A Matter of Trust
Trust is one of those things we don’t necessarily think about often, but the reality is, it is always in our thoughts, and is often the overruling factor in all of our decision-making. Even when we don’t realize it, we make decisions based on the level of trust we have for others, or even inanimate objects, and sometimes it is a matter of trusting one more than another that is the final, deciding factor.
And with trust so often such an important deciding factor, what happens when someone does something to lose that trust? Well, it is not a pretty picture that follows that devastating moment. The truth is [and truth is the matter at hand here], once a trust is violated, it may never be restored, recovered, or rebuilt. I am no fan of Nietzsche, but he expresses my thoughts on this exactly: “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
I am going to say it plainly: If you are the one who has lied, deceived, or cheated another [or me], YOU are the one who is going to have to work the hardest to regain whatever trust you had before. And, being completely honest here, I frankly don’t know what you can do to restore that trust, since you are now not to be believed now that your deception has been exposed. Oh, there is an answer. Yes.
Someone named Shannon Alder once said, “Humility is the only thing that can restore a relationship, when respect has been lost.” I cannot disagree, but it remains that the one who has broken the trust is now not credible. How can I trust that even his or her humility is sincere? Genuine? Heartfelt? The truth is, I can’t. Now, don’t misunderstand: Can I forgive? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean things will continue as they were before. No, in fact, I will guarantee they never will be as they were before. Things will never be the same anymore because trust is a matter of integrity, whether we are talking about God Himself, another human being, or just an inanimate object. When the trust is lost because a lack of integrity, the integrity must be proven once again before the trust is regained. Let’s start with the inanimate object.
Let’s say, for example, we are using a metal ladder; we use the ladder to reach objects that are in places higher than our natural reach. We trust that the ladder will bear the weight on each step without collapsing, up to the designated weight limit. But what if, one day, we step up on the first rung and it gives way? Will we simply ignore it and take a step up on the next rung, or the next? No, we will now doubt the integrity of that ladder because it failed us. If we are smart, we will get a new ladder!
Now, what about another human being? Really, it is not much different. We trust certain individuals because they have proven themselves trustworthy or, as is most often the case, because we give them the benefit of the doubt. We trust most people, and we most often don’t think about it; we trust that the person driving the oncoming car will stay in his or her lane; we trust that the employee we hired is qualified to do the work and will do so once hired; we trust the mechanic or repairman to fix what we’ve hired them to fix; and on and on we could go. But with more valuable items and tasks, we tend to demand proof of trustworthiness before entrusting others with these items and/or tasks. We want others to show us proof of their integrity and trustworthiness, and that is to be expected.
So, what about God Himself? Here is where the highest possible degree of trust is demanded, if for no other reason than our souls are at stake! Trust is absolutely essential here, and God is not asking for blind trust, either, as some would have us believe. No, God, in fact, expects us to examine the record and examine Him and test Him so we can prove His trustworthiness. He does not ask us, “Just trust me,” without offering proof of being worthy of our trust. So what has He offered as proof of His trustworthiness? The Bible record, and His character.
The Bible is a record of God’s dealings with mankind, and if one were to find some cause for doubt or outright proof of Him being untrustworthy, that would be enough to withhold our trust. But the record shows us that God is worthy of our trust. The record shows whatever God said would happen did happen [prophecies], and whatever God said He would do, He did [promises].
The prophecies are simply too numerous to list here, but consider that, regarding his promises, we discover that Joshua reminded the Israelites, “all the good things have come upon you which the Lord your God promised you” (Josh. 23:15), and the record states clearly, “Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass” (Josh. 21:45). Many years later, after the Israelites had gone into captivity just as God has said would happen if they were unfaithful, even those who suffered realized, “He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster…As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us” (Dan. 9:12, 13). Though they probably wished they could have skipped over that part of God’s promises, He did not; they were honest enough to recognize He kept His word.
All of this and more, and with a consideration of the fulfilled prophecies delivered to mankind by God, demonstrates the trustworthiness of God. He keeps His word. But this only verifies one the very character traits of God that renders Him so trustworthy: “God,…cannot lie” (Titus 1:2), or, stated another way, “it is impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18). The psalmist pointed to this fact when he wrote, “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psa. 119:160). If God cannot lie, then it is only logical to conclude every word He speaks is truth. Now, friend, if all God says is true, can He be any more trustworthy than that?
Now, here is when many will hem and haw and try to say that the Bible is not trustworthy, and will then cite the numerous sources who will list abundant “contradictions” or “errors” or “changes” that would render the Scriptures untrustworthy. But here’s a question for those who resort to this ‘escape’: Are you entrusting men — who will lie, deceive, suppress evidence, and who have constantly changed the standard of what is good or bad, or right or wrong — with your soul’s fate and your eternal destination? Will you take the word of men over the word of God? Is it not possible, even likely, that some of these same men who are trying to cast doubt on the word of God and sow seeds of distrust in God and anything religious are actually the ones who are not trustworthy?
And if you have lost trust in God because of the actions of some human being’s ungodly words or actions, then it would be wise to take a step back and reevaluate your reaction and response to their words or actions. It is neither fair nor just to use a broad brush of distrust on everyone religious, based on the actions of a few, or even one. Men have given us plenty of reasons to doubt and distrust, but God has not, nor will He ever.
When it comes to the matter of trust, God is worthy of our trust because He is trustworthy, and no man can ever equal his trustworthiness. — Steven Harper