A Question of Trust?

Most people today are not quick to trust, because the world punishes people who trust too quickly or too easily. Is that the way it should be?

Some things we learn the hard way. One of them is that you can’t trust everybody. It would be nice if you could, but if we’ve been around the block a few times, we know we just can’t.

You may have learned too late that you paid for work on your car or your furnace that really wasn’t needed or wasn’t done or wasn’t done right. Then maybe there was a friend who slandered you behind your back or shared something very private about you with others.

All of our lives we’ve heard the myriads of promises made by politicians, and we’ve learned how unlikely it is they will be kept. Yet the electorate gets all excited to hear them over and over again, year after year.

When there’s a contract to be signed, we know we need to look at the fine print—or even better have a lawyer look it over. But wait, a lawyer! Can you trust a lawyer?

Some vocations are less trusted than others. Several websites publish a list of the most/least trusted professions. Those who make the list of most trusted year after year are nurses, doctors and teachers, while those least trusted are politicians, telemarketers and car salesmen. Of course, there are exceptions.

The pain of broken trust

It’s always painful to be the victim of broken trust. Perhaps it is most painful when it is experienced in one’s marriage or family.

Healthy marriages and fulfilling relationships are built on a foundation of mutual trust. When that trust is betrayed, it is always heartrending.Healthy marriages and fulfilling relationships are built on a foundation of mutual trust. When that trust is betrayed, it is always heartrending. Sadly, we see marriages and families by the thousands rent asunder on a daily basis. Marriage vows are broken; families and homes are torn apart, resulting in shattered lives, both of the departing mates and the innocent children.

In several of his books, author Stephen Covey speaks of the importance of trust. He calls trust a glue of life. It reflects what we are or are not. “Trust is something you can’t fake or quick-fix. It’s a fundamental function of character—of personal trustworthiness” (First Things First, 1994, p. 204).

Good relationships are built on trust

Trust is one of the most essential ingredients in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships—marriages, families and organizations of every kind—together. “Trust determines the quality of the relationship between people” (Stephen Covey, Principle-Centered Leadership, 1991, p. 170).

What kind of relationship can people enjoy if they aren’t sure of the truthfulness or motives of the other person?

Take a look at your own marriage, home and family. What is the level of trust you see? It is one of the pillars of a solid, stable and gratifying partnership. If it is not there, there will be suspicion, worry and poor communication.

With low trust, the relationship is unpredictable and, to a degree, unstable. There is uncertainty whether any attempt at communication will be ignored, be ridiculed or lead to unproductive angry exchanges. Such negative responses cause people to hide mistakes or fears, rather than feel comfortable or free to discuss them. This, in turn, leads to barriers to what could be much better relationships.

With high trust, people listen. They are respectful and caring. A person is made to feel that he or she is a part of a team, a family. Individuals become more responsible and accountable. They can freely express themselves without fear, as there is more open communication. It is predictable in the sense that there will be no unpleasant surprises. Each knows what kind of behavior to expect from the other. It is consistent, dependable, honest and unselfish.

Trust is built on mutual love

Trust needs to be mutual. In marriage it has to come from both spouses, formed on the basis of honest, open, consistent behavior. Each one’s words and actions should be in harmony with each other. If you trust someone, you can relax, in that you know what to expect. A mutual confidence develops. Each will trust the other to handle such things as the finances, alcohol and relationships with others in a responsible manner.

As stated earlier, trust isn’t something that you can fake or build quickly. But it is fixable through effort and with God’s help (see Philippians 4:13). The solution to most of these kinds of problems begins with self—with us.

Striving to be genuine and transparent is a good place to begin. Your loved ones should not have to wonder, “What is he or she really saying?” And, of course, we should not make promises we can’t or don’t want to fulfill. We should strive to always carry out what we say we will do, even if it is not easy or requires some sacrifice on our part (see Psalm 15:4).

Consider these simple points

Trust is built on truth. Strive to be truthful in all your communication with others. Be careful what you promise; but when and if you make a promise, do your best to fulfill it. The same is true for your commitments. When and if you fall short, go to others and admit your mistakes, apologize and promise to endeavor to do better in the future. Hold yourself accountable for your words and actions.

For those who are married, maybe it’s time to have a discussion with your mate about how trust can be strengthened in your relationship. If you have children, help them get their lives started right by learning and applying these principles of trust in the family and elsewhere. It will greatly benefit them in their future family and other relationships.

In the end, we must all come to see that even though trusting in each other is good to do, our trust ultimately must be in God.If you are not married, take the time to get to know a potential mate to determine if he or she is trustworthy. How well does the person handle his or her finances? Does the person respect you and others? Drive responsibly? Drink responsibly?

In the end, we must all come to see that even though trusting in each other is good to do, our trust ultimately must be in God (Micah 7:5-8; Jeremiah 17:5-6; Psalm 118:8-9).

The challenge of trusting God

As we have shown in other articles on this site, this is Satan’s world (1 John 5:19; Revelation 12:9). We live in a world of Satan’s design and creation, where we’re being programmed to not fully trust anyone. He doesn’t want us to be trustworthy or trusting individuals.

So he has created a world to make us skeptical, cynical and suspicious of everything and everyone. Why? Because the calling of God requires that we totally trust Him. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

If we have learned to distrust everyone and everything, it will be more difficult to completely submit ourselves in trust to our Creator.

Without faith or trust, it is impossible to fully serve God (Hebrews 11:6).To have a strong, healthy relationship with Him, we must believe His every word and know that He will never lie. We trust Him to protect, heal, provide for, guide and lead us into all truth; and we trust that if we worship and obey Him, He will bless us and grant us eternal life, power and glory in His Kingdom.

Satan is doing everything He can to undermine that kind of relationship with God. He is the father of lies and deceit (John 8:44). He convinced a third of the angels to break their trust with God. Through his lies, he also undermined the trust of the first couple, Adam and Eve.

Can God trust us?

Learning to fully trust God is just one side of the coin. God’s goal is to bring us to the place where He can totally trust us. In order for us to be a part of His divine family, we must become trustworthy—worthy of His trust.

If we yield to Him, He will mold and shape us into having the mind and character of His Son, Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5). By teaching us and testing us, God will bring us to the place where He can fully trust us!

Ultimately, our destiny as Christians is to become heirs of this universe, joint heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). God wants to share with us the treasure of the entire universe, as well as power and glory. Can He trust us with those things? Would power and glory so fill us with pride and vanity that we would destroy ourselves and others in the process? That’s what He must know.

We can prove to Him we are trustworthy by our obedience to His laws (see Luke 16:10-13).

There can be an awesome future ahead for you. Do you trust Him for that?

About the Author

Bruce Gore

Bruce Gore

Bruce Gore served as a pastor for more than 50 years in the Church of God. He grew up in the South on a farm and met his wife to be at college in Pasadena, California. Bruce and Phyllis were married for more than 50 years before her death in 2019. They had four children and 14 grandchildren.

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