Saturday, January 22, 2011

Do you Trust?

I have had some conflict in my mind over the past few years about trusting people.  There are a few main reasons I usually have a hard time trusting people:

1.) I think I can do a better job than they can
2.) If they aren't a Christian, I question their morals.
3.) With the way the world is today, I just don't believe people are "good" anymore.

I would say of all of those, the one I struggle with the most is the first one.  It's really hard for me to trust someone to do something for me, especially if it's something I know I could do myself.  Relinquishing control can be a pain in the butt sometimes.  I just don't want to be disappointed... because then it's awkward.  What do I tell the person if they didn't meet my expectations?  Do I need to show grace and let it go.... or do I need to hold that person to my standards (which can often be way above the average person)?  Is it really worth saving myself the stress of being crunched for time, if I don't have a guarantee the end result will have my approval?  Sometimes I choose to do everything myself because I don't want to inconvenience others... but usually it is because I just don't trust people to get the job done.

Regarding the other two reasons not to trust people, I would say that over the past 4 years I have come to a realization that some people may not agree with... but it is something that I think just might be true.  It has helped me to trust people a little more.

Do you believe that trusting someone, especially those who may not deserve it, can be a way to show God's love, and perhaps, even be proof of your faith in Christ?

Disclaimer:  This is not some sort of blanket statement.  I understand that trust needs to be determined and given on a case-by-case situation.  Some people should not be trusted... either at all, or in certain situations.  While only God can judge a person's heart, I believe a person's deeds (good or bad) can be a clue as to how much we should or should not trust them.  While forgiveness is commanded of us, I honestly don't know (but highly doubt) trust is required of us in every situation.

Ok, moving on.  I don't really know of any Bible verses that support this idea of mine.  But I have seen this idea lived out in real life... and I would argue that, yes, trusting someone might be the key to showing them a glimpse of God's grace & goodness.  I think this idea is rooted in the idea of forgiveness.  In a sense, trusting those who may not deserve to be trusted can show them forgiveness for whatever they've done before... or for what they are capable of doing.  Forgiveness is a shadow of who God is, whether we realize it or not.  We obviously live in a world that is morally unstable, and it's getting worse.  It's becoming harder to trust... and we have a twisted way of going about relationships, almost as to protect ourselves from those we do not trust.  Our online activity, while available to nearly anybody who wants to see it, can be controlled in the "privacy settings".... so we determine who can see certain content.... we can deliberately say "I don't trust you, therefore you can't see what I am posting online".  Or, for those people who know they shouldn't be trusted, they can hide their activity so that they can keep up an image of "trustworthiness", when in reality they are not.  Of course, they may not ever know you've done that to them, but it's not who knows, but rather the state of your heart, that God judges.   Do you follow what I'm saying?

I've had this happen to me.  For example, I am leading a high school girls Bible study at my church every Sunday night.  There are things in my life that are not ok right now.... places I've slacked off spiritually, relationships I have not properly poured myself into, or things I'm doing with the wrong state of mind or heart.  And yet, despite these struggles, I've been trusted to lead these girls in a study of who Jesus is, and what a true relationship with Him looks like.  Wow.  It makes me take a deep breath every single time I think about it.  Will I rise to the challenge?  Do I trust myself enough to let God use me?  It certainly nudges me in the right direction when I'm trusted in that way.

I think if we choose to see the good in people, we can empower them to live better lives.  People are capable of change, and I truly believe that.  The question is... do we let them?  Do we give them the opportunity to become a better person?  You should trust carefully, and perhaps in small amounts at first.  There is definitely the risk of being let down.  Your trust might get thrown back in your face, and that is why it should be done carefully... but when you choose to trust, let trust dwell in your heart, not just in your actions. 

I'm trying harder to trust people, in the same way people have trusted me.  I would challenge you to look at the people you interact with, and determine if there is a relationship that you could put more trust into.  Proceed with caution & wisdom... but empower with trust and forgiveness.

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