others."  In Part 1, Fr. Michael Sorial explores the story of the Apostle Thomas and how we can deal with doubt, while using it as an opportunity for growth.


today we're going to be talking about how thou is an opportunity for growth next we come to be speaking with you all also about how do we get resource to use resources as an opportunity how that might conflict with some of us and how we deal with resourcing if you will that's going to be more the intellectual side of things all right and I think it's important that we go there next week because a lot of times we say well it's not just about intellectual understanding or it's not just by reading but there is that aspect that's there the week after father Daniel Hannah from from Toronto will be speaking with us about the opportunity for growth within the conflict of experiencing the mysteries and in the last week we're going to be talking about the opportunity to witness through our own past conflict through our own past bumps and bruises that we've had along the way and how we use that as an opportunity to testify to what it is that Jesus Christ is doing in our lives I think these next several weeks are going to be an opportunity for us to dig deeper and to face some conflicts or crises as an opportunity for us to grow driven II football fans here now time we got 12 a half alright have a fusion alright so back in 2015 y'all know who this guy's anyone Russell Wilson good Russell Wilson is a super bowl-winning champion playing for a place for the Seattle Seahawks and back in 2015 he had probably one of the most tragic plays in Super Bowl history he was on the one yard line driving down a minute to go in the game all I got to do is pound the ball in and they're going to be back to back super bowl champs he throws an interception on the one yard line and it must have been tragic for him I mean it was then the other guy made a the plane is life to make the interception but it was a difficult difficult situation for him he says later in an interview when when speaking about this subject he says they picked the ball off and then he talks about how he's wrestling with this for weeks and months and then he says and he's talking about he's in prayer this one day and he says thank God says to me I'm using and he says okay and then he says what happens next is God says to me I want to see how you respond but most importantly I wanted to see how you respond I wanted to see how you respond in the midst of adversary's I wanted to see how you respond in the midst of particles so he saying I want to see how you're going to respond but importantly how we respond as the body of Christ to conflict impacts what other people think and see and view about God himself and about the body and so when God says to him I wanted to see how you respond for Russell Wilson that was kind of like his wake-up call how is he going to bounce back from this great conflict that he had now some of you might say it's just a stupid football like what's the big deal okay this is his career it's his vocation it's his passion it's what he loves but his faith allowed him to deal with his greatest conflict and became I think one of the greatest opportunities in his life to really testify to God's presence in his life and putting things in proper perspective that yes it was a game but it was also the game perhaps in James chapter 1 verses 24 James says my brother count it all joy when you fall count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces agency saying when you followed conflicts count it as joy now anyone here to wake up in the morning say God send me some conflict today let my kids have a bad attitude today Lord God I want you to send me some crazy person on the road cutting me off and slamming on the brakes sometime today lord please women get to work let my boss tear me apart in front of the entire team today when I get home let me have the biggest fight with my spouse today like no one wakes up and says God's any conflicts but what st. James is saying is count it all joy when you do fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith as you mentioned in the discussion produces patience but let patience have its perfect work that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing when we are faced with conflict it's an opportunity for us to grow st. Paul in Colossians 45 NIV addition he says make the most of every opportunity which includes by the way crises conflict challenges problems difficulties make the most of those opportunities knowing that's where growth comes from that's how we grow that's how we become stronger people of faith that's how we become better spouses that's how we become better parents or children that's how we become better daughters and sons of the Most High is how we deal with conflict when it comes my first year in the industry like when I was in I worked in the biotech industry one of the VPS came and told me that one day I would become CEO of the company he said just I want you to begin to practice and to learn in to study because he says I see something in you and I said okay so I went and I began to research and these were some of the tips that I found we're going to see how some of these things translate in our own journey of faith number one surround yourself with those who compensate for your shortcomings sound like anything we were talking about in our discussion group sometimes we need to call out to others when we have conflict and seek counsel or advice number two is learn from your scars learn from your scars when difficulties come and we go tumbling down and we get back up learn from those experiences I once told my dad how tragically hurt I was because of like certain mistakes of my life he said never probably best if I say forgiving says never never feel bad for something that you've done in the past you can't change he says learn from it and use it to help other people he says you can't change the past number three tip check your thoughts check your thoughts okay sometimes like in the workplace we start wondering like as this is all within the context remember of CEO right check your thoughts am I being overly ambitious am I operating from fear and the same holds true in our faith and in our relationships with others and fourth and final about this was the best tip was practice humility listen and learn from others if I was offering a business