Years ago, a friend asked the question, “what is the opposite of faith?” My silent answer, and the one given out loud by someone else in the room, was “doubt.” Bill offered that a better answer might be “control.” And as i have reflected on it over the years, which i have done often, i’m convinced that this really is the more precise antithesis of faith.
That experience has caused me, when trying to understand the meaning of a term, to ask what its opposite is. What, for instance, is the opposite of hope? Of sincerity? Of ambition?
i’ve noticed in reading the Gospels the last couple of years that there are times when Jesus specifically defines some reason for His coming to the world. i count 6 but there might be more. This morning, the group of guys that meets at my house on Thursday mornings began our 6 week study of those statements by reading and discussing Luke 19:1-10, the story of Jesus’ encounter with Zaccheus which ends with Jesus saying that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
So i ask myself the question: what is the opposite of lost? The first answer that comes to mind, for me, is “found,” an answer sanctioned by the most famous “lost” story ever told, that of the prodigal son who was “lost but now is found.” (Luke 15:32) But i wonder if the better answer might be “home”? “Found” certainly gets a lost soul closer to where it wants to be, but might it be that home, in all its fullness, is really the destination we long for?
Just a thought …
[The other 5 statements in which Jesus tells why He came to the world are, as i detect them, to preach the good news of the kingdom (Luke 4:43), to be a king and to testify to the truth (John 18:37), to serve (Matthew 20:26-28), to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:31, 32), and to die for sin (John 12:27). Understanding Jesus’ reasons for coming to the world might help His followers, whom CS Lewis once described as “little Christs,” to fall in line with His purposes in the world even now.]