Trusting can be so difficult for us.
Our life experiences oppose trust.
The reasons are many. They echo off the walls of pastors and counselors’ offices. They fill the pages of books and journals and they are the subject of conversations over coffee between close friends.
Inside of us there are mixed messages about whether or not we should trust. The messages come from training and teaching about so many people or things we should not risk trusting. They also come from disappointments and betrayals that cause us to question whether anyone or anything is trustworthy.
It is very difficult to feel safe when we cannot trust.
At present, we live in a world where we feel increasingly unsafe. Terror lurks around the corner haunting our steps. Deceit and untruthfulness are common coins of the realm. Failed promises and guarantees leave us filled with doubt.
One of perhaps the hardest things is how often those we have deemed trustworthy turn out to not be. It happens with spouses, parents, bosses, companies, organizations, governmental officials, and even pastors.
As these things, these experiences, stack up, our mistrust grows as does our doubt and uncertainty. Gradually we find it difficult to trust even those we want to trust or those we need to trust.
Even defining what trust is becomes foggy and blurred.
Trust is defined as the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
As I was reading in Romans 10, I saw Paul shares some significant truth about what gets in the way of trust.
“But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted?” Romans 10:14 The Message
Clearly in the context of this verse, Paul is talking about the importance of hearing the gospel and the value of being sent to preach it. Otherwise the conflicting messages disguised as truth could result in distrust.
The key to the issue of trust begins with listening and more specifically, what we are listening to.
You see, the root word for listen and obey come from the same root word. In Latin, obey would not exist without listen.
Our heart and our thoughts tend to follow what we hear or what we are listening to. Most of us would recognize we hear a lot of “junk food” for the mind, heart, and spirit. Over time, it becomes background noise, “elevator music”, but it seeps into us and can slowly erode the truth that should be guiding us.
How can we learn to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ if what we are listening to is cluttered with static from ingesting things that are like “junk food”?
We can often say that we aren’t really listening and that might be true is we were given a quiz on the content of what we hear. The problem comes from the reality that what we hear is going through that sensory organ into our brain. Our brains can process something threatening in less than a second. Even if we cannot recollect the words or the lyrics or the music exactly, it’s all in there and potentially impacting us.
Is it any wonder that we find trust increasingly difficult?
If I am going to learn perceptive trust that helps me wisely discern what I am listening to, I need to choose a nourishing diet of truth daily that can sustain me when doubt assails me, when my world falls apart, and when I don’t know which way to turn.
It means I need to silence the voices within that have picked up lies and distortions that can play unendingly without action on our part.
We all have a tendency of replaying old tapes and these very tapes can keep us mired down and isolated from healthy relationships with others and also with God.
Listening to truth will then be what influences what I believe and act upon. It will lead me to trust wisely.
According to Adam McHugh, “A Lord who speaks truth to me is good and right; a Lord who listens to me is grace and mystery and glory.”
That is the key to building or rebuilding trust…listening to the One who is Truth.