I am not a very trusting person.
Some of it’s baggage from the past and things over which I had no control. Some of it’s because there have been times in my life when I myself have not been trustworthy.
I love observing people. You can learn a lot that way. If someone speaks badly of another person when they’re not around, I usually think that they’ll probably speak badly of me when I’m not around. So why I should I trust them, right?
A few years ago, I was very hurt by someone who I trusted, a lot. She was a mentor for me in the early stages of my ministry and essentially let me pour my heart and soul and time into a project, only to intentionally and forcefully take it away in the end.
Because of this person’s actions, I find myself guarding my innermost dreams and hopes…fearful another person will trample on them. And honestly, my heart just can’t take it one more time.
When I wrote about that situation in my book, Mad Church Disease, I wrote about how forgiveness is a decision I needed to make, yet trust was something that needed to be earned.
But you know what happened? Over time, I felt convicted that I wasn’t getting it right. I researched, prayed, and eventually, I had to go back after sending my manuscript to my editor with a change.
I started to realize that trust is not something that needs to be earned.
Trust should be freely given.
Please hear me…this does not mean that we are allowed to make stupid decisions and be gullible. You wouldn’t just trust a child molester to babysit for you, right?
When I carefully read and studied on 1 Corinthians 13:7, it basically says, “love believes all things.”
In the Greek translation, this reference of love is agape love. The kind of love we are filled with when we become believers. The self-sacrificing kind.
Agape love believes all things.
So, what does “believes all things,” mean?
“Believes,“ in it’s Greek form, means this: to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in.
And “all things”, in its Greek form, means this: each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything.
So, you’re telling me that love places confidence in each, every and all things and people?
I had to look even farther for the context here, as at a simple glance it seems that without question, we should believe everything. That doesn’t make sense given all of the wisdom the bible says we’re to pursue.
One commentary I read summed it up beautifully…
“Love puts the most favorable construction on everything, and is ever ready to believe whatever may tend to the advantage of any one character. And when it can no longer believe well, it hopes whatever may excuse or extenuate the fault which cannot be denied. Where it cannot even excuse, it hopes God will at length give repentance unto life.”
Do I give people the benefit of the doubt? And when I can’t…do I truly hope the best for them, through Christ?
Or do I dwell on the assumed, or even obvious shortcomings or someone…holding my own agenda close so that I, in my own power, can protect it?
Love believes all things.
Maybe it’s time that I started to believe in that kind of love.Leave a Comment
deb @talk at the table says
I’m glad that you are working on moving forward.
I need to take this advice myself . I know it . Following through is the hard part.
Hm, Anne. Once again making me think. (And I’m probably not the only one …) It’s a hard balance to know how to love “believing-ly” and not be gullible, but it is a very important one – Jesus did and does show us how love believes all things – no matter how many times WE mess up and don’t deserve it! However, it still is hard for us to do.
Denese B. says
Joy at Joy in the Journey says
Not trusting someone is another way I try to punish them for what they’ve done to me. I need to remember that I’m not the one administering justice (God is). And I’m not innocent, either.
Lots to think about.
hope hammond says
i believe you can bless people without putting yourself in a position of trusting them. sometimes we punish others by not trusting them but not always. sometimes you need to be cautious with certain people. but you don’t want to not trust everyone because one person did you wrong. be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.
JD in Canada says
Food for thought once again, Anne… thank you for sharing and for the opportunity to look at these issues in our own lives.
I find that when I’m hesitant to trust, I focus my trust in God and in what He would want from this situation, for myself, and for the person I struggle with… I pray for us both to get God’s message loud and clear, and in time, that trust is rewarded.
Wow this is quite the revelation to me. Thank you for sharing what God has shown you. So very true. If we all would take on this new mindset, then think of all the healing that would truly come to relationships.
I love this. You just described me and every action as I guard my hopes and dreams with all my might. Everyday.
I will be picking up your book.
Sarah Mae says
Yes! My pastor once talked about how you really can’t ever earn trust b/c you are never with someone 100% of the time, it is a leap of faith.
I have never replied to any of these but, this one hit me right between the eyes also, in my heart….yes, there IS much to think about here.
Thanks for your being so real. I can trust that!
God is so teaching me this right now. Very well said.
You know, I am totally battling a situation right now – and trying to figure out peoples motives and bla bla bla. It so totally doesn’t matter. Thank you for this. It is time relevant for me to hear and to know that my responsibility is to love and honor and TRUST, regardless of whatever it is I think or assume or fear they “might” be doing. I am to love, love and then love some more. So thank you.
Kristen - Moms Sharpening Moms says
Awesome post, Anne. A wonderful reminder to love all people, not just the ones who are easy to love. Thanks for writing this!
