Trust me, in other words, have faith in my ability to deliver on my promise. Can you really trust them? Is there any proof that they are capable of completing the task? Is there any reason to believe they are willing or committed to fulfilling their promise? Could they just be telling you what they think you want to hear in order to gain an advantage over you? The truth is it could be any one of the above or it could be that they are trustworthy, that their word is never broken. History points toward the answer. Other people’s experiences with this person will reveal the probability of them fulfilling their promise. In the end you will, at some point, have to choose whether or not you will take a chance.
The foundation of trust is based on a person’s record of reliability.
When an employer interviews a perspective candidate or a homeowner searches for a renovator they want references. They want to know what they have done in the past. They want to know if the person was reliable, skillful and completed tasks promptly and with expertise. Questions about work ethic, approach to common obstacles and everyday issues are asked to gain insight into the level of trust that can be placed in this individual. Saying, “Trust me” is not enough.
Establishing consistent past behaviour is not a fully reliable predictor of future behaviour.
The truth is, people change. We are both corruptible and redeemable. Even after establishing a long history of reliability, the possibility that an individual will become unreliable still exists. The opposite can also be true. After a long history of being unreliable a person could choose to become reliable from that point on. Saying, “Trust me” is not enough and history, although it has some merit, carries no guarantee. A person’s word may be their bond and their past behaviour an established trend useful in predicting future behaviour but who they are, the unchangeable traits that govern their thoughts and actions are the only true test of how trustworthy they will be.
There is only one unchangeable trait that governs our thoughts and actions.
We are sinners. Regardless of our level of maturity as followers of Christ, we all are influenced by our sin nature. I am comfortable saying that the longer my thought process and the resulting actions are rooted in my faith in Jesus Christ the more likely I am to choose a Godly approach to life. Still, this is not a guarantee. Life is a battle of surrender that is not complete until my final breath. My sin nature wants control of how I think and act but so does my saviour. I am both corruptible and redeemable. My past behaviour gives some insight into my future actions but it cannot predict if this time I will give my sin nature or my saviour control.
God has established consistent past behaviour.
The author of the book of Hebrews establishes the faithfulness of God throughout history in Hebrews 11. The promises of God always were completed. He has never been found to be a liar. He has never shown Himself to be untrustworthy. His word is His bond, His promises are not broken. If you were to ask for references every one would check out. Each one would testify to the fact that God is trustworthy because He has established consistent past behaviour. When God says, “Trust me” it is enough. Based on past history He always comes through.
Past behaviour reveals that God is trustworthy – current actions may not make Him appear that way.
We predict future behaviour based on past actions. It works well for the most part until we guess wrong. It doesn’t take much for us to move someone from the trustworthy category to the untrustworthy category. Think about it; how often have we been hurt because someone acted in a way that we did not expect. We trusted them to be the person we expected them to be based on the person we observed in the past. The action taken may or may not have been wrong and may or may not have been sinful, but it was not what we expected and therefore they cannot be trusted.
God cannot sin but He can act in a way we do not expect. We trust Him to be the God we expect Him to be based on what we have read, heard and observed in the past. If He acts in a way we do not expect we begin to doubt. We start moving God from the trustworthy category to the untrustworthy category. We decide how trustworthy God is based on whether or not His actions match our expectations.
In human relationships trust is established by what people do.
Character and actions are intertwined because imperfection and human existence cannot be separated. If an action is not what we expect or consider to be right, trust is lost. There are times that this does not work, times when we see what someone does and assume they are not trustworthy even when they are, but it is the only way we can function.
In our relationship with God trust should be established because of who He is.
Character and actions are intertwined because perfection and God cannot be separated. If an action is not what we expect or consider to be right, trust is lost. If God acts only in perfection and we are limited to our imperfection then at some point He will act in a way we do not expect or consider right. He will fail our expectations and we will no longer trust Him.
If we base our trust in God on what He does then to gain our trust He must do what we consider right. If we base our trust in God on who He is, His actions will never change our trust in Him.