The Thomas Complex

One of the most intriguing figures in the Bible is a disciple of Jesus named Thomas. He would be classified nowadays as a late adopter. He comes to believe in the reliability of certain events and words after the majority have come on board. For example, when Jesus has appeared to the rest of His disciples after being resurrected Thomas is not there. When told of the miraculous new life of Christ, he responds that unless he sees the nail marks in Jesus hands and puts his finger within them, he won’t believe. As a result of his hesitancy to be convinced he was given the nickname “Doubting Thomas” to be labeled with for the rest of time.

It’s not like he’s the only disciple to not accept something at face value. In Matthew 28 Jesus appears to his disciples on top of a mountain. It says the disciples worshipped Him, but some doubted. Thomas had some company in those moments of uncertainty.

“The Thomas Complex” affects most of us in one way or another. I’m an early adopter when it comes to certain things like buying new seafood products, trying a new restaurant, or being convinced about the depth of a new idea. But I’m also late to the rally for such things as hairstyle, seeing the rationale for a political viewpoint, and whether riding a new roller coaster is a wise decision. We’re all a mixture of Doubting Thomases and Entrepreneurial Esthers.

And now we see it with the COVID-19 vaccinations, early adopters, late adopters, and a bunch of others in the middle leaning one way or the other. Calling one group a herd of pigs that is sprinting toward the edge of a cliff because they were told to isn’t productive; and calling the other group stupid and idiotic, even Eric Clapton, is just as foolish. People on both sides of the issue have strong beliefs and, whether the opposition wants to admit it or not, some sound reasoning.

“The Thomas Complex” doesn’t refer to those folk who refuse to believe because “no one’s going to tell me what to do!” That’s simply a combination of stubbornness and personal arrogance. On the other hand, no one should rush to do something just because someone told you to do it. That’s like being taken in by the smiling, seductive woman, sitting behind the steering wheel of a new luxury vehicle, as if the enormous debt she has just signed off doesn’t matter.

Wisdom is in shorter supply these days than toilet paper was about 18 months ago. No matter what your opinion is about being vaccinated, wisdom does not cower to pressure. It ponders, considers, and is more proactive than reactive.

I received the Pfizer shots back in February and March, not as a result of someone telling me to, but rather because I believed I should. I was teaching school, around a lot of people and students every day, and felt it was a reasonable decision due to my situation. Others in my school chose not to, and still some others came late to the decision. What I appreciated in that scenario was the fact that no one was pressuring people to make the decision that they had already decided should be made.

There will be those who read this and immediately go to the “Yes, but…” button. We live in America. The day when everyone agrees on an issue may not be in the near future. After all, we’re a nation that began because we disagreed with what others were telling us to do.

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