Anne, what a great post! I have been thinking about this a lot lately while dealing with a family members on-off substance abuse and mental health issues. Thank you for linking to this from your site or i never would have found (in)courage. What a great network!
Some of it’s baggage from the past and things over which I had no control. Some of it’s because there have been times in my life when I myself have not been trustworthy.
I could’ve written this myself, and you’ve summed up my trust issues in a way I’ve never been able to.
Thanks for writing this. It’s much appreciated today.
Cindy Graves says
I’ve always been a person who finds it easier to believe a person until they give me a reason not to instead of constantly being suspicious. But once you’ve given me that reason to distrust you, watch out. Now you’ve made me have to deal with that. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on an issue, someone comes along and points out a crack that needs sealing. Oh well, that means I get to spend more time with God, right? Seriously, thanks tons for this. (I loved Mad Church Disease, BTW)
this is SO hard for me. always has been. my husband leaving me after his 18-month affair came to light only compounded my trust issue.
but i don’t want to have the “love always distrusts” kind of love. i want to trust until trust is broken, not make people earn it.
Lord, keep my heart soft!
OUCH!! but thank you (i think?!)
(hmmm, funny how God has alece commenting right before me)
Bindu Balan says
Anne, great post. Thank you for the reminder that agape love believes all things. God definately used this post to get me thinking. 🙂
I must say that this is very inspired. I recently made the decision that I was not going to live a reactive life. In other words, I was going to do the good, right and loving thing towards everybody, despite of how they treat me because I don’t like being a mirror of someone else’s attitude. Your post regarding trust and how it relates to love and Godly things, goes hand in hand with my decision. Its not about deluding yourself, its about ridding yourself of the ugliness of resentments, bad feelings and bad thoughts about others and about yourself, to live a life of love, hope and Godly ways.
Matt Bowman says
Good, thoughtful, provoking insights Anne. I would say trust should be given freely, but the level of trust we place in people is based on their trustworthiness. If someone continually disappoints us & proves to be untrustworthy in an area, then shouldn’t we be more careful about trusting them in that same area until there is a sign of growing trustworthiness? I’m just sort of thinking out loud here. I too have some baggage in this area because it’s usually the people we trust the most that cause us the most pain.
Lynse Leanne says
Amazing post Anne. Because i have been hurt in the past that is something that i so easily forget. Thanks for the reminder.
As I went deaf, I had to beef up on American Sign Language (ASL). “Trust” is depicted as raising both hands above your head, clenching together as if around a rope, and yanking down.
You “trust” the “rope” will hold you and keep you safe.
I questioned the instructor on this and was surprised to learn that Trust is a derivative of Truth. Indeed, it went further.
The Indians believed that there is a sharp blade above your heart. When you lie or deceive, the blade lowers, cuts, and hurts deeply, then raises anew….moving forward an increment.
Each time you lie, the process repeats. The hurt is to remind you to stop doing that lying, betrayal, deception. The blade moves forward an increment after each lie.
Soon, there is no more hurt…..for there is no more heart! You have cut it out with your lies.
I believe we always look at trust from our angle instead of God’s. Sinning is ALWAYS against God, not us.
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”
If trust is a derivative of truth, and Christ is the Light, the Way, the TRUTH, than denying trust is a denial of Christ.
When we truly repent, the sin is forgiven; thus Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation.
Few of us linger there with the Lord.
We linger in “worldly sorrow”.
“I’m sorry I got caught” (excuse)
“Well, if you would have listened to me” (blame)
“I don’t have any friends, because now everybody knows” (triangulation)
All of these are worldly sorrow, and we are all good at that. It has no trust; everything is someone else’s fault. God is not in the mix of sin here. We continue to deceive ourself and it all leads to death (no repentance; no forgiveness of sin).
This post was hard to read, for in clenching a rope above my head in full trust, it has broken and destroyed all trust twice in the last month. I am doing my best to stay on the side of Godly sorrow, and not on worldly regret….and trust anew.
Probably not an accident I stumbled into here today. Thanks.
Shaunie Friday says
Very insightful post Anne–thank you for opening up the words in such a familiar passage! This reminds me of how my Grandma used to say, no matter what someone had done, “Well, bless their heart anyway.”
Bless your heart for going deeper!
Vicki Gupton says
I’m probably too trusting, because I expect the best of people. Your statement about putting the best light on things is close to Luther’s explanation of the Commandments in his small Catechism. In Jesus’ words, it’s all about loving our neighbor, and in St. Paul’s it’s “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fullfillment of the Commandments.-From the book of Romans.
WHEW! Thanks I needed that!
