How Do You Live in a World Without Trust?
A couple sits down with me for counseling. And they say of each other, “I don’t trust him/her.” And by most thinking that signals the end of the marriage. For marriage is a sacred trust. (disclaimer- this is a repeat issue in counseling, I don’t have any of you particularly in mind.)
I have decided to do something that is quite shocking when people say they have trust issues. I tell them “this world is not trustworthy and neither is anything in it.” No one is trustworthy. Romans 3:4 “let God be true (trustworthy), but every man a liar.” We are all liars.
I wish that I could make this connect with you better. For most people this is not a big deal because we have found ways to cope, to live with it. (And those ways that truly work are of God, even if you don’t know it. We will be talking of the God given ways to cope with it.)
Our character is not true, when it is aligned with the standard of God’s character. Our character is a lie, a deception, a bending of what should be. We don’t measure up, we miss the standard of perfection by a lot.
Someone says, “not me”. But that all depends upon whom you compare yourself to. I can always find someone more twisted than I am. So can you.
And not just our character is not true, we are liars in our words. How can you really ever be sure of the truth of what you say? You don’t really know your own heart and motives. We are bent people who deceive our own selves on our best days. We tell the truth from our limited perspective. We see things through a filter of hurts, guilt, wounds, experiences and it is evidenced in our words.
We don’t know all there is to know about any given situation at any given moment. And that is true even if our motives are completely pure.
Proverbs 20:6 says this, “A faithful man, who can find.” And the answer is “no one can find one who is 100% reliable.”
Be very careful that you don’t have an overinflated view of yourself. Or you will be very difficult to live with. When a couple says “I don’t trust him/her,” there is often a sense of judging, that is of thinking that I’m the better one in the relationship.
One time I had a couple come to me and she said, “he looks at other women.” She was insanely jealous (I am not excusing his looking) and she was condemning him for looking.
It came out after several sessions that she participated in swingers’ events (sex with multiple people) and she was condemning him for looking.
She never saw that her sin was hideous and that it was at least as bad as his. They separated and never reconciled.
Paul says to us, “let each (of us) esteem (others) better than themselves.” Be Humble!
1. The first way to live well in a world without trust is to humble yourself and quit measuring yourself by other people. Measure yourself by Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:12 “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.”
That is not wise from a heavenly perspective. See James 3:13-18 in its description of the difference between “earthly, sensual, devilish wisdom (v. 15) and heavenly wisdom (v.17).
How did Jesus live in a world without trust? He chose 12 disciples; Men, therefore, liars. Character wise and word wise they were untrustworthy. “I’ll never deny thee.” says Peter. And yet Peter denies Christ 3 times.
If you are not humble you will respond with accusations and drama and hysterics when someone lies like Peter does. Yet Jesus goes to Peter and loves him and offers Peter restoration and hope in John 21:15-17 He entrust Peter with his heart.
But Jesus also entrusted the disciples with his work. It was a sacred trust. HOW COULD HE DO THAT?
And he entrusted Judas with the disciple’s money. John 12:4-6 “Then saith one of his disciples, Judas… which should betray him. Why was not this ointment sold for 300 pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor: but because he was a thief, and had the bag (money bag), and bare what was put therein.”
Do you think that Jesus knew that Peter was a liar and that Judas would betray him, that Judas was a thief? I do.
God entrust governments into the hand of liars and thieves and murderers.
He entrusts Pastorates into the hands of weak men.
He entrusts the throne of Israel to an adulterer and murderer.
He entrusts parenting to sinners who have no clue.
When I see people rebelling, divorcing, withdrawing, filled with drama and backbiting and gossiping (verbal murder), I know there is a lack of humility. I know there is something desperately needed. They need some hope.
2. Jesus didn’t trust people. He trusted God. “Let God be true.” Who gave Jesus those particular 12 disciples? John 17:6 “I have manifested thy name (the one who is trustworthy) unto the men (those who are untrustworthy) which thou gavest me out of the world: Thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.”
You can never live at peace with the people God puts into or allows into your world if you can’t believe that God put them into your world nor trust that God has a good purpose in putting them into your world.
You will always be looking for new people to replace the one you are “disappointed” in; “spouse,” “boss”, “pastor”, “government”, “church to fellowship with”, you will look for a place where the people are what you expect them to be. You will look for a person who is what you expect them to be. You will repeatedly be disappointed.
