Trust is good for us
For reading & meditation: Proverbs 14:14-26
"A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps." (v.15)
We saw yesterday that all relationships, both human and divine, are fun-damentally governed by trust. Without trust, society would deteriorate into paranoia - the feeling that everyone is out to get you. Mental health specialists see an inability to trust as a symptom of emotional illness. Erik Erikson, a famous psychiatrist, says that the capacity to trust is the foundation of good emotional health, and conditions such as chronic anxiety, high nervousness or paranoia could be caused by an inability to trust. Although people may let us down and betray our trust, we must be careful that we do not allow those experiences to lead us to the conclusion that everyone we meet is a conspirator. On the other hand, you will no doubt have come across the expression "a trusting fool" - a phrase used to describe the person who is unable to discern the diabolical schemes that might be hatched up to exploit him. Erikson also says: "Unless we have a balanced approach to life - a basic trust together with a certain degree of caution - then we will never achieve emotional maturity or wholeness." Note his words carefully - "a balanced approach to life." Therein lies the secret. We must learn how to trust while at the same time exercising a certain amount of caution. Our text tells us that "a simple man believes anything," but that does not mean we should go to the other extreme and believe that everything people tell us is a downright lie or fabrication. Truth is a narrow column and we must watch that we do not lose our balance and fall off.
O Father, help me to be a balanced person - one who stands on the narrow column of truth without falling off into one extreme or the other. Remind me that error is often truth taken to an extreme. Keep me in the truth. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
For further study:
1. How did Jesus respond in moments when His trust was betrayed?
2. In what ways have you betrayed Jesus' trust in you?