course to you today those are me some advices or tips that I might offer you is learn to be a CEO but for us the CEO is one who learns to capitalize on every opportunity I'm going to be encouraging out over the next several weeks to learn to meet ceos learn to capitalize on every opportunity in life that's what st. paul is calling us in Colossians 45 learn to talk to learn to capitalize on the good the bad and the when it comes you'll need to practice I think all four of those tips in order to do so but becoming a CEO a person who learns to capitalize and every opportunity will allow you to grow in life with God and in your relationship with others if we want to grow in our relationship with God we've got to see the difficulties as they come and face those and grow from them and that will allow us to grow deeper and deeper in intimacy with Christ and more clearly into his image the same could be said in our marriages same could be said in our work relationships the same could be said as parents let me just offer to you there are no perfect parents just as there are no perfect kids every single day I learn what not to do as a parent I learned a lot of things of what not to do now if I grew up with this mentality that I never say sorry that I'm never wrong that I walked on water like some of us witnessed growing up with elders around us like I know people who have told me their parents they still never heard their parents say the words I'm sorry sorry I was wrong okay if we grew up with that awkward with that mindset what we're saying is that were never like there it's not an opportunity to grow from here to here I was never wrong here so what am I going to grow into if I was perfectly right I think it's that mindset by the way trickles into other parts of our lives how we deal with our spouses how we deal with friends and ultimately how we approach God in prayer in Western motivational speaking you'll often times here that the Mandarin word for conflict is the same for opportunity okay unfortunately I thought it was the coolest thing I'm the time this to everyone for like the last several weeks unfortunately i found out that that's not the case alright so we might pretend just for the sake of today no we're not gonna pretend like it's opportunity does not equal club crisis in Mandarin okay but what I'm going to offer you is that opportunity and how we and how to do with crisis or conflict and opportunity are in fact intertwined if we were to look at conflict and we were to say there is a difficult situation here and we want to grow and find an opportunity okay the thing between this whole opportunity cost how we get from here to here is the cost right if I want to do if if over here i'm going to give you guys some examples in a second okay if i see the opportunity of getting a new car for instance there's some cost there's a there might be an inner crisis that i'm having my parents gave me this I don't know if I have the money I don't know if I can afford this right now I don't know if this is wise okay and that might impact ones this is let's say one decides they're still going to be forwarding at the call there is a cost in between to help me get from this inner conflict or outer conflict to the opportunity and we're going to look at that cost because the cost is critical nothing worth anything comes without a cost the opportunity cost is a benefit or profit of something that must be given up this is according to must be given up to acquire or achieve something else it's something I have to give this up the opportunity cost if I want to get this over here Albert Einstein said it once nicely said in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity any real great opportunity will require some sort of conflict stretcher or challenge if we look at the opportunity of resurrection we look the conflict was the cross the cost in between is death you say I want to experience resurrection the power resurrection st. Paul says you have to share the Fellowship of sufferings and be crucified with Christ you say opportunity opportunity forgiveness remember the four friends brought their friend before Jesus he was healed the opportunity forgiveness with heel the conflict that was being faced spiritual paralysis person could move like think about in our own lives wanna grow want to be healed from the spiritual paralysis we feel like we want to go God we just can't move the cost that was required was the four friends doing something that was outrageous tearing off the roof and loading their friends and their friend into the middle the cost was a little bit of humiliation perhaps in some embarrassment st. Paul and st. mark have a confluence this is a clear conflict that's in the Bible in Athens ok so there's conflict over here the opportunities that st. mark grows and goes to Egypt but the cost right there in the middle was that they had to have the humility to reconcile and make things better which you find actually at the end of 2nd Timothy that st. Paul send sympathy it says send me mark ok they had the humility to reconcile their differences st. Peter conflict he denies Christ the opportunity was renewal but the cost was he had to self-reflect and repent and turn himself back to Jesus conflict Judas betrayus Christ the opportunity was never realized she's never actual ice the opportunity was returned maybe we're something greater folks we don't know we don't know what what it happened could have happened but what I'm telling you is the cost of taking the walk of shame was too much that Judah said I can't do that I can't stand a bit of humiliation or embarrassment I can't stand that chain in his opinion the opportunity was outweighed by the cost after the conflict got the best defender if you guys know anything about how lobsters grow read this story recently I thought it was just a coolest coolest thing okay you don't know how to lobster scrub excellent okay so this is what happens in lobsters lobsters they are soft animals that live inside of this hard rigid shell when they get uncomfortable they use they climb underneath a rock and they shed their outer shell and they grow a new one why do they hide because if they don't hide something will come and get it up right so they go may hide and they grow an outer shell and then come back out and then what happens is they grow again right I may repeat this again I'm not a second