How to Build Trust

TrustWith lives securely based on trust in God, we can move forward in imperfect relationships. We work toward holiness together, knowing we’ll make mistakes but also seeing progress made toward complete perfection. And that moving forward requires we build trust even within imperfect relationships.

Truths About Trust

In order to build trust, we must first understand some truths about trust that may be difficult to admit and accept. We’ve talked about these truths already in previous posts (listed at the bottom of this post), but let’s revisit them for a moment here.

  1. Only God is completely trustworthy. He never changes, and we can be completely confident in Him at all times.
  2. Expectations and past experiences shape trust. How much we trust others depends on their overall trustworthiness. How much we trust them also depends on our lifetime of experiences with trust as well as on our expectations about trust.
  3. You’re the only person whose trust you control. Determine to be trustworthy. Do what you say you’re going to do when you say you’re going to do it. Purpose to live peacefully with others as much as it is up to you to do so. Build trust by making sure your words and actions always match up.

Understanding how trust works allows us to build trust in relationships. Learning to trust is a process, and we must continually work to maintain that trust. And often, we must choose to build trust even in the absence of trustworthiness because people need the opportunity to be trusted in order to become trustworthy.

Working to Build Trust

Consider practicing the following as you work to build trustrust puzzlet in your relationships:

  1. Verbalize it. Talk about trust. For example, I tell my kids that how much I trust them is up to them. They determine the level of trust I have for them based on their overall choices. Discuss broken trust when it happens, learn from it and move toward reestablishing it. Never forget the tremendous role communication plays in building trust.
  2. Accept it. Since human relationships involve imperfection, we either have to accept broken trust or refuse to be a part of any relationships. Accepting it doesn’t mean accepting the behavior. It mean committing to dealing with it when it happens, hopefully without severing the relationship.
  3. Wait for it. Trust takes time to establish. It also takes a lot of ups and downs. Determine to build trust over the long haul, and refuse to give up even when trust is broken.

After being hurt yet again by broken trust, we naturally want to retreat and live a life not trusting others in an effort to avoid being hurt again. Yet, when we focus on the One who is completely trustworthy, we can enter relationships, be hurt by broken trust in them, and continue moving forward.

Derailed by Broken Trust?

Because we’re safe in the hands of the One who is trustworthy, we know He won’t let anything ultimately hurt us. He’s got us for eternity, and nothing can take that away. This motivates me to bravely enter relationships knowing I’ll be hurt. It leads me to ask others to trust me even though I’ll likely let them down at some point.

Since no one can take away that which is most important – salvation & a relationship with Christ – living within the boundaries of imperfect relationships doesn’t frighten me anymore. I can feel the pain of broken trust and choose to move forward, to build trust again, and to work toward peace and unity and because it pleases God.

DISCUSSION: How does your relationship with Christ encourage you to keep working toward trusting in relationships?

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13 thoughts on “How to Build Trust

  1. Very good follow up on trust. Trust requires ongoing effort…it is kind of like jello – it takes effort and persistence for it to keep its shape once received. You also have to use it before it loses its value to you. Trust, like love, must be a continually exercised belief. It is not a once and for all moment or event. Our trust will have ebbs and flows due to changes in circumstances as well. Trust and disappointment are cousins too. You cannot appreciate the one without the other in view. And yes, it is impossible to expect anyone in our circles to live up to the trust we can hold with the author of TRUST. We ourselves cannot expect others to TRUST us like we TRUST God either, because cousin disappointment will come knocking on our door.

    But we can endure and choose to love even when trust and disappointment arm wrestle for our attention in any relationship we invest ourselves.

    Coach

    • Thanks, Coach. Good summary of the discussion on trust too as well as on the relationship between trust and disappointment. Trust is a choice, much like love is a choice, and both take a lot of hard work. Plus, we can only control the work that we can do individually. Focusing on our part gives us enough to do, that's for sure.

  2. I think my relationship with Christ encourages me in my relationships because I KNOW I can always run to Him when I am disappointed with a relationship. He is the One who has sustained me when people let me down, and the One who encourages me to forgive and try again. There are so many wonderful examples like the ones you've shared from the Bible that show us how Jesus new opportunities to those who had failed Him. He is my hope and my encourager. "Not derailed by broken trust" that is the goal isn't it? Great series Kari!
    My recent post 14 Ways to Replace Fear with Courage and Strength – Part 2

    • He sustains, gives hope & encourages. Definitely gives us what we need to go through tough stuff, even broken trust in relationships. And yes, not getting derailed by broken trust, which WILL happen, is the key. We CAN do it if our focus is on Him.

  3. One thing we have to realize about trust is that people deal with broken trust differently. Some are able to put it aside and continue with a relationship while others have a difficult time doing so. You may be one who is able to quickly move on but you have to realize it is not the same for everyone and it may take more for them to do so. Continued discussion about expectations and when you have been hurt by someone is important.

    • Very true, Mark. I tried to make that point too in earlier posts as well. We all bring something different to the mix and will deal with life's challenges uniquely. Speaking for me personally, I do not trust easily because of past experiences and even some pretty recent ones. Yet, I am learning how to build trust, and I see progress for sure over the years. All I know for sure is that working toward building trust, which comes in large part by communicating as you noted, pleases God because He desires us to be unified. Thanks, Mark!

  4. I used to be very closed off. My mindset was that people WILL disappoint me and hurt me so I built walls to protect myself.
    Growing closer to Christ has helped me open up and be willing to be hurt or used. Seeing the world through His eyes motivates me to love more, give more, trust more, and not hold onto things that hinder His kingdom from shining through me.
    I still tend to be shy and a bit skeptical at times, but I'm learning to trust God to guide me and protect me.

    • Terrific testimony here, TC! Focusing on Christ changes our perspective about ourselves and about others. Being perfected is so much about learning to see others (and ourselves) through His eyes. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. When we fully trust Christ we are able to extend that trust onto others. In our relationships we have to first be a trustworthy person, to have and extend trust to those around us. Great post Kari!

  6. I like how you talk about finding your peace in Christ and allowing that to impact your relationships. I'm naturally thinking about marriage. Reading through Paul Tripp's "What Did You Expect?" and he talks a lot about trust. Because we trust in Christ, we can trust in others and have hope!
    My recent post How to Avoid the Fate of the Sluggard

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