(March 13, 1991)
“But I trusted you...”
Batted about by broken promises and countless betrayals, trust comes tough at times. People we relied on have let us down, sometimes more times than we can count. Most of us give up, we figure our limit has been reached. But has it? What is the maximum we can trust another person? Will anyone ever be so faithful as to never push us beyond that boundary? Besides, what is the foundation of trust? Is it the other person’s performance? Or some sort of a blind I-hope-he-keeps-his-word-this-time kind of trust?
Biblically, neither are what trust is all about. To understand, we must first understand the nature of man. God created us in His own image, thus people are capable of great good. However, the human race has disobeyed God and turned away from Him. We have all sinned and fallen short of His goal for us. Because of sin within, man is also capable of great evil. As we look at the world around us, we know both are true.
Because of that, the Bible says never to put our trust in people. That is, we are not to expect anyone to be 100% trustworthy, even those who appear to be. If we do, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. All are sinners, remember? So everyone will let us down, at one time or another.
But does that mean we must always be on guard, that no one can be trusted? Not exactly. Notice the words of the psalmist: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. We can trust God. (Ps.118:8)
When I first became a Christian, I did that, but my trust was based on a thought that God was like my earthly father and would give me what I wanted simply because I wanted it. It was painful to learn God is not like that, yet it felt good to learn He lovingly gives what is best for me. Did knowing His real nature change my trust in Him? Yes it did; trust was deepened.
The parallel is this: we tend to base our trust in others on what we want or expect from them instead of having a proper understanding of their nature. They may deliver and if they do, we tend to say “I trust you.” But if they don’t, we moan, “How can I ever trust you?”
Trusting someone based on their human performance is foolish. Performance is never 100%. We are sinners, remember? No matter how well intentioned anyone might be, his very nature determines that brand of trust will someday be disappointed.
Fortunately, God IS trustworthy because He loves us. He does not break promises, betray us or act out of keeping with our best interests. Those very qualities enable us to trust Him in a deep way (after we get over the idea that He will not spoil us or pamper us). But what do we do with people? How can we trust the untrustworthy? Or do we live our lives as sceptics?
I have been learning something in that regard. Trust is a by-product. The initial issue is love — not sentiment or romance but that deep commitment to care for the current and eternal well-being of another, no matter the personal cost. It is unconditional love, the love God has for us; He loved us so much He sent His Son to die for us while we were sinners. That love has no strings attached... but we can accept it or reject it.
When I accepted it, it became available to me as a resource for living. With His love I can love other people and His love perseveres, even if promises are broken or lies are told.
I don’t like being lied to. Neither does God. I don’t like it when someone says one thing and does another. Neither does God. I also don’t like it when I depend on another and they let me down. But God LOVES us anyway, even when we let Him down! His love is willing to give its all, regardless of the response, even if people walk all over it.
Let’s face it, even if we say “no” to lies, we have to eventually come to grips with the fact that people will lie or hurt us regardless of our decisions. No one is immune from being sinned against. If we are Christians, our responsibility is not to be liars who grieve and offend, but lovers who show the world how God responds to those who foolishly sin against Him.