Mending Trust

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Psalms 20:7

There is a real temptation to put our trust in things that are notoriously untrustworthy.  We trust that the Government will keep us safe and secure from everything: Terrorists, calamities of nature, dangerous products, unscrupulous business practices, taxation without representation, exploitive marketing, unsafe medications, and even high fuel costs.  Our trust is revealed in our complaining when the expectations are not met.  Yet, the reality is that government is not God, nor is it run by God. While it does present obstacles to the above list, it does not have omniscience; the ability to know all things, even before it develops.  It simply reacts to things as they develop for the common good of the nation. 

The point is not to argue whether the government responds appropriately or not; that is why we have a multi-party system.  The point is to demonstrate that we place significantly too much confidence in the institutions of humanity.  We expect them to play God-like roles in our lives and then become disenchanted when they fail to live up to the God-role that we have given them.

The same goes for our spouses and significant others.  We sometimes trust that they will make us complete, happy, and fulfilled.  No man or women can do that for us, or in us.  While our spouses and significant others can complement us as we journey towards our wholeness, they can not satisfy our calling towards wholeness.  That is what God does.  However, when we put our trust in our spouses to do this, we set them up to fail.  When we then blame them for not being God-like, we instantly begin to imagine that there is another person out there who is more God-like, who will fulfill our needs and desires more completely.

This is not to say that we should not develop trust in institutions or significant people in our lives.  Trust is the core of all relationships and the foundation of all public and private enterprises.  Here are a couple principles of trust:
1. The Key is not what or who we place our trust, but what are we trusting them for.  We should trust our spouses to love us, to be faithful to us, to fulfill their marriage vows towards us, and to be invested in family leadership.  This is different than trusting that they are solely able to make us whole and happy.  The same with institutions such as government.  We should trust them to fulfill their basic purpose: to provide goods and services that provide for the basic welfare of its citizens.  Yet, we know too many who hold government responsible for everything.
2. Our sense of expectation shapes the direction and depth of our trust.  Unhealthy expectations lead to unhealthy trust and ultimately significant disappointment and disenfranchisement.  The question is not whether you should trust your spouse, but whether what you are trusting him/her to be or to do is realistic.
3. Our extension of trust should be based upon the trustworthiness of the object of the trust.  Trust can be earned or granted.  Someone who shows themselves to be trustworthy over time earns our trust.  Someone or something that makes a commitment to us, we often grant our trust.  Yet is is time and history that allows us to deepen or withdraw the trust given. 
4. Our ability to trust anyone or anything is based upon our perception of their intent.  We discern three things, nearly subconsciously in every decision to trust or to withhold trust:
        A.  Motive: The "why" behind what they are doing. 
        B.  Agenda: Its the "what" that is being realized by the motives
        C.  Behavior: Its the end result of motive and agenda
If we question the motives of another, we will not trust.  If we feel like there is a hidden agenda or conspiracy, we withhold trust. If the behavior we see is not consistent with the stated motives or agenda, we will not trust.  We desperately depend on understanding the intent of the object of our trust.
I believe that we trust a great many things in an unhealthy manner and do not place enough trust in the only person who is truly trustworthy: God.  We see God's motives, agenda, and behavior, so we know we can trust Him totally.  LIke the psalmist, some trust in military and economic strength, but the only completely trustworthy power is that of God alone.
Perhaps this week, you should re-evaluate who, what, and how your trust.  Where does your confidence lie, and in what are trusting for?  Are you looking for things and people to be God-like?  Are you hopelessly locked into trusting untrustworthy people because of fail to see that they are not worthy of your trust.
Take time this week and examine your concepts around trust.  I pray that your will strengthen your healthy relationships, clarify your confusing relationships, and repair your damaged relationships by assessing your degree and depth of trust.
I look forward to your comments this week,
God bless you,
Pastor M Traylor
Dr. M TraylorComment