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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Trust - Lesson 2

"I accept what you are saying about trust, but I still don't understand why it's so important to humans to have trust. Why can't we just get over it and go on?"

When my youngest son Ken was about 4-years-old he started a very bad habit. Jamie was four years older, faster and had much cooler toys. Jamie was already getting into artistic projects and he had a lot of cool paints, chalks, brushes, etc. Jamie seemed to have a high tolerance for pain while Ken had developed some illnesses. Ken figured out that if he stretched the truth or even lied about a situation that he could get what he wanted. So for a few months we were faced with the following:

"Ken, I saw you in the closet. I know you had my stuff!"

"No I didn't."

Later we would find something broken and under his bed. "Kenneth!"

We didn't want to accuse him of lying but the evidence was strong. As parents we worried about insisting that he was wrong when he so adamantly assured us he was innocent. One of the worst things that can happen to any child is to be accused and blamed when you are truly innocent.

I tried several different ways of stressing honesty. Finally, the situation had escalated to the point to where no one believed anything he had to say. At age six I took him to the living room couch for a discussion.

I explained that we really didn't know for sure what was going on. I lingered on his accomplishments and accentuated how proud we were of all the good things in his life. Then I explained that everyone developed reputations. I talked about different people he knew and how they impressed him. One little girl had been a pest. For him at age 6 I asked the horrible question "How would you like to grow up and marry her?"

After a few ooooo's and oh yucks he shook his head with a "NO Way!"

"But why not? She's a beautiful little girl. And maybe by the time she's 18 she won't be that way any more."

Ken gave me a "yeah right" look and stated flatly, "Mom, she will always be that way. You just don't know her like I do."

After a few more examples, I broke into that little six-year-old heart. "Someday you are going to be old enough to drive. You are going to come to your Dad and ask to borrow the car. Your Dad isn't going to want to let just anyone drive his nice new car. There will be rules..."

Ken broke in..."I won't mind. I'll obey all the rules."

I smiled, "But by that time Ken, how can Dad trust you? If he says he doesn't want you to go over the speed limit and you agree not to; how can he truly be sure that you are telling him the truth. After all, if you misrepresent the truth about Jamie's paints, why wouldn't you misrepresent the truth about Dad's car. If I know your Dad, he probably will say no way - just because he won't trust you. Is that what you want?"

I still remember the look on Ken's face. I could see the wheels turning in his brain as he weighed the consequences. Finally he looked down at his hands and then back up at me. "I promise you Mom, anything I say from now on will be the truth no matter how much it hurts me."

"That's great Ken, but you have to understand this won't be easy. Jamie and Amie have lost trust in you and it will take them a long time to see you as Mr. Truthful. If you have any trouble with that, come to me and we will work out a solution."

I'm happy to say that from that moment on not only was Ken Mr. Truthful, but he became the truth police. Any embellishment for the sake of a joke or to make a story more dramatic and we heard the whistle of the truth police - "That's not really how it was, Mom. He wasn't crying, he just had one little tear."

Today, I would believe Ken over anyone I know. If he says it - It's gospel truth!

Trust goes deep into every part of our lives. I could give you examples all day long.

When a wife tells her husband she loves him more than anything, but can't seem to remember to pick up his laundry or give him 15 minutes of quiet coffee time in the morning - does she? Wouldn't you think that her love would go deep enough to put at least a few of his needs ahead of hers. Shouldn't he be able to Trust her to take care of him? And of course...vice versa!

The biggest reason I'm totally against premarital sex is because of hidden mistrust. What does it say to your fiance about your ability to be true to them if you have already had multiple partners. Whether or not it's a sin isn't as important as the loss of trust.

If a man or woman is so weak that they can't control their glands at 20 so that they can be true to a yet unknown can they be trusted to be faithful once they know the spouse and their faults? Wouldn't it stand to reason that if they are displeased that they would be prone to move on?

Now don't get me wrong and don't go mistrusting your spouse. There are many men and women that are happily married and never stray. God has entered their lives and they have started anew. That's wonderful! Praise God!

But I submit that many marriages end or are stumbling on shaky ground because both partners mistrust the faithfulness of their spouse based on pre-marriage actions.

Trust even goes into our churches.

I know many people who are leaving churches they have attended for years. Why? They trusted the pastor and other members to be there when they needed help and were disappointed when they were forgotten. Breech of Trust just can't be tolerated. We expect those who love us to be trustworthy. When they aren't, we are devastated.

Luke 16:10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."

As part of our social culture - well, any social culture here on earth - we constantly judge. (I'll save the judging lesson for another time) I don't want to argue the biblical point of judging other than to say that you should read the entire chapter on judging before quoting the verse "Judge not that you be not judged." What that scripture is actually saying is that we will be judged with or without mercy according to how we judge others.

The human fact is that we judge every day. We make decisions based on how we feel about those around us. Do I trust this doctor? That's a judgement based on his mannerisms or his credentials. Do I trust this pastor? Again a judgement.

When we meet someone new, we instantly make a judgement based on his appearance, his voice, his speech, his eyes. We decide within moments whether or not we want to continue the relationship.

Can you imagine a world where we didn't judge? Or where our ability to trust was eliminated? No one would be afraid of anyone else - but NO ONE COULD BE TRUSTED EITHER. Can you imagine the chaos that would bring?

Making proper judgements about people, situations and things is one of the most important talents we can develop. We better find out how to do it correctly. To help others judge us properly, we need to develop our character and reputation so others will perceive us as we want to be known. In other words, if you are living a lie - you deserve every bad thing that happens to you.

I love the old statement - "My word is my bond." That's a huge statement about Trust. It means that I can be trusted to follow through regardless of the personal pain it will cause. We need more trustworthy people in this world.

God can be trusted and as he followers we should be too. But how? Tune in tomorrow and I'll give you a list about being a trustworthy person.

And now a message from our sponsor : 1 Timothy 1:15-16

"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners -- of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life."

God loves you,


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