We need to strive for our trust level to be in the grey, as is illustrated in the picture above, meaning that there needs to be a balance. How do we learn how to trust properly and establish healthy boundaries in our relationships? We look to the example of God and what he’s revealed to us through His word.
Most people are familiar with the account of Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion. We see that he had to suffer through extreme pain, dying for undeserving sinners, and we realize the level of love and compassion he had on the world when he said “Father, forgive them...” (Luke 23:34). But something else can also be observed from the story: our Savior gave us an example of putting proper trust in humans.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the events surrounding the end of Jesus’ life:
- Peter (and the rest of the apostles) said he would not deny the Lord (Matthew 26:33-35).
- Judas betrayed Jesus (Matthew 26:47).
- All the disciples left Jesus, in His time of need (Matthew 26:56)
- Peter denied Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75)
Of course, Jesus knew all of this would happen. But, knowing all that He knew, Jesus still did not let it destroy His purpose or change the way He lived His life. Jesus still spent time teaching these men. He washed their feet! Not one of the apostles could tell Judas would be the one to turn Jesus in (Luke 22:23)....because Jesus did not treat him any differently than the others. Jesus was still Himself and could live His life, knowing his friends would betray Him. None of what was to come caused Jesus to change the way he interacted with them or keep Him from fulfilling His purpose. He kept His focus!
Jesus placed a proper trust in humans. All people can let us down. All of us have the ability to change our minds. While it will hurt when others do wrong to us, having this proper faith in humans in the first place will keep those events from destroying us. Our goal should be to want relationships with people, have faith in people and believe the best in them, but not be completely broken when they mess up, or even purposely wrong us, because we understand that they are imperfect humans and do not deserve our complete faith and reliance. We need to be able to go on just fine without those relationships. The only one that deserves our complete trust is God and He is the only one that we can fully rely on and know by whom we will not be let down. It’s comforting to know that God will not change His mind and He will not disappoint us! It’s appropriate then, and necessary, to give your whole heart to God, and keep humans at a reasonable distance. I’ve heard it explained this way: “Keep people at arm’s length. A few can come to the elbow, but the only one you can let come all the way to your heart is God.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
- Proverbs 3:5
- Look to God’s word and the example He sets for us by the nature of His being.
- Realize all humans have the ability to change their minds, hurt people, and make mistakes, but do not let that expectation change the way you treat others. Always be kind.
- Realize God is the only one that we can fully put our faith in! Keep your “inner circle” small. Most people cannot properly handle having such an important position in your life.
- Keep a higher focus. Strive to be dependent on God, and to be independent of other people. Your goal still needs to be Heaven, no matter what anyone else does. Keep your focus on the goal.
- Stay connected to other people; even the ones that are not in your inner circle or are a challenge to your confidence.
- Don’t be suspicious of people; just be cautiously wise. Don’t expect anyone in your life to be perfect, but give the benefit of the doubt.
- Remember that there are good and godly people in the church that do love you.
- A vital part of balancing trust with others is knowing YOUR tendencies and vulnerabilities. Be aware of those things about yourself and evaluate them in your relationships.
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”
- Psalm 118:8
“Put no trust in a neighbor; have no confidence in a friend; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your arms; for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house.”
- Micah 7:5-6