Choosing to Trust

I’ve been thinking about trust lately. It has been said that trust must be earned, and that once lost it is hard to regain. But it occurs to me that trust is a choice, and that sometimes we must choose to trust even when it isn’t earned.

I decided to check The Quotable Lewis to see what C.S. Lewis had to say on the subject of trust and I found this little gem:

To love involves trusting the beloved beyond the evidence, even against much evidence. No man is our friend who believes in our good intentions only when they are proved. No man is our friend who will not be very slow to accept evidence against them. Such confidence, between one man and another, is in fact almost universally praised as a moral beauty, nor blamed as a logical error. And the suspicious man is blamed for a meanness of character, not admired for the excellence of his logic.
C.S. Lewis, The World’s Last Night, “On Obstinacy in Belief” (1955), p. 26.

It seems that Lewis agrees with my thought that trust is a choice. (I always love it when I discover that Lewis and I agree on something.)

We choose to trust God in spite of the lack of absolute proof that He exists and is on our side. In the face of tragedy and the existence of evil in this world, we choose to trust God to have our greater good as His chief aim. We choose to trust “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV). We trust God because we believe that He is inherently trustworthy.

But to live we must trust others as well. There would be no basis for a civilized society without some degree of trust. Such trust can be difficult because experience and scripture often tell us that humans are inherently untrustworthy. The prophet Jeremiah observed that, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV).

In spite of evidence of untrustworthiness all around us, we must trust someone. So we also choose to trust our spouse, our family, and our close friends; we choose to trust those we love, because as Lewis says, “love involves trusting.” Sometimes we encounter evidence that suggests even our closest beloved family and friends are untrustworthy—not surprising, since they are human. It is then that we face the real choice: to continue to trust or to give up on love.

It occurs to me that this is the point at which we must really examine the situation with a critical eye—not critical of others, but critical of our own hearts. If we can honestly say that we have always been trustworthy ourselves, perhaps we can justifiably decide to give up on love and choose to no longer trust. But I suspect that none of us can honestly reach that conclusion. To do so in and of itself is evidence of our own untrustworthiness. As the apostle John wrote, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8 (NIV). If we think we are inherently more trustworthy than our loved ones, we deceive ourselves.

One thing we can be sure of, though, is that we do not deceive God for He alone fully knows our untrustworthiness. “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b (NIV).

This day you and I must choose. Will we trust God, who is unequaled in His trustworthiness? If we do, then we are free to choose to also trust our loved ones because we know that God is in control and will bless our choice with His grace and love.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


5 Responses

  1. I have a have been thinking some more. I have a hard time with words that are sometimes nouns and sometimes verbs. In the psalms it is used as a verb a lot. Then again there was the man that said he had belief, but needed help with his unbelief, and belief and trust can be so similar.

    Either way, I really need to work in the trust department. I am so thankful the Lord is leading you to blog again. It is such a big ministry to people like me.

    • Theresa, I agree those concepts that are both noun and verb are challenging. Trust is one of those concepts. I don’t struggle so much to trust when it comes to God – even when things don’t seem to be going the way I’d like – I think because trust in God (as a noun) is His great gift. It is trusting other people that I find more difficult, and yet necessary. I’m glad that you are blessed by my blogging. 🙂 I don’t know if I always get it right, but my goal is always to glorify God with what I write. Peace, Linda

  2. Wonderful thoughts about trust, Linda! I have a family member who is dear and much loved, but has a tendency to not trust anyone. I know where he is coming from .. there is a lot of deceit going on in the world today . ..but it’s crazy making to not trust others, even strangers at times! I love what Theresa said too, that trust is a gift from God. Thank you and God bless you!

  3. I am so glad that you wrote on this subject. There are times when we choose to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to others by accepting their help and also by assisting them when they need help. Sometimes we take that chance because we have a measure of confidence in them, sometimes a measure of confidence in both them and in God, and yet at other times (especially when it comes to strangers and to people we do not know well) because we have a measure of confidence in God alone. I believe our actions reveal whether or not we possess trust. I think trust is very similar to belief…works will follow, but trust, like belief, in its most basic form is a gift of God.

    “8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
    Ephesians 2:8-9

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