third they just keep doing this eventually the shell becomes uncomfortable and they have to go back on or they shut it they grow it back one more time and they do this if you will several times the stimulus for the lobster to grow is discomfort the stimulus for us to grow is discomfort sometimes what we do and one person i was reading for all this they said if lobsters had doctors they would never grow why because they go to docs and comfortably stay here take this feel better they feel better and they would not shed the outer shell they wouldn't grow i'm not suggesting anything about medicine i'm just saying like sometimes medicines needed and absolutely but what i want to tell you something that conflict that we have in ourselves is also needed for us to grow there is a value of conflicts and that value of conflict is our opportunity to grow conflict is inevitable in life it will happen it must happen and it is equally an opportunity for growth in our lives if we were to look at stages of faith I'll give you four stages and faith the first one we're going to talk about today the first one I believe is doubt the first stage of growth our faith is now me looking at eight I'm not so sure about the second stage after that is searching I have a question it's left up answered I need to search to find out and answer to that question the third step of faith is experiencing what it is that I have learned and read about and discussed with other people for myself and the fourth and final stage of faith is sharing with another person witnessing or testifying that which I myself have experienced and by the way these are the four stages that we're going to be going through as opportunities for growth over the next four games okay these are stages in our faith as we grow and we face conflict in each step of the way now what is down down as a feeling of uncertainty it does not mean unbelief first you might say I have some doubts doesn't mean that they don't believe just means they have some uncertainties they have some inner conflict there they're not settled with something they might have questions about themselves why not then why someone else they'll have questions about others can I trust that person I doubt my ability to trust that person they might doubt is God here with me i forgiven okay doesn't mean that they don't believe it just means that they're uncertain on certain things in life causes of doubt I think the biggest one is unanswered question number two my own refusal to search for answers let's be real folks every one of us if you're alive hey of heads and downs in life you have some unanswered questions if we stop at that and we don't move to search then it's on me another reason why there might be doubt it is being hurt by someone perhaps something that we really deeply respect another coster not my beam unmet expectations either expectations that we thought we deserved from God from others from the church whether they are realistic or unrealistic once you think about the conflict the cause of doubt for st. Thomas st. Thomas he had a conflict right he was not present when the rest of the disciples saw Jesus this was the conflict the cause of doubt was he had some unanswered questions they saw he didn't see how did they see and I didn't see he wasn't sure he could trust them I mean let's just call a spade a spade right he didn't know if you could trust what they were saying was true because it seemed so outlandish to him put yourself at issues it seemed outrageous what he was saying the cost of him not being there was that he spent the next week wandering and questioning or struggle and uncertainty and he was also waiting in the right place he stayed with the scripture says that next week he was there right he didn't just say I don't believe the arm out of this place he struggled here at uncertainty he wrestled and he kept being there in the right place in order to find the right answer in the opportunity the opportunity is that he had a unique experience of Christ that no one else had the same your else in the scripture jesus said hey now that mr. Dunne Peter come over here stick a finger Oh Jonathan come up with a try it out he had a unique experience of Christ that no other person had can we agree on that when we wrestle with our doubts and our conflict and we work through I want to offer you you're going to have a unique experience that no one else in this world is going to have of our Lord Jesus Christ and your unique experience is beautiful that story we're going to come to that a few weeks that story is a story that I believe the world also needs to share it and see and taste and feel there are different kinds of doubt there's healthy down there's unhealthy doubt let me just give you real quick a few indicators of unhealthy down this is a this bridge right here it's called I'm going to butcher it it's called the jail woo jiho zoo Bay Bridge it's in China all right i butchered it but good enough okay it's a long bridge in China it is 26.4 miles it's a little bit long it's the longest bridge in the world and some people let me just tell you they have fear of driving over why they're not afraid of the bridge they're afraid what might happen the bridge was going to class they doubt right they doubt that the bridge is given that their car is going to drive over it what's going to happen their car is going to be the one that calls its clubs now I'm not making fun of these people that have these fears okay the real fears some of them are clinical like fair enough okay but as a result of that fear that doubt it paralyzes them and it doesn't allow them like everyone else has cut their travels having half instead of taking like an hour second people 25 30 minutes to cut through using this bridge club wonderful I feel like sighs beep up other people say I'm not so sure what if what if I get on there and claps and I'm in the middle of 26.4 months like no thank you okay three indicators of unhealthy down number one disobedience disobedience it's not a sin to capital it is a sin to act out on that out okay sin is allowing the questions to kill prayer life we're going to church because I have doubts because I have someone start to you that I haven't wrestled through number two indicators of unhealthy doubt is pride not making room for faith unless there's someone said absolute scientific comfy evidence for everything and to be