Quit looking for people to be the one to put your trust in. Entrusting life to them is not the same as trusting them. (But it does open you up to being hurt by them like Peter and Judas hurt Jesus)
Psalm 20:7 “some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember (trust) the name of the LORD our God.”
Jeremiah 17:5 “Thus saith the LORD, Cursed be the man that trusteth in man…” THAT IS STRONG LANGUAGE.
And the ones who crucified Jesus, cried out, “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he delight in him.” Matthew 27:43
In an untrustworthy world when you are being crucified – live in such a way so that those who are crucifying you will accuse you of “trusting in God.” “let God be true.” This is the whole point of the book of 1st Peter.
3. In an untrustworthy world, trust the God who is in control, and TRUST HIS PLAN. Romans 8:28 “and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to those that are the called according to his purpose.”
God is working through all the unreliable people in your life; including your own untrustworthiness, to accomplish good. When you run from broken people rather than embrace them as part of your God given world, you are running from the workings of God for good in your life.
The good news is – this verse, the promise is not dependent upon you embracing the all things and all people of your world, (your running just makes it more difficult, more complicated, and more painful in the process of God working). He will accomplish his good, in the end.
If you need any understanding of what that good is… there are a couple of things we can always know for sure.
a. God’s glory – that is God intends to look good in the end of your struggle. And that also means that you will agree that it was good. Jesus rose from the dead.
b. For you to become Christ like – to be conformed to his image. Romans 8:29 says that it is predestined that you will be conformed to the image of God’s son. The specific good of Romans 8:28 is conformity with the image of Jesus Christ.
4. How do you live in a world without trust? You do it with the love of God for a lost and broken world (the world nearest to you). If you lose the love of God in your heart, you are done living in any way that satisfies in a broken, untrustworthy world.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…” He entered into our world deliberately. He loved untrustworthy people.
Or as Proverbs 10:12 says, “love covers all sins.” Or as 1 Peter 4:18 says “and above all things have fervent charity (giving love) among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” Charity covers the multitude of violated trusts.
By the way – we tend to want to fix the broken untrustworthiness in others, but this verse says to cover it, not fix it…FIXING IS GOD’S WORK, NOT YOURS.
5. How do you live in an untrustworthy world? By keeping your busy body hands and words out of the way. LET GOD DO THE WORK, THE FIXING.
In 1 Peter 4:15 (3 verses before love covering a multitude of sins) it says, “Let none of you suffer as a busy body in other men’s matters.” Especially in the matters of their sin.
NO one will want to live with you if you are constantly being a busy body in their problems. They want to be loved in their brokenness. LEARN TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOVE AND BEING A BUSY BODY.
Even someone who gives you permission to help, be very careful of trying to do God’s work. You are an amateur at best.
6. How do you live in a world without trust? Turn back to John 17:6 Jesus has just acknowledged that God the Father had given him 12 men, (Judas included) and he finishes this verse with a questionable statement.
“And they have kept thy word.”
Well, not always, not perfectly. BUT THEY DID TRUST IT. THEY DID MINISTER IT.
Here is the point – To live in a broken world without bitterness and anger and despair and hopelessness you must focus on the positives of what God’s word is doing and has done in your life and in the life of other people.
You must fan the flame of trust and faith as it relates to God’s word in you and others.
In 1 Samuel 30:6 “And David was greatly distressed… but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” And David is the one that said in Psalm 119:160 “Thy word is truth.”
7. We need to anchor ourselves in truth… in God’s word to survive in this deceitful world. In 2 Chronicles 31:4 as Hezekiah is being used by God to bring a revival to God’s people, the people got discouraged… so Hezekiah read to them God’s word… “That they might be encouraged in the law of the LORD.”
To survive in an untrustworthy world, you must:
1. Be humble. Be honest about how broken you yourself are.
2. Trust God (not people) Trust his control, (sovereignty).
3. Trust God’s plan. All things work together for good.
4. Have the love of God in your heart for a broken world.
5. Let God do the work, the fixing of broken people, relationships, and things.
6. Look at the positives of what God’s word is doing in people’s lives.
7. And encourage yourself in the LORD and in his word.
Where are you in this area of trust? Are you hurt and disappointed? Are you naively trusting people? Are you trusting God?
It would not be a bad idea to see how David responded to his own untrustworthiness when God confronted him. Read the words of Psalm 51.