Building & Establishing Trust

TrustWhen 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:

  1. Focus on pleasing God not people. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
  2. Determine to be trustworthy with the Gospel. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
  3. Rely on the Holy Spirit. (2 Timothy 1:14)
  4. Be dependable at work and at home. (Proverbs 31:10-11; Titus 2:10)
  5. 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.

Trust quotes

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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Other posts on trust:

Be determined. Pursue simplicity. Find balance. Be curious. Be deliberate. Be intentional. Age gracefully. Make the most of every opportunity.


Mark Allman
September 30, 2014 at 8:48 am

To trust is definitely a choice we make. People often live up to what we project to them that we think they are. If we let them know we trust them they do things to keep that trust. Booker T Washington said "few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him and to let him know that you trust him.'

Trust motivates and it communicates love. Trust also requires us to take action and do the things that it expects of us. So trust not only requires character but it requires proper actions as well.

Stephen M. R. Covey the son of Stephen Covey wrote a book called The Speed of Trust. It is an excellent book on trust. He calls trust "the one thing that changes everything".

    September 30, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Trust & love go hand in hand, and both are choices we often have to make even when feelings/emotions tell us something different. And you're right, people do rise to our expectations. I find that I must not set expectations too high though, or they won't even try. Need to gradually raise them. Great quote by Washington, and I've seem this happen in amazing ways with my youngest son. Thanks for the book recommendation too. I'll check into it!

September 30, 2014 at 9:45 am

Once trust is broken it is hard to recreate, but sometimes it has to be. A broken marriage. A wayward teen. I'm glad I have a God who has never broken His trust and loves me in spite of the fact I do.
My recent post Positive2

    September 30, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Difficult but not impossible. I've seen the work of God rebuilding trust in enough relationships to know it can be done. It's one of the most difficult choices to make, kind of like choosing to love someone even when we don't feel love toward them. Because God never breaks trust and because he loves us even though we do break trust, we can make the choice to also continue working to rebuild trust. He is in the business of the impossible!

October 1, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Great post Kari. Although I may trust again I think it's different. I think we become wiser and maybe a little more cautious. For example, if a friend betrays something told to them in confidence . . . I most likely will not confide in them in the future although we remain friends. I do agree with you, out of love we continue to do the work that rebuilds trust.
My recent post I Can’t – I’m Not Strong Enough

    October 1, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks, Deb. Certainly, we should become wiser in our relationships as we go through issues with broken trust. But ultimately they hopefully make us and the relationships stronger. Going through tough stuff & not giving up often has that result.

Loren Pinilis
October 9, 2014 at 5:18 pm

I think we also need to consider both the consequences of trust and also the changes in the person who breached our trust. For an extreme example, I don't really think it would be wise to trust a sexual predator to be a kids' worker at church. I think it's one thing to establish relationship with the person again and love them. It's another thing to generally "trust" them in the sense that you believe they're honest and have integrity. But it's a different matter to trust someone in the sense of delegating or putting them in potentially risky situations.
My recent post How to Avoid the Fate of the Sluggard

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