It wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that I have trust issues. I walk with my keys gripped in my fist late at night, I diligently cover my pin at cash points, and I lose hours of sleep to running worst case scenarios for even the most innocent of interactions. It’s not that I assume all strangers are bad, it’s more that I don’t know that they are not, and I’d rather be safe than sorry. I doubt that I’m alone.
The problem is, while sensible precautions are all well and good, this constant suspicion is exhausting, and it doesn’t feel very christlike. Especially not when I remember that Jesus shared his last meal with a man he knew was about to deliver him to his death. I’m sure he didn’t trust Judas, but neither did he hold him at arm’s length.
Sometimes circumstance will leave us vulnerable to being hurt, but if we spend our lives anticipating that hurt, we suffer from it whether it ever really happens or not, and it threatens to colour the way we way perceive and relate to those we should be treating as fellow bearers of the image of God.
I turned to the Bible for help this morning…and found myself sorely disappointed. Google ‘bible verses trusting others’ and you are rewarded with verse after verse declaring that to be a really bad idea. It seems many of the biblical authors also erred on the side of pessimism, although I can hardly blame David for being a bit grumpy about people when he was hiding in a cave because his old mentor was trying to kill him.
There is some good news though, because these verses about not trusting others are often accompanied by a call to trust God, and therein lies our hope. We cannot know that others will not betray or us or let us down, but we can hold on to the promise that God will not, and that can ground us enough to ease our anxiety and allow us to greet others with love not fear.
And so I leave you with some verses which I suspect will be familiar, but which we need to hear again and again, until they become the pattern of our thoughts.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)