Updated: Jul 4, 2020
Trusting is easy when we are not faced with the weight of other people’s sin. When I was younger, trust came naturally. I trusted my parents. I trusted my friends. It wasn’t something that I had to think twice about. When I got a little older, I stopped trusting my dad and I stopped trusting God.
Recently, I have decided that I don’t have any reason not to trust God. My lack of trust was simply a result of the way that I projected my pain and fears onto God. Not as a result of anything God had done to me that justified my lack of trust in him. I know God loves me, I know God’s heart for me is BIG, He is the Perfect Father. So how do we learn to trust again when we have been hurt? When we first meet people, do they essentially have a blank slate and are we free to trust until they mess-up?
I sat through a really challenging sermon on forgiveness. My biggest take-away from the sermon was that forgiveness involves giving the perpetrator permission to hurt you again. Not in a naïve or irresponsible way that puts you in harm’s way countless times. Rather, in a way that says that I am loving you like you never hurt me in the first place.
When we shut down, refuse to engage, remind the perpetrator of their shortcomings or threaten them in order to deter them from making any more mistakes, we haven’t forgiven as Christ forgave us. We are loving conditionally, which isn’t really love at all.
Love celebrates the person who has done wrong, it offers a ring and a robe to the person even while they are far off, just like the father and the prodigal son. Just like Jesus and us. Forgiving means trusting when we have been hurt. Love trusts. Trust lies within the foundation of every loving relationship.
A lack of trust destroys the ability to be vulnerable. So I wonder, do we trust others then open up because we think it’s safe to or do we open up (irrespective of the consequences). Learn whether the person can be trusted and decide on how we move on from there? It is a little like the chicken and the egg story.
Trust is earned but at the same time, we need to be trusted with something in order for us to prove ourselves to be trustworthy… I don’t know the answer. All I know is that I’m so glad that I am loved by a God who doesn’t need me to prove anything before I can acknowledge the fact that I need Him desperately.
The call to love and forgive as Jesus did is an extremely high calling. Only the Holy Spirit can train us to be Christ-like in this way. I need to learn to love and forgive in this way.
By Mukuka Mapemba