What or whom do you trust? Friends? Family? Spouse? Parents? Teachers? Doctors? Pastors? Authors? Children? Finances? Abilities? Talents? News? Television?
To some degree, every object of trust breaks trust at some point. We all know the sting of broken trust. If we’re honest, we all must admit to being the source of that sting at times too.
The level of trust you extend another depends greatly on your view of their overall trustworthiness, dependability and reliability. How much you trust also depends upon your overall ability to trust in general. In other words, trust exists specific to the trustworthiness of the person or thing being trusted, but it also exists based on your overall life experience with trust as well as on your individual expectations for trust.
For example, I trust my husband more than any other person because our shared experiences over the past 26 years prove his overall trustworthiness. Doesn’t mean he’s never let me down, but it does mean his life speaks to a solid character deserving of trust.
On the other hand, broken trust surprised me enough times over the years to the point of lowering my expectation for trustworthiness in general. People I thought I knew were not who I thought they were. Apparent character turned out not to be true character. And spoken values ended up as dust in the whirlwind of busyness and overload.
So, while my overall trust of my husband still stands strong and gives hope that trustworthiness still exists, my overall trust of people in general exists weaker today than it did five years ago.
Choosing Obedience Over Feelings
Unfortunately, today even with a trustworthy spouse, I stand questioning the trustworthiness of people in general. Befuddled by what seems to be an epidemic gap between the private self and the public self in way too many individuals, I expect the appearance of character to no longer match reality and am pleasantly surprised when it does.
My reaction to these feelings involves wanting to live an introverted life, a natural bent for me anyway. But even more than what seems natural, I find myself drawn away from connecting and gravitating toward keeping people at a safe distance emotionally.
Yet, a pull deep within me keeps me from withdrawing. It keeps the desire for connection alive even at the risk of hurt caused by broken trust. That inclination involves the Holy Spirit’s work within me creating a desire to please God, to do His will regardless of my feelings.
Scripture says to love others. It says to to connect and encourage and admonish and give advice and get advice. So, withdrawing goes against God’s desires. As I write this, I admit to being at odds with Scripture’s directive to connect with others. My desire to lessen the continual sting of broken trust rides high in my awareness, and I often struggle resisting it.
The sting of broken trust leads me to pull against what Scripture says about loving others. And since what I’m feeling does not match with what I know of God’s Word, I must discover the disconnect and better align my thoughts and feelings with God’s heart. With that realization, let’s consider what God says about trust.
First, Scripture clearly tells us where NOT to place our trust:
- Weapons (Psalm 44:6) – Weapons (tools) exist as an outlet for expressing trust, not as a source of trust.
- Wealth (Psalm 49:6, 7) – Wealth provides as a means for sharing blessing not as an object of trust.
- Leaders (Psalm 146:3) – People make mistakes and fail; no one remains 100% trustworthy.
- Man (Jeremiah 17:5) – Allowing people to be your source of trust brings curse, not blessing.
- Works (Jeremiah 48:7) – Trusting in skills and abilities leads to captivity; works are never enough.
- One’s own righteousness (Ezekiel 33:13) – We simply don’t possess the ability to obtain righteousness, to do enough to be completely trustworthy.
Scripture helped me understand the hurt caused by broken trust came because I expected trust from people and things unable to deliver complete trustworthiness. I expected too much.
Second, Scripture clearly tells us where TO place our trust:
- God’s name (Psalm 33:21) – His name reflects His attributes, His character. God always holds true to His character.
- God’s word (Psalm 119:42) – Scripture provides the answers needed for every struggle of life.
- Christ (Matthew 12:17-21) – The hope of all the world rests securely on the perfectly trustworthy shoulders of Jesus.
We are to trust in His Word, in who He says He is and with hope in the death-conquering power of Christ. My trust should belong nowhere else. And as is the abundant nature of God, He also gives BENEFITS OF TRUSTING IN HIM:
When reading this list of benefits of trusting in God alone, I wonder why I trust or have confidence in anyone or anything else. Which returns us back to the idea of obedience. Unless we truly want to live inside ourselves and void our lives of human contact – and ultimately go against what Scripture expects of us – we must trust other people even though we know they’ll let us down. On Tuesday, we’ll get further into this topic as we look at “Living Out Trust.”
DISCUSSION: In what state does your trust level exist these days? Why?