Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The DEEP

Psychological Residue

A common phenomenon.

John 20:24–25

Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”

So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

It’s not surprising that Thomas feels this way; it’s been all too much to process.

But Thomas doesn’t just feel that way; he blurts it out. His inability to hold his tongue speaks volumes.

The psychological residue of the long weekend with His Lord in the grave is too much for him. He can’t erase those feelings instantly.

That may seem strange, but it’s actually quite common. The classic example of this is when you struggle to shake off a nightmare. You wake up and realize that all those horrible things weren’t real. They didn’t happen.

You should feel better instantly, right? Fat chance. You might even be off your game for the whole day. This is what the colloquialism “getting out of the wrong side of bed” is all about. We’re not robots and our emotions don’t always do what we’d like them to.

This isn’t even all that sinful. Not everything irrational is sin. If you’re terrified of heights, or of spiders, that’s not evil; it’s just how you’re wired.

So, Thomas is simply being honest about his feelings. That’s better than bottling it up and not letting folks know your struggles.

It’s a cry for help.


Being secretive with our feelings is unhealthy, yet our society almost demands it. We ask, “How ya doin?” and don’t want to hear a real answer. Give someone a serious response that opens up and they may look at you like you’ve got a screw loose.

What’s amazing about this is that we could have just as easily have waved or said something like, “Good morning.” But to ask about how they’re doing sounds more friendly. Except that it isn’t because it’s a lie.

So, how can you really ask how someone is doing? You almost can’t. Our society has effectively blocked that kind of healthy interaction.

And, frankly, that might be a good thing. While being secretive with our feelings is unhealthy, being open with them often isn’t safe. Few folks can be trusted with personal information.

More on this tomorrow.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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