Learn How and When to Trust in a World of Betrayal
- Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Trust is the foundation of every relationship in life. But what happens when a spouse cheats on you, a friend betrays you, or a co-worker sabotages you? Even smaller misdeeds - like a home repair worker who fails to show up when promised, then overcharges you - can threaten your ability to trust.
Unfortunately, our fallen world is full of reasons not to trust. Yet God still calls on us to trust - not through blind faith, but through the wisdom He gives. Here are some ways you can overcome betrayal and fear to learn how to trust wisely:
Don't go to extremes. If you've been hurt, it's easy to feel as if you can't trust anyone again. If you're trying to trust more, it's appealing to think you may be able to trust everyone all the time. But, in reality, you shouldn't distrust in all situations any more than you should trust in all situations. Remember that sometimes it's wisest to choose to trust, and sometimes it's smartest to choose not to trust. Ask God to give you the wisdom to discern when to trust and when to distrust.
Take an honest look at yourself. Ask God to show you the hard truth about your own tendencies toward sin. Consider the times you may have made a commitment only to back out later, been disloyal, deceived yourself or someone else, rebelled against authority, or presented different personas to different people instead of acting the same with everyone. Understand that every person - including you - in our fallen world is capable of betrayal. But also know that God stands ready to help everyone live with more integrity. Don't get stuck blaming others for your problems. Remember that you can't control what other people do, but you can choose how you react to them. Rely on God to help you learn how to respond to others in healthy ways. Also ask Him to show you how your past is affecting your present attitudes and actions. Know that God is with you in the midst of your pain and will help you heal.
Don't be surprised. Expect that our fallen world will be full of darkness, so when you encounter it, you won't be surprised. But also expect that God will shine His light into the darkness when you pray, and that light will overcome the darkness. Know that you can always trust God, but that you should have a healthy skepticism about people - yourself, and others. Count on the Holy Spirit to help you figure out when you should trust people and when you shouldn't. Expect good things to happen whenever you invite God to help you in any particular situation.
Take baby steps before giant leaps. Rather than trying to take huge leaps of faith right away, try to trust in routine, relatively undemanding situations first. Then, gradually, you'll be able to move toward exercising more and more trust.
Forgive. Realize that you have a choice to make every time you're hurt. Will you let your anger fester into bitterness and explode into revenge? Or will you prevent it from poisoning your life and decide to pursue forgiveness? Remember that God commands His people to forgive, because He has forgiven us. Walk with God through the process of forgiving whenever you're hurt. Remember your pain at being betrayed, your guilt for similar faults, your victory in Jesus' completed triumph over sin, your need to forgive, and your need to move on to the life God has for you in the future. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you at each step of the way. Know that God can and will somehow bring good out of your pain if you choose to forgive.
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