fairly often times don't use the same level of judgment on the altar on the other side we say for faith this is what we need we need absolute scientific concrete evidence for this but on the other side someone I present a case the material is eternal show me there's we need to express the same measure of judgment for both sides of the argument and if we do we might say well we have to be comforted a little bit of an ambiguity enough okay because both sides of the argument require a bit of Fame folks okay number three indicator of unhealthy doubt is cynicism cynicism there have been times when I personally allowed intellectual objections to certain practices to turn key into an argumentative person okay either I saw someone in church doing something that was hypocritical and I use that as an opportunity this is back when I was in high school college as an opportunity to live cynically and reject everything else this person's emigrant forget about faith hey or this what they're presenting doesn't make sense everything else give it citizens nuts and unhealthy in indicator of unhealthy now let me give you three indicators of healthy doubt and then we'll wrap up with how to deal with it number one by the way healthy doubt i think it was who discovered the life of who invents of life edison good did Edison have some doubts on this way he he questioned and he struggled and he things blew up in his face and he probably had to know right any scientist along the way anyone who's been searching for some some way to do something better probably had some questions is going to work okay but three indicators of healthy down number one is obedience obedience mother Teresa who I have a deep respect for one thing I love about her is that despite experiencing some of the darkest days and she writes about the dark days of of doubt in her soul she continued to serve those around her she continued to remain obedient to the Word seeking christ out in spite of some of the dark moments in her life obedience in the faith of doubt i believe is perhaps perhaps the strongest kind of faith of there is number two is humility humility best kind of doubt springs from humility humility is an acknowledgement i'll give you of three things that we have in God God figured out we don't have all the answers we don't on either side of the spectrum folks you take either row you take the impious road you take the faith road you're going to need left at some place with some questions left unanswered that's the reality of being a limited be that's the reality when we look at God who is infinite and we understand that we are finite that we realize we cannot put the entirety of God into our little months we can see reach front Avraham but we cannot fully comprehend him we cannot get our heads around him if you will humility is also a willingness to admit that we can be wrong we can be wrong on my Christian journey I have been wrong several toughest things that I thought that I thought that I knew and I was and but those are opportunities for growth and a third level of humility or a description of humility comes from a commitment to think critically about our beliefs so it must have been raised with certain ideas about our faith that I believe me to be challenged so that we can grow deeper okay and if you're not sure what those questions might be let's talk about some of those offline doubting with humility recognizes that our theology is not the mood or rather the finger-pointing Anthony we say that again doubting with humility says I know what I believe about God but it also accepts the place that our theology what we say about God is not God himself it's not the moon it's simply our finger-pointing thing there's the moon but there's certain things on the moon we haven't seen him I don't know okay and maybe a better example is the Sun because it's one day we will probably figure out the moon and everything about it so maybe the Sun is a better example third indicator of healthy doubt is not just obedience and humility but it's love should be our motivation behind everything particularly ouch the person who loves God and loves labor and loves enemy in spite of their doubts I believe is the person who seen and allows the grace of God the season that person's heart and mind so that he can reveal more to that person to answer some of the difficult struggles that we have in our hearts and in our minds healthy doubt is evidence of faith being worked out okay let me wrap up here with five quick points on how we deal with that 5-foot point telling you is done we said already that doubt is not an issue it's a question of what we do with after we have the doubt how do we face it how do we do deal with it okay now I want you to think about two things we talked about st. Thomas having doubt number one remember he's an apostle right the arson yeah but like I'm saying the st. tough an apostle of Jesus Christ someone who walked with Jesus who saw the miracles did all these things and walked with these people that walk to Jesus one of the Apostles of Jesus Christ had his own personal Dennis hey so like breasts here in good company folks and number two if you if you notice something about st. Thomas in this picture he looks very young and what I might suggest to you is he's depicted as being young because perhaps this is a reflection of us when we are young in faith I said earlier during the morning service that sometimes when we deal with doubt and we may be in that child phase we might be 40 56 years old I have a good family friend met member of mine who was in his 60s before you and he was still operating as a spiritual child and let me offer to he grew very quickly in his own faith after he dealt with some of the inner conflicts in his life alright so let's talk about real quick the five five ways of dealing with now number one is beware of your closer John chapter 20 verse 24 now tom is called the twin one of the twelve was not with them when Jesus came st. Thomas was all alone he didn't have a circle around him to help him sometimes we are isolated we don't have a circle or we might have their own circle around us quite frankly given us wrong answers or roll messages alright so that's number one there's a saying where the average of the five people we spend the most time with let them alone for a second we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with all right