Of Trust and Trees (When Trust is Betrayed)
Have you ever been betrayed by someone close to you? Someone you believed you could trust? A parent? An employer? A pastor? A mentor? A good friend? A spouse? All of the above? I’ve been let down more times than I can count, yet I am repeatedly surprised when my trust is betrayed. The closer we come to placing our faith in a trusted friend or family member, the deeper the treachery cuts. Trust seems like a good thing, but is it?
“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.”
(Psalm 118:8 NIV)
When the betrayer is in a position of authority, it’s particularly disturbing. We want to be able to hold those in leadership — especially Christian leadership — to a higher standard. It seems like a right we should be able to claim, but is trusting others what the Bible teaches us to do?
“Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.” (Psalm 146:3 NLT)
“Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer.” (Jeremiah 9:4 ESV)
Love your neighbors, yes. But trust them? Not so much. We can’t put our faith in mankind. When Jesus walked among us, he performed miracles and people began to believe in him, but he knew better than to trust in men — even his closest friends and disciples. He knew they would ultimately betray him.
“But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:24-25 ESV)
There are times in our lives when we must rely on others, but we must be very careful where we place our confidence. God likens those who place their trust in humans to a bush in the wastelands. It’s not a pretty picture.
“Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with the woman who lies in your embrace guard the words of your lips. For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies are the members of his own household.” (Micah 7:5-6 NIV)
“This is what the Lord says: Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.” (Jeremiah 17:5-6 NIV)
Ouch — harsh! If I put my faith in an earthly source, I will always be disappointed. Always.
When is trust good? (Return tomorrow for a more uplifting view of trust!)
Where have you placed your trust and how has your choice affected your life?