Yes I can trust again - Part 1
A Bill Johnson poll released by The Sunday Gleaner on July 30 revealed that Jamaicans have a strong distrust of most major political and social actors. "From political leaders to the media, religious leaders to the captains of industry, there is a serious issue of mistrust." Yet trust remains an important component in the success of our relational lives.
Most of us, at some point, have had our trust compromised, with very painful results. The Psalmist said it clearly: "Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! ... It is not an enemy who taunts me I could bear that... Instead, it is youmy equal, my companion and close friend." Psalm 55:6; 12-13 (NLT).
But trust is a crucial ingredient in our relationships, and without it, we can't love our families, our neighbours, our leaders, or anyone else. For peace and happiness, we need good relationships built on trust.
Trust means that you place confidence in someone to be honest with you, faithful to you, keep promises, vows, and confidences and not abandon you. The undeniable truth is that none of us does that perfectly.
We can be genuinely trustworthy, but every now and then, we all drop the ball. Realistically, relationships carry no guarantees - not even in church. At church, we expect that everyone will be perfect, but people are far too complex for that.
In fact, in the Bible, we see broken trust even among church people. Acts 15:36-38 (NLT), says, "After some time Paul said to Barnabas, 'Let's go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord to see how the new believers are doing." Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark. But Paul disagreed strongly since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work.
Paul did not trust Mark, but this was something that he would grow to overcome. In 2 Timothy 4:11 (NLT), Paul said: "Only Luke is with me. Bring Mark with you when you come, for he will be helpful to me in my ministry."
So how do we recover from a lack of trust today? Using the acronym, T.R.U.S.T., let's see how we can say "Yes, I can trust again".
T - TAKE A NEW LOOK AT YOURSELF
In the same Sunday Gleaner report, university lecturer Fae Ellington reasoned that: "It could be because so many Jamaicans know they are not being as trustworthy as they could be or should be. If we cannot trust ourselves, then how will we trust others?"
The first place to start is to look at ourselves. The same Apostle Paul wrote: "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement." Romans 12:3 (NIV). We need to look at ourselves and ask:
1. What is the source of my mistrust? Is it coming from childhood or adult experiences? Ask God for help - "Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalm 139:23-24 (KJV).
2. Are there any patterns that I notice regarding trust? For instance, do I withdraw when my relationships grow too close? Am I always just watching and waiting for betrayal?
3. Do I trust myself? Trust is about having faith in others and in ourselves. Cheating spouses often don't trust the faithful spouse. Do I trust myself?
The next step is to:
R- Remove the baggage that holds you back
As we examine ourselves, there are some things that we may discover that we will want to unload. Specifically:
1. Stop labelling yourself the victim:
If you've been betrayed, you may be the victim of circumstances, but you don't have to adopt a "victim mentality." People might have hurt you, but you need to learn from it in order to heal.
2. Forgive from the heart:
When you don't forgive, you become bitter and nothing positive comes from it. Once Job forgave, God blessed him: "After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before." Job 42:10 (NIV). Trust will never develop and we will never grow closer to others or to God until we first forgive.
3. Adjust your expectations:
Read this aloud: "All people fail, including me"! Trusting another person requires a realistic perspective about people combined with a willingness to forgive in an environment of acceptance and love.
And this is just the beginning. We have started to lay a foundation that will enable trust to grow. Next week, we will complete the T.R.U.S.T. acronym and see how God's involvement can give us the confidence to say, "Yes, I can trust again!"