Should We Trust People When They Betray Us?

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Trust is an unusual companion—it’s your buddy one minute and adversary the next. I’ll be sitting quietly on a porch swing admiring the picket fence with a puppy at my heels. Then someone blindsides me and betrays the confidence I had in them. That glorious feeling of contentment fades from view as my heart sinks and I’m on my knees once again.

We fill our mental scrapbooks with individuals who cause us pain. The nature of the offense doesn’t matter. Our guts feel the betrayal as soon as it hits, regardless of the severity. Christians tend to look at offenses from a different viewpoint because Jesus told Peter to forgive seventy times seven. In my life, our Savior’s forgiveness coefficient seems huge.

So, should we rely on people when someone knocks us off our feet? Did I mention the heartache involved on our way to the ground?

Put No Trust or Confidence in Man

Misplaced trust sets us up every time for a fall. As much as we want to believe that people won’t hurt us, it happens repeatedly. Jesus understood the heart of man and never placed faith in people, but He wasn’t suspicious either. If we’ve somehow missed Jesus’ counsel, here are scriptures to remind us of this truth.

Psalms 118:8 – [It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

Jeremiah 17:5 – Thus saith the LORD; Cursed [be] the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.

Psalms 118:9 – [It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

Galatians 6:3 – For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

Romans 13:8 – Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Isaiah 31:1 – Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because [they are] many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!

2 Timothy 3:13-17 – But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.   (Read More…)

Galatians 5:17 – For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.   (Read More…)

John 15:4 – Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

Do we see the scriptures hinting at the solution to avoid being hurt when we’ve trusted inappropriately?

Rethink Our Position on Trust

Many times we’ll try to figure out life based on “What Would Jesus Do.” In most cases, Jesus wouldn’t get into the mess in the first place, so end of story. Instead of wearing a WWJD bracelet as a reminder of our Lord’s perfection, we can meditate on the above scriptures to learn where to place trust. Our absolute confidence should be in God who made us. Aside from that, we’re skating on thin ice when depending on people rather than our creator. Certainly, there are dependable people in this world, but relying on them should be secondary to trusting God first. Trusting after a betrayal

As noted in Galatians 5:17 above,  our flesh tries to take over the spiritual part of our beings. We wage war against distrust by fighting flesh battles spiritually.  The secret to keeping our flesh in line is to stay connected to the vine—Jesus—at all times. That seemingly small discipline bolsters us spiritually, so offenses don’t penetrate our hearts. Additionally, the only thing we owe anyone is to love them.

Learn From Betrayals That Put a Damper on Trust

Once we’re betrayed, there’s a slow road back to relearning where to place our faith. It’s natural and nourishing to confide in a friend, spouse, or relative to help face life when it goes sideways. When we’re fractured by distrust, we must learn from the betrayal to have healthy relationships. Developing compassion for flawed people breaks the power of suspicion that arrives on the scene after a betrayal.

Once we make up our minds to feel compassion for the misgivings of others, we give distrust a boot. We don’t want cynicism of others to lodge in our hearts where it grows into bitterness or hatred.

Three Takeaways About Trust

  • As we’ve seen, scripture is clear—don’t put your trust in people, ever. That’s the answer to the title of this message.
  • Keep a mental history of betrayals merely to learn from them, not to keep a scorecard. Train yourself how to respond rather than react to disloyal confrontations.
  • Create a game plan, in advance of betrayal, so recovery is quicker.

Disloyalties can take their toll on our lives when we stray away from our primary source of trust. God is entirely trustworthy and faithful. He is the one we should run to first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and at night. By doing so, we place our trust securely in the hands of a loving Father, instead of people. Are you ready to extend love to others with open arms without feeling a hint of skepticism?

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Betsy writes for JESUS because of "Everyday Life with HIM" without pew-warming stuffiness or religious garble. She's an encourager at heart with a mission to draw others to Christ.