When we firmly establish our source of trust in Christ, as we discussed in How Do We Live Out Trust? and Where Should You Place Your Trust?, we can now move on to the activity of trust within imperfect relationships. This activity of building & establishing trust in relationships begins with first living a trustworthy life.
Living Trustworthy Lives
Only when we live trustworthy lives grounded in the One who is perfectly trustworthy can we then begin to build trust in our relationships. That happens when we consistently practice the following:
- Focus on pleasing God not people. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
- Determine to be trustworthy with the Gospel. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
- Rely on the Holy Spirit. (2 Timothy 1:14)
- Be dependable at work and at home. (Proverbs 31:10-11; Titus 2:10)
- Learn from those proven trustworthy, though not perfect. (Moses, Nehemiah, Daniel & Timothy)
Since our trust lies rooted in God, we must purpose to show that we truly trust Him as we move forward in establishing trustworthy character. When trust is secure within us, rooted and grounded in that which cannot be taken from us, we can then move on to building trust with others.
Trusting in Those Who Fail
Before moving on to how to build trust, we must address the struggle of trusting those who fail. We build trust in new relationships, and that takes a lot of work too, but it’s the building of trust with those who failed us — who broke trust — that usually provides the more difficult challenge.
I want to trust others after they’ve hurt me, but I struggle getting their breach of trust out of my thoughts sometimes. The easiest way I’ve found to not think about it, or at least to think about it less, is to avoid the person. Yet, not only is that not always possible, it doesn’t line up with Scripture.
So, I must do the tough work of choosing to trust those who fail me simply because I know it pleases God. That’s where my relationship with Him — where my trust being established in Him — becomes crucial. Because there’s no way I can trust those who have failed me if they are the source of my ability to trust.
Examples of Reestablishing Trust
For me, hearing about stories of trust helps me better understand how to reestablish it in my own life. And what better examples than those found in Scripture.
- God trusted Jonah despite previous disappointment (Jonah 3:1-2). Jonah ultimately comes through, but he never really gets the point God is making. (See God is a God of Second Chances for more on this.)
- Jesus reinstated Peter after his predicted denial (John 21:15). Not only did He reinstate him, but Jesus trusted Him with tremendous responsibility in the spread of the Gospel.
- Barnabas gave John Mark a second chance. Paul disagreed with doing so, but Barnabas extended opportunity for trust again (Acts 15:37-39).
Ultimately, we choose to trust others because we know that trust exists at the heart of relationships. God trusts humans with tasks purposed for His will because He desires relational partnering. Because He trusts in this way, knowing He’ll be let down, we too can continue working to build trust even with those who have and likely will again let us down.
DISCUSSION: How does God’s example of trusting others inspire you to do the same even in light of broken trust?
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