think about that for a minute so think about your closed circle and how that impacts your own ability to deal with down number two is seek to experience Christ John 20 mirth the next verse 25 the other disciple therefore said to him we have seen the Lord so listen with Thomas's responses I I think it's beautiful he says unless I see in his hands the the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails and put my hand in his side I will not leave he's saying I want to personally experienced Christ for myself like who can who can blame them I'm telling you obstet hours I want to personally experienced Jesus Jesus Christ myself but I want to deal with doubt I don't want to just sit and listen to a guy speak up at the front of the room I need to personally experience the things that he's telling and that's what st. Thomas to say he's saying i'm listening to what you people are telling me but i want to experience that myself and that's beautiful and jesus saying well and good st. James tells us if any one lacks wisdom let him ask God who gives to all liberally without reproach let him ask in faith with no doubting for Hugh doubts is like wave of the sea driven and talks by the way number 23 is borrow faith by hanging around those whose faith is strong okay so it's important that you experience yourself and understand that our closed circle may impact is negatively but let's also realize that if we hang around those whose faith is strong it can help us temporarily it's not a replacement for a personal experience but it is a supplement it is a helpful part of the process after eight days verse 26 we're told his disciples were again inside Thomas set with them Jesus came with the doors being shot and stood in the midst of and said peace to you peace to you st. Thomas didn't say I'm out here he didn't isolate himself he remained with those who experience Christ and I'm sure that entire week he was saying what happened wow I mean when's he coming back I want experience and it was in the midst of the disciples who had already experienced Christ that st. Thomas remains with them even though he had not yet experienced the risen Christ and Jesus himself shows up and gives him his peace number four submit your hearts to God's revelation of Jesus Christ and to his body verse 27 says he said Thomas reach your finger here look at my hands reach your hands here put into my side do not be unbelieving but believing Thomas answered and said to him my Lord and my god reach out and touch Christ in his living body experience him personally and submit yourself to Christ himself he offers us his teaching in the scripture and has experience in his body which is the church submit our we need to submit ourselves to that if we want to experience him work like more person and we want to deal with some of the town's fifth and final someone said it nicely once they said doubt your doubts not your faith doubt your doubts John 20 verse 29 I'll explain on that just a second mate says Thomas because you have seen me you have believed Buster those who have not seen and yet have believed if you're in the valley of damage don't stop where your apps have a bill to condelor keep moving doubt your dash word on the foundation that has been laying for you I Zeta 7 verse 9 says it beautifully the Septuagint says unless you believe you will not understand unless you believe you will not understand it I think it's critical when we have doubts that we face them we don't run from them that we work through them we wrestle with them we see Christ in them we seek the guidance and the help and the love of others through them because i think and i can just only tell you from my own personal experience doubt in my life has been the place where i have probably grown the most when I tell them they're there are things that are kind of taken from ready those are not that opportunities for for me okay places that I've doubted in the past I said I wrestle with those are opportunities that I'm actively working out in my own salvation growing to know God or personally and as that relates to me in my life and how I live out my faith let me wrap up here let me wrap up here with an image and it's hard to see a little bit won't you look at this image I want you to tell me what you see about this image of st. Thomas this is the hand of our Lord this is the side of world over this is the body and the head of or Jesus Christ what do you notice about this image anyway other people are looking too good d one else is guiding his hand good he's good excellent anything else you know so the skin is soft perhaps representing the tenderness of our board in dealing with us when we have downs and let me just showed you a reflection on this because growing up when I had questions it was dealt with very harshly how could you how dare you and perhaps the Lord is saying with such a tender way it's okay come with all your doubts good excellent observation let's take one more two more anyone else there's a sense of humility in the monster of the position of st. Thomas yeah I guess is you're talking about Thomas are yet there's a sense of humility by which he's approaching our board he has his head down is coming in an act of submission I want to ask you this week that you spend a few minutes each day your home I'm giving you homework okay want to giggle whole trip this week five minutes a day just five minutes a day I want you to seek to experience the risen Christ in prayer I want you to come to him with all your doubts on your difficulty glory prices all your conflicts and I want you to be before them and just seek to explain to them and say Lord I know all these other people that have said that they know you but I personally want to experience you I want to know I want you to hear stories about you I want to just listen to people tell me about you I want to just go and watch all the people or should be you I want to experience you and I want to experience you more deeply and I want to experience more personally more intimately and I want to do that experience right now and just spend five minutes a day doing that I just experienced the risen Christ this season of the church is beautiful is what constantly saying Christ is risen and I'm not telling to experience someone who's out at the edge of the galaxy tongue experience the risen Christ who he himself is with you and Amy you wherever you go okay