If you’re like me just saying the word reminds you of all the times people broke your trust and you start to raise your shields to defend yourself from whatever comes after that word!
I want to talk about trust today, but I want to do it with our defense mechanisms turned off so we can have a heavy, deep, and real conversation about it, and specifically how God calls us to trust.
To start, trust is a relational word and can only happen between two living entities. But trusting that a dog won’t bite you when you go to pet it is very different from the complex human relations in which trust plays itself out. So let’s just talk about the complexity of trust between people.
In our humanness trust is earned as is respect, loyalty, love, and most other emotions. Once a person demonstrates actions that clearly indicate they are not a threat trust is given. See trust is a conditional emotion in our worldly state, which means when conditions change trust can be lost.
I don’t know about you but my deepest wounds are when somebody broke their trust with me…and vice versa – the deepest wounds I’ve caused others is when I broke their trust. And once trust is broken how easy is it to trust that person (or even others in similar circumstances) again? Really, really, really hard.
Most of us have a defense against broken trust. Once trust is broken we compartmentalize our pain and vow never to let anyone get into a position with us where they can break that trust again. Unfortunately that is not what God calls us to do and is the reason many of us tend to be bitter, angry, emotionally unavailable, cold, and/or stand offish.
And here’s the most troubling part – if we have trust issues with people we more than likely project those trust issues onto our relationship with God and then don’t trust Him either. And if you can’t trust God you can’t serve Him and receive His blessings in your life and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You all know this: God calls us to forgive as He has forgiven us, which means completely with no memory of the transgression. He calls us to forgive a person no matter how many times they transgress against us as well. And God goes as far as telling us when we’ve been wronged we are to “turn the other cheek” meaning we are to not take offense in the first place.
Brutal stuff, which is why Jesus kept saying following Him would be painful.
So how in our humanness do we do this? Well actually we don’t. I do not believe in our fallen state we have the ability to do anything for God. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit which dwells in us that we can supernaturally have a trust broken and not be broken ourselves.
The key, of course, is love.
If you love your neighbor – truly love him or her – their betrayal of trust can be absorbed without malice. True love covers a multitude of sin because when we truly love our neighbor we can accept the fact that the transgression and the person are separate – we hate the sin but love the sinner. Think of it this way: When you betray God’s trust how does He look at you? He loves you but really isn’t happy with what you did. You end up suffering the consequences of what you did, but He doesn’t come after you in wrath or anything like that. He just loves you and forgives you. That is our example.
I’ll admit that I have some trust issues from my past that I am still grappling with in the present. It’s like cancer that eats at me because I know the right thing to do but I have the hardest time making it happen in my head. Then there’s good old Satan telling me that I have a right to feel the way I do given my past and all that other nonsense. I’m not going to blow smoke and tell you that getting to a place where you can trust openly without fear is easy and instantaneous – it’s not.
Instead what I’ll tell you is I used to have significantly more trust issues that I have today and through prayer, scripture study, more prayer, and asking the Holy Spirit to overshadow me in this area I have had tremendous healing. The last stuff that is left in me is the darkest places where I need God’s light to shine. So I’m a work in progress.
Here’s what I want you to do: Take a pen and paper and write down either the person/people or incident that is causing you trust issues in your life. Then talk to Jesus about how the two of you can go about getting this pain out of your life. Maybe you need to forgive some of it. Maybe you need to allow Jesus to give you some healing. Maybe you just need to stop ignoring it (out of sight out of mind) and finally deal with it.
Yes I know; some of it can be really ugly, humiliating, and painful. But do the second part of the exercise. Once you’ve written down the list then write down how these things keep you from an abundant life. Where are these trust issues stunting your growth personally, emotionally, professionally, and yes, spiritually? I think you will see that a betrayed trust is slowly killing you from the inside out and it’s time to do something about it.
Lastly, what if you’re the one that broke someone else’s trust? I’ve got one more of those hanging out there in my life that is unresolved myself! My strong advice is get right with God and seek forgiveness and then suck it up and get right with the other person and ask for their forgiveness. They may not give it, but you have to ask. As for me, I continue to search for this person (without success to date) and when I find her I will beg her forgiveness for betraying her trust.
I used to think that trusting people was dangerous because that was my life experience at the time. I’ve learned that I cannot love God and love others without trusting, and yes, having that trust betrayed occasionally. But if it was good enough for Jesus it certainly is good enough for me. Trust me on that one!