Twila Paris had a song out in the 1980’s named “Do I Trust You” and the song lyrics are about not understanding why some things are happening but that with faith it came down to did the singer/listener TRUST the Lord regardless? Through the good times and the bad.
There’s a certain level of trust that needs to exist between us and the people in our lives. Some of those relationships are intimate. Some are casual. Some are professional. Some are simply roles in life people and we ourselves have in one another’s lives as we go through life.
We trust our spouses.
We trust our children.
We trust the teachers and school staff at our children’s schools.
We trust police officers.
We trust firemen.
We trust doctors and other medical personnel.
We trust our siblings.
We trust our parents.
We trust our church leadership.
We trust our friends.
And the list goes on…
THAT TRUST IS VIOLATED.
THAT TRUST IS BROKEN.
THAT TRUST IS THROWN AWAY.
How hard is it to have that completely open and honest trust with someone who has violated it? The spouse who has an affair. The child who lies. The teacher who grades papers incorrectly repeatedly? The police officer who abuses their position? The firemen who is an arsonist? The doctor who misdiagnoses us or our family? The sibling who steals from you? The parent who beats you? The minister who cheats on their taxes? The friend who talks behind your back and not in a kind way?
We’re human. We fail. We goof up. We make mistakes. We sin. We hurt the people we love and the people who trust us.
Some relationships never recover. Trust is such a fragile connection between us. Sometimes the pain from broken and violated trust is so deep we’re left with such scarring we can let go of the relationship, forgive even, but we just can’t trust the way we once did.
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”*
Matthew 18:20-21. (*Jesus was saying times without number, endless times.)
Yet, truthfully, I am human. I find it hard to forgive someone who hurts me repeatedly, who violates the trust between us countless times. I find it hard even though the Word of God tells me I must.
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:15
So I find a way. Sometimes it requires investing time, energy and prayer into a relationship that needs repair. Sometimes it requires me to remember that because one or two or ten or a hundred out of thousands and thousands break the public’s trust in them doesn’t mean everyone in that position does so. Sometimes it requires the investment of time, prayer, letting go, forgiving and moving on so that the person can no longer have the power to harm you.
Personally I know of only one being who has the capacity and ability to forgive endless times so the slate is clean and that is the Jehovah God Almighty, the Lord Jesus Christ, the I AM. “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:21-23
Even in His forgiveness He does not remove the consequences of our sin.
Yet I am called to be like Him. To have the same capacity, the same ability to forgive endless times. Oh, how hard THAT can be!
We all struggle with trust, with forgiveness, with showing compassion, with being imitators of God. We all too, have one trust relationship that will never fail and that is in the Lord our God. Because of that relationship the other relationships in our lives have great hope of broken trust being restored, of harm being forgiven of trust, like love, that never fails.
If trusting people is your struggle I pray you find your way by the lantern of the Word of God.