Many single Christians make the mistake of thinking they can separate their trust in God from their trust in their friends, family members and others in their social circles. But the truth is that our trust in God is affirmed by our ability and willingness to trust those we are supposedly close to. In essence, when we trust in others, we are demonstrating our trust in God to keep, protect and provide for us. That means we can leave that job to God while we focus our energies on helping others.
This essay is not about the level of trust or lack thereof for our “enemies" or for strangers. To the contrary, we are referring to those people with whom we are connected either by family ties, romantic affection or platonic friendships. As single Christians, we should not subscribe to the cliché of “keep our friends close, but keep our enemies closer. " No, in order to build truly positive relationships, we have to put into action our trust in God by learning to trust others so that our friends are much closer to us than are our enemies.
There are several factors that cause us to not have trust in each other. A major cause of this occurs when we see things only from the prism of our self-interests. This inward focus makes it easy to view the motives and actions of others as a threat. Our egos are good at tainting our perspectives with paranoia and this makes us less able to help others because we are too focused on helping and protecting ourselves. While Godly love is outward looking and self-sacrificing, our egos promote the elevation of our needs over others’ needs and the intense avoidance of discomfort or pain at all costs.
Lack of trust in God also leads us to not trust others. When we doubt God's capability and willingness to help and protect us, we take on that task of self-protection and self care. We become more diligent about keeping ourselves and more suspicious of the motives behind the actions of others. However we arrived at the conclusion that God cannot be trusted; we are determined that no one is going to get the best of us.
When we do not trust other people in our lives:
- Everything they do is examined for its impact on us. From the vantage point our self-interests, our mission in life is not to help other through their challenges. Rather, this point of view leads us to constantly embark on surveillance missions to detect threats to our interests. With this mindset, we are more likely to “seek and destroy" and “get them before they get me".
- We minimize others pain while also trying to elevate our own. We all know people who always seem intent on “proving" their struggle is worse than others’. They are good at saying, “You think that is bad, but let me tell you what I am going through. "
- We create our own version of events instead of believing what others say. So instead of believing that your friend is not romantically involved with the person of the opposite sex they were talking to after church, we are convinced they have something romantic and even *** going on. Our version of events has nothing do with the “real" truth and in most cases; we don't really care to know what the truth is.
- We do not reach out for help from others when we are struggling. Since we don't trust them, why would we seek their assistance or support? This denies others the chance of being a true friend.
- We take morbid pleasure in drawing others into our web of paranoia. It's bad enough that we don't trust others, but it is worse when we douse others with our suspicions and taint their view with our delusions of persecution.
The impact on our relationships when we do not trust each other is always negative. Lack of trust in others leads us to avoid healthy relationships instead of embracing them. Also, instead of helping others, we are more likely to make their challenging situations worse because we really don't believe their problems are that bad to begin with. Furthermore, instead of exhibiting the Godly love trait of forgiveness, we are determined to seek revenge. Our inward focus ends up pushing people away which reinforces in our minds that other people are against us. In short, when it comes to our desire for life-affirming relationships, no good things come from our lack of trust in each other.
Kevin Morgan is an author, entrepreneur and publisher. His publishing company, Sowjourn Publishers, markets books that uplift and inspire. To learn more about living a fulfilled life as a Christian single, visit http://www.sowjourn.com or his blog on singleness: http://mooskm.blogspot.com