By Jimmy McCarty
Humankind was created to trust. As Adam rose from his dusty mold and looked into the eyes of the God who had just breathed life into a pile of dirt, an immediate co-existence was established. God did not agnostically energize His creation only to leave it. He gave form to that which had the capability to commune with Him. God then placed Himself in emotional vulnerability by giving this creation the will to accept or reject the perfect communion that He had created.
One has to think that in this process, some part of God’s mind considered this foolishness – for the communion was perfect, a better model was impossible.
But, as all relationships eventually discover, sometimes the perfect is questioned. Any number of reasons, justifications, rebellions or otherwise can lead to a violation of communion.
Trust puts something of oneself at the mercy of another and must hope that it is loved as if it were just another part of one’s own being.
The inevitable testing of trust leads to a series of lessons learned, of sensitivities weighed for intensity, of trustworthiness at its very core.
Even as infants learn who and what bodies are inherently trustworthy. No one escapes the harsh reality of broken trust, though some experience it to a much more terrifying extreme than others.
Broken trust hurts. It is a pain that touches who we are and tells us, against our nature, that trust is bad. So we opt to censor our trust. Where Adam and God lived in perfect trust and communion, we, in our fallen world, must not live as eternal skeptics – constantly testing and revoking our trust as we journey through life. We so fear the hurt, the violation that some stop trying altogether.
As this carnality is reached, even God becomes perceived as untrustworthy and in our pain we run from the single redemptive source that is safe and truly trustworthy. Thus, we learn to cope. We learn that self-sufficiency can be lonely at times but nothing so painful as the hurt of our past. Since we now expect all to be untrustworthy the breeches that come surprise us no longer.
However, at some point the petition for trust is made. Cynically we scoff the offer, agree to insignificant levels or escape altogether. Yet, the nature of who we are blinks back a tear and whispers that maybe, just maybe, this time might work.
The defenses of our heart and mind might be too well constructed to even entertain such a notion – but that little whisper is enough to be heard. Though we decline or charade our way through the petition for trust – we still know of the steel doors and locks guarding the gushing open wound of our past.
What does one more chance cost us?
What does the risk of pain mean and can we risk it again?
Honestly? Sometimes “I’m sorry” just isn’t enough. Sometimes promises just feel like words. Sometimes everything we hear sounds like a manipulation into a set up of everything we fear is going to happen. Trust has to be earned. It is under no obligation of timetable and often under no grace for error. The sad truth is: you want my trust? Prove it. Too many of us hinge all relationships on this question because we’ve learned to make it, to survive.
1 Corinthians 13 says, “love always trusts.” We want to trust, we want to love – in fact, it’s what we created to do.
Jimmy McCarty received a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Florida and a Master’s in Theological Studies from Bethel Theological Seminary. He is a native Floridian and is currently traveling the globe participating in overseas missions. He is an avid student of leadership and missions and hopes to incorporate both into his future. You can follow his journey here.