While we live in this world and have relationships with people, we will be hurt. People do that to each other. That causes us not to trust, not to want to relate to others, to go into a sort of isolation. But it’s really lonely and depressing in that place. What I think we need to do is develop a relationship with God where we actually believe that He can heal any hurt. Trust Him to be the great healer, and then trusting people will most likely follow, because you are not really putting your trust in people, but in God.
Wow…when you break it down like that it does seem to be clear that trust should be freely given. I was under that impression that trust should be earned and that some how if I tried to give most people the “benefit of the doubt” then I wasn’t with holding anything. Thank you for the post!
Michael Benidt says
Another excellent and honest post, Anne. First of all I’d like to say, thank you Shaunie for your Grandma’s wisdom.
Seems to me that trust is something you give. If you were certain that your trust would not be broken, it wouldn’t be trust, it would be, well, certainty.
Seems also that about 100% of all of us falls at least a tad short of perfect – which means we have lots of chances to give our trust.
That’s just the way it seems – I could be wrong. But, I trust that you’ll give me the benefit of the doubt.
Lucy Ann Moll says
Yes, when one person deeply wounds another, risking trust is counterintuitive. Yet if you or I choose to NOT trust again, life becomes small. We end up hurting ourselves. But to trust again?
A risk well worth it.
I loved this and shared it with my small group because just last week, we were trying to figure out what exactly, “love believes all things,” means. We couldn’t come up with an explanation that satisfied me, but I think you hit it dead on. Thank you for sharing.
jana in the jungle says
Trusting someone….hmmm. I get the forgiveness part but when someone continually acts the same way, why would we chose to trust them? That seems disrespectful to them and allows them to stay in the same place. Maybe the believing is… in believing that they will grow and change and loving them where they are.
Anne — I, too, have experienced the pain of being hurt by someone I trusted. Thank you for your transparency and your honesty. You’ve given this girl something to think about.
Danny Kam says
I am not certain that your interpretation of 1 Corinthians is correct, and I am also not sure of how the passage ties into the larger discussion of trust, but I would like to say that your thoughts on trust are quite certainly quite helpful and needed for a church that is too untrusting, too distanced from the other, and too much caught up in its own image.
I suppose what I thought was lacking in the post was some definition or analogy of trust to explain to us what trust is. Is it simply ‘placing confidence’ in something as you spoke of above? How is it that we go about putting this trust into someone or something? Is it only something that happens in our minds, or is it something that also happens with our bodies.
I think perhaps a different way to put it would be to talk in terms of openness. We are to be open with people, no matter who they are, because of the very nature of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. What I speak of is not primarily a mental openness, but an openness of our lives as Christ was open with his life. Our houses are to be open spaces for kingdom work – whether that be housing the alien, housing the sick, or housing those who have nowhere else to go.
If I were to go one step further and talk about trust, I might start with distrust. Distrust seems to be the deliberately putting up of walls (or perhaps closing the ‘openness’ we spoke of above). To trust is to take down those walls and to open our lives emotionally and physically to those around us. But to speak of trust for trust’s sake or love for love’s sake or agape for agape’s sake seems arbitrary. The abstract ideas only makes sense within the story and kingdom of God.
I bring up distrust because there needs to be a discussion of why distrust is so prevalent in our western context. Namely, we live in a privatized world. Our houses are considered private dimensions and many of our work environments give us private spaces in private firms. We have a public and private life. The kingdom of God seems so radical because we are taught that we are only allowed to bring people we trust into our private worlds. If we let ‘just anybody’ in, we could be hurt (physically or emotionally).
This turns to a discussion, of course, of the ‘other’ and why we fear the other. We fear the other because we are caught in a cycle of violence perpetuated by the media and political forces more potent than we sometimes imagine. For instance, the term ‘war on terror’ is largely a misnomer. We gave Bin Laden exactly what we wanted. What happened on Sept. 11, as much as we might like to think otherwise, was murder. Something that happened in one place at one time. It was not a war and to treat it as such is to encourage the fear-mongering that has for so long held up the nation-state to it’s nationalistic tendencies of empire.
What does all of this have to do with trust? We live alternatively as Christians as resident aliens among the nation-states. If we are to believe as we are taught in our nationalistic education that freedom fundamentally requires violence to keep control, this will naturally flow down to our lives within Christian community. Somehow we believe that we have to control our circumstances and control who comes in and out of lives and control EVERYTHING. The cross of Jesus, rather, is one that calls us to abandon all control. We are to take up his cross, which may cost us everything (i.e. we will not be able to have that ‘control’ that America so often tells us we must have).
But it is only when realizing that we must let go of this control and live without the cycle of violence in God’s peaceable kingdom that we find this openness that you seem to be talking about in your post. Thanks for sharing this, it opened up my mind to lots of different lines of thought.
Sorry this is so long, but once I started I didn’t feel like I wanted to stop midway.
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