Trust is one of the most underrated character features, despite being the one that most people demand in others and the one that makes human societies thrive.
It’s not money that creates wealth in a society; it’s people trusting each other, and based on that trust, living and working together in good faith towards each other’s mutual benefit.
Without trust, there is no basis for a relationship, and without firmly based relationships, society falls apart.
I trust God and I trust Jesus, but I don’t really trust anyone else. When I say “trust”, I mean I trust them to keep their promises, I trust them not to trash-talk me behind my back, and I trust them not to do something that’s purposely to my detriment. I can’t say that about anyone else I know, which is a sad commentary perhaps more on me and the people I attract into my life than on humanity in general.
But why are so many humans so untrustworthy? Why do they betray each other?
God went out of his way to let us know that he would never leave us or betray us. He went out of his way to let us know that we can trust him. He commanded us to love him, but he went out of his way to let us know that we can trust him. He made it personal. He didn’t command us to trust him, but he made sure that we knew we could.
This is a very great gift and privilege to know we can trust God. If I had been alive 2000 years ago, trailing behind Jesus, I’m sure I would have trusted him, too, even before his resurrection. I would have known I could trust him because nothing he said or did was contradictory. He didn’t gossip or belittle people; he didn’t argue for the sake of arguing or twist words just to come out on top; and if he had a beef against someone, he told them outright – he wasn’t sweet to their face while trash-talking them behind their back. He showed, in his words and actions, a strength of character that was trustworthy to the core. How sad that someone so unconditionally trustworthy could be so betrayed by those closest to him.
We can’t know what goes on in people’s minds. We can ask them questions or hook them up to a machine and try to interpret their brain waves, but knowing for sure what they think about this or that or about this person or that person or whether or not they’re lying is beyond us.
But Jesus knew. By the power of God’s Holy Spirit, Jesus knew what people were thinking and what was in their hearts. And because he knew, he entrusted himself to no-one but God.
Think about that for a second – because Jesus could read people’s hearts and minds, he trusted no-one but God.
Maybe my experience of humans is not so far off the mark.
Even so, God wants us to trust people at least enough to do business with them, to use their services, to exchange pleasantries with them, and to live and move among them during the rest of our time on Earth. He doesn’t want his children to cloister themselves away, other than for occasional retreats. He wants them to serve even the untrustworthy.
Jesus was the prime example of how to serve. No cloistering, other than for the occasional retreat, though he still kept his thoughts mostly to himself. About the Kingdom, he was generous to a fault in sharing. He gave far more information about it than even most of us now are able to bear. But he didn’t wear his heart on his sleeve. And he didn’t reveal a lot of what God told him, because he knew it would be misunderstood and misapplied.
We can always – without exception – trust God and Jesus. As for everyone else, I’d recommend committing to serve them, but otherwise playing your personal cards close to your chest, like Jesus did.