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.
We live trustworthy lives by:
- Focusing on pleasing God not people. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
- Determining to be trustworthy with the Gospel. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
- Relying on the Holy Spirit. (2 Timothy 1:14)
- Being dependable at work and at home. (Proverbs 31:10-11; Titus 2:10)
- Learning from those proven trustworthy, though not perfect. (Moses, Nehemiah, Daniel & Timothy)
Only when we live trustworthy lives grounded in the One who is perfectly trustworthy can we then begin to build trust in our imperfect relationships. 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 this struggle. We must come to terms with the fact that building trust often means trust was broken. Sure, 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 provides a more difficult challenge.
At least, for me it does. I want to trust others, but it’s very difficult for me to get their breach of trust out of my thoughts sometimes. There’s this constant warning light going off, and my flesh wants to do whatever I can to stop that light from blinking. The easiest way I’ve found to stop the blinking is by avoiding 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.
With that, here are just a few examples to consider as you look toward building trust in relationships where you’ve been hurt.
- 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.)
- Christ reinstated Peter after his predicted denial. (John 21:15) Not only did He reinstate Peter, but He trusted Him with tremendous responsibility in the spread of the Gospel.
- Barnabas gave John Mark a second chance even though Paul disagreed with doing so. (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, giving us the example to follow. 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.
Since our trust flows from the One who is perfectly trustworthy, we can live and operate within this cycle of broken trust knowing He desires our pursuit of relationship even at the cost of personal comfort.
With that, we’ll next move on to our final discussion about trust by discussing “How to Build Trust.” That will be our focus Thursday.
DISCUSSION: How does God’s example of trusting others inspire you to do the same even in light of broken trust?