Truths About Trust
In order to build trust, we must first understand some truths about trust that may be difficult to admit and accept.
- Only God is completely trustworthy. He never changes, and we can be completely confident in him at all times.
- 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.
- 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. 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 trust in your relationships:
- Verbalize it. Talk about trust. For example, I told my kids when they were growing up 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.
- 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 means committing to dealing with it when it happens, hopefully without severing the relationship.
- 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 and 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.