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Trust...essential to relationship

What is the key to any relationship?


What is the key to trust?

Knowing (believing) the party you are engaging truly has your best interest in mind i.e. they Love *you.

As someone proves genuine care by their words and actions and they are not engaging you simply to get or take something from you, your trust grows. If someone over time demonstrates they are using you, your trust wanes and your caution grows.

Some would argue love is the key to any relationship. And this would be true if we weren't so deeply broken and distrusting. Love binds a relationship together but love is not received until we trust the one who offers it. To say it another way, we don't "buy in" to someones kind gestures and overtures of care if we don't trust they are genuine i.e. that their kindness is really kindness and not a "trap" to allure us into a relationship in order to **use us.

The problem is you can love someone with everything in you but if the one you love does not trust you (i.e. they think you are trying to use them to get something from them instead of give something to them) your love will not "land" i.e. be accepted.

To illustrate we are told God so loved the world he gave his only Son, yet not everyone who has been told this is clamoring to pursue or receive God's offer. In fact most do not accept this offer of love even after it is extended and explained. Why? They don't trust the one making the offer or believe it is true. They are suspicious of God, who's making the offer. They don't believe his claims about himself and about themselves. They somehow are convinced God does not have their best interest at heart even in light of this most significant and wonderful evidence.

As an illustration, we likely know of or heard of foster kids being assimilated into a family and how the foster parents hearts often break trying to convince the child he/she is loved. Why? Because the child brushes off those attempts and will even act out to see if these "parents" will still love them in all their ugliness i.e. do the new parents really love them or do they simply feel sorry for them or want the child to meet some need in themselves? 

Why is this? They are "jaded" as they say. After being jerked around emotionally by opening themselves up to being loved by other so called parents, only to have it taken away, they choose not to open themselves up to the hurt of losing love all over again.

By God's grace, you can control how you treat others i.e. treat them in a loving vs an unloving way. You can not however control whether they will receive your love. Only God can open their hearts to receive love. Our loving others my be the means, but when all is said and done, God must open their hearts and eyes to see the love that is there i.e. his love coming through us to them.

Loving someone is what we are called to do. Being used by someone is not. We may choose to let someone "use us" for a time so we might win them to Christ, but that is a separate topic. 

Love without trust?

Can you love someone without trusting them? Yes. You can sincerely want what's best for someone ***you have no trust in. 

This is where we get confused. We think, how can I forgive someone who is not trustworthy. You can forgive them because you truly care about them. But that does not mean you trust them or should entrust yourself to them. Love should be a given, trust is earned.

This is also true of our relationship with God on both sides. 

As we come to believe God always and only wants what's best for us, our trust grows.

When God sees we genuinely love him for who he is and not just using him to get something else, he trusts us more and entrusts us with more of his blessings, knowing we will use what he gives to love others thereby honoring him.

*self interest in not the same as selfishness. If you look at every promise of scripture, what is the appeal? These are promises made to you i.e. self. In fact self interest is assumed when we are told to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Note it is not condemned but merely appealed to as the standard by which we treat others. 

The issue isn't whether it's valid to care about ourselves but how is self best cared for. It is not best cared for by self (which is selfishness) but by God. For us to focus on self caring is bondage simply because we can never truly provide for ourselves that which we most need...infinite and eternal love and care. To focus on God, is freedom because only he alone can. 

**If each party is seeking the best of the other, they both will benefit. The key is what drives that action by which the other benefits. 

To be clear, few relationships are based solely on each party only seeking to give something and not get something. Few (if any) of us are that grounded in our walk with God (and thereby full of his love) so that he is our primary source for love instead of our spouse (or other significant relationship)

We get into relationships because we get something out of them. But that is not the same as getting into a relationship to take or demand something from the other. All relationships result in both benefiting or they wouldn't exist. This however isn't the issue. The issue is why do people primarily seek relationship, to get or to give.

I would guess many relationships start out more with an eye on getting more than giving. But as each person matures it shifts in time to giving more than getting (at least by one party), otherwise it would not likely last.

Any healthy relationship is reciprocal. However there is a difference between giving and receiving love and giving to get love. Receiving love is vital in any relationship but it is different than engaging in relationship for the purpose of getting or taking. 

A key indicator of that difference is gratitude. One expressing gratitude for the other partner is because they recognize their kindness was a gesture of giving/loving, not taking. 

A key indicator someone is primarily about getting or taking is anger. Getting angry when one does not get what they want or the other doesn't give them what they demand is indication the relationship is not based on love but on what they can get.

To say it simply a truly loving relationship (on both sides) is based on what you give, not what you get. In this kind of relationship both are still getting but as the fruit of a loving relationship, not the goal. 

***You can also love someone who does not trust you, but until there is trust, it will not land. Loving them over time however can build the trust needed for it to finally break through.

This post first appeared on Thoughts About God, please read the originial post: here

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Trust...essential to relationship


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