trust is earned, not demanded

"Trust Me" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Trust Me” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

(For the sake of my peace of mind and to respect my wife and family during my vacation, I’m going to stop comments on my blog posts until I return on the 18th of July. Feel free to email me and I will try to respond but it probably won’t be until after my vacation. Thanks!)

If you don’t trust someone, you don’t trust someone. You can’t make yourself trust someone. Especially if that someone has hurt you seriously or often.

Hurt happens. Lisa and I, though we are very much in love and have held our marriage together for 35 years, have occasionally hurt one another. These moments can erode trust. Then we have to build it up again. It’s like doing something hurtful is a withdrawal and doing something good is a deposit. Once the withdrawals put you into overdraft, it’s very difficult to regain trust again. It can be done.

But there’s a deeper kind of trust. I was always challenged by that small sentence in the “love chapter”, 1 Corinthians 13, that says “Love always trusts.” So I always felt bad when I didn’t trust someone, especially a spiritual authority figure, and I’d go against my instinct and entrust them with myself, only to have that trust violated again. Then I realized that it was only fair to me and the other person to trust them at the level they can be trusted. For example, I would never trust a toddler to drive my car. He isn’t capable of handling that level of trust. It would be beyond him. It’s fair to him, to me, to my car, to pedestrians and other motorists to not trust him with my car. I can trust him with a toy truck, but not my car.

So when someone asks you to trust them, you have to discern if they can be trusted at that level. Can this spiritual authority be entrusted with me? Can I be vulnerable with this person? Can I trust them not to hurt me? Can I trust them with my life?

What sometimes shocks us about spiritual authority is that they are sometimes great. Maybe even most the time great. But every once in a while they really hurt people. It’s not like they spiritual or sexually abuse people every hour of every day. But if you can detect a tendency, then get out!

Are you a survivor? Join us at The Lasting Supper! I will personally welcome you and introduce you to the others.


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6 Responses

  1. Ducatihero says:

    Lol don’t we all know that phrase “trust me” as in “come into my parlour” said the spider to the fly.

    Yes even the best of us hurt and are hurtful at times hence love that always trusts can’t be about human love but something else. So the love “always trusts” in the NIV appears as “never loses faith” in the NLT, “believes all things” RSV/NASB “believe all things” KJV. So when it comes to trusting, believing and having faith it can only healthy happen in perfect love. Try as we might, we will never love perfectly.

    I like what you say about doing hurt eroding trust and doing good building trust. At the same time. sometimes the wound of a friend is one to be trusted so sometimes doing good means hurt is involved. In an established friendship I have experienced such where trust has been built up and even strengthened when enduring such difficulty.

    So feelings aren’t always to be trusted.

    I like the illustration with the toddler and the toy truck / car. So yes we see elsewhere in scripture, talk of the heart being precious and needing to keep it guarded. I wonder about this thing with vulnerability therefore. It used to be the case with spiritual authority (as with any other authority / relationship or friendship) I would trust unless someone showed that they can’t be trusted. Nowadays I am more inclined to require someone to show me that they can be trusted before I will trust them.

    However, connection belonging and love have been some of the best experiences I have had and I know that can’t happen without vulnerability, which takes risk. So for me it’s a judgement call and discernment being partly about risk management. respecting anyone else’s freedom to choose how much vulnerability or protection they have of their heart with me as well.

    I doubt I will ever have it all figured out but hopefully I am better at letting love in and being loving as time goes on and knowing when to have healthy guarding 🙂

  2. It is one thing to argue against my ideas. That’s what I have done when critiquing other people on their posts. I have never intended to trash them or destroy their work. But if comments intend to trash me or TLS in my space, I will delete them. You can trash me and TLS in your own space, but not mine. You have your own platforms to say whatever you want about me and TLS. I have no control over that. But I have control over my own house.

  3. I have never deleted comments. That’s only partially true. If someone trashes someone else and speaks lies and intends to “come after them” and take them down as well as their works, then I have to seriously consider deleting their comments. But if someone comes into my space and trashes me and TLS then I will probably eventually have to delete their comments and block them. Why invite someone into my home to trash me and my work in front of my family and friends? Why give them my audience to express their intentions to take me down and destroy my work and community? They can do that on their own sites. I don’t think I will let them do that on mine.

  4. Reuben: I don’t want to fight with you. I’m not a fighter. But if you continue to “come after me” as you’ve threatened to do, I will have to block you just for my personal peace of mind and to save my readers from the turmoil.

  5. Just because I delete something it isn’t because I want to squash the truth. It could just be that I don’t accept lies and abuse from people. They can do that in their own space, not mine. Pay to set up your own blog to “take me down” and “come after me”. I will not and can not argue against that.

    Like a friend of mine just wrote me:

    “They can say that your silencing them all they want. Let them pay for their own website to do so, not use yours to do so. Freedom of speech means they can say what they want, but it doesn’t mean everyone has to listen to them or that everyone has to allow them to use their server to host their hate speech. If they want to say crap on the net, they can buy and pay for their own server. Your server is like your home. People can say whatever they want outside your home, but you’re not obligated or required to let them come into your home that you pay for and say shit about you.”

    If this continues in my space I will delete and block.

  6. Ducatihero says:

    Wow it got heated here all of a sudden.

    Looking back at the posts for 15th March 2015, it was a time that I was not without concern over what was happening here, namely with someone who talked of surviving abuse, suffering PTSD and how her sharing was responded to summed up by:

    March 16, 2015 at 12:30 am
    … people speaking up for abuse survivors are great. But those people also really do need to know when to sit down and listen.

    It can’t be easy in a forum like TLS to balance what is perceived freedom of expression for some and abuse for others and no leader is perfect. If someone doesn’t feel safe then is that the environment or is that something to do with the individual? When emotions are running high, this can be very difficult to determine.

    I am not without concerns for what happens here but TLS is David’s livelihood and right or wrong with what happens there, it is unbecoming to come on this blog and do what is threatening to someone’s income without giving evidence of any alleged hypocrisy or lack of safety for survivors.

    If lies are spoken and attempts being made to take someone down and destroy their work for no valid reason then it’s only right that this be addressed. On the other hand David has been known to confess publicly here of an awareness of inadvertently contributing to the cycle of abuse. This must surely be worthy of respect whilst holding David to the same standards that he holds others to.

    I understand the passions that arise over these kind of issues, however at the risk of yet again being accused of supporting abuse, can I share that I have known the healing of practicing forgiveness. It’s great to take direct action and address wrongs but as David shared, even in the most loving of relationships hurt occurs.

    Surely forgiveness and practicing genteelness must be a prerequisite to any healing form abuses? Hate doesn’t drive out fear, only love does that?