Recently I spoke of meeting a young lady, who almost immediately was one I found trustworthy. Now of course, as you may expect, I am biased in this judgement since she has been by mate for over 40 years, But that wee fact should not take away from the bigger picture of this post.
Let me ask you a question.
Think of one whom you trust. Is it a friend, a brother, a spouse, a co worker?
Now that you have thought about that trustworthy person, define the character traits you recognize in that person that allows you to trust him or her.
Take your time. Let me help with a further question.
Are they judgmental, condemning, condescending, self righteous, a tale bearer, impatient, self centered, dishonest,….
Granted, when you meet a person of these characteristics, they may be fun to hang with, may be the life of the party, and may be great for business connections. But if you had a choice, would you find them trustworthy? Sure, some that are in your circle of acquaintances are in positions that make it so you have to trust them (reluctantly). But that niggling worm in you mind is that they will prioritize their own interest over yours. In my thinking, this is a “forced trust” I don’t want to focus on a “forced trust” in this blog post.
For this post, I would like to consider trust from a purer motive, based only on a person’s character and not on profitability, fear or peer pressure. But first lets consider what it means to trust someone, at least from my understanding.
To Trust Someone
For many, including myself, to trust someone includes an element of fear. A fear of repercussions if I don’t trust. A fear of lost opportunities if I don’t trust someone. Now some may say that to trust someone removes the fear of that person, and to that I heartily agree, if we have known that person for a period of time, went through difficult times trusting that person, and developed an abiding relationship throughout both blessings and trials with that person.
But to trust someone initially carries with it an element of fear, a fear of the unknown. I proposed to my favorite lady after knowing her for only a few weeks, and I should have experienced some fear. I can’t remember any, but I am an ol’ coot and may have forgotten a fleeting fear or two. It would only be natural to have some fear of making a mistake, of trusting another person with your life decisions, of committing to one person. After only a few weeks? Yikes.
But as I look back over the 40 years I have known my lady, the fears have melted away, and the trust remains, the commitment continues and I know she has a heart for me. (Amazing if you knew who I truly was!)
So, is a trust born out of fear a healthy thing? Is it trust at all? Can trust coexist with fear?
It seems a couple verses may suggest otherwise
But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” – Mar 5:36 ESV
But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” – Luk 8:50 ESV
And yet, the fear of the Lord is often combined with trust.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. – Psalm 40:3 ESV
You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD! He is their help and their shield. – Psalm 115:11 ESV
Given this quick study, it seems apparent that a proper fear is a catalyst for trust, an initial (and enduring) condition of one who has met the One.
As many may know from my testimony, I felt the judgement of God in my life in various degrees for well nigh 15 yrs before I heard the good news. I sometimes wonder if my conversion was based mainly out if fear, (I am 52.4% convinced it was) and was simply a way of finding a fire escape from hell.
Yet to trust is to know someone, to experience their character and to be drawn to them out of respect, or better yet, out of love.
We are to be drawn to the one who is trustworthy in His character, not pushed to Him due to fear of reprisal.
Believers, as we journey our pilgrim path walking (imperfectly at best) with the One who sacrificed Himself for us, we will naturally will grow into a greater and greater trust because of His character, His ways, His mercy towards us.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. – 1 John 4:18 ESV
Unless of course you have experienced Him as judgmental, condemning, condescending, self righteous, a tale bearer, impatient, self centered, dishonest,….
But that is not the way you learned Christ!– – Eph 4:20 ESV
Consider the character of the One you trust, and it may become evident why your trust is difficult to exercise.
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