Monday, August 11, 2014

I Dare Not Trust

My husband just confronted me about something I said to my children recently.  And for the record, this hardly ever happens, his correcting me or having issue with something I've said or done, that is.  In fact, I've worried before that he was secretly harboring all kinds of ill will and complaints against me and not telling me about them in the name of patience and as an act of grace.  He assures me this is not the case, and I have come to believe him, mostly due to his undying optimism and his tirelessly giving every person he knows the benefit of the doubt, and this long after my own suspicions about a situation or person seem confirmed. Anyway, he's an ultra-positive-believer-in-people who reserves confrontation for what he deems the severest of cases and always for the sake of the other person, so when he's concerned, I know to take it seriously.

What he heard me say to my teenagers was "There is no one you can trust."  And yes, that statement is something to be concerned about. What I think I actually said was "There are very few people you can trust." Either way, I needed to hear his concern and gentle redirection.

The interesting thing is that while I was out running this morning, and before the expressed concern, the words to the hymn "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less," kept coming to mind, especially these first lines...

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness 
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name

I've always wondered exactly what "sweetest frame" meant, and while I now understand that the phrase probably intends something along the lines of "frame of mind" or "emotional frame" and the fleeting nature of those things, I think it can also apply to people.  People have frames, too ~ sweet, or slight, or heavy, or kind, or stubborn frames.  And Scripture certainly warns that people are insufficient sources of validation, of salvation, of love, of loyalty, of anything really.  I was reminded of this recently while reading Psalm 60...

O give us help against the adversary, for deliverance by man is vain.
Through God we shall do valiantly, and it is He who will tread down our enemies. v. 11-12

Yes, deliverance by man and dependance on man is indeed vain, and though I am the slower-to-trust-one in our marriage, I am also the one quicker-to-bear-my-soul to an assumed friend.  I long to relate, to share deeply and intimately, to know and be known by people. I keep no secrets and I assume that those I've discerned to be kindred spirits in Christ don't either. (How naive!) I'm ready to defend and to celebrate those I love, those who've come close in friendship.  (How silly!) Without intending any sort of boasting, I am fiercely loyal (the personality tests and my own experiences confirm it) but this loyalty has backfired on me so many times, and it's partly due to my own sin, because loyalty is easily motivated by "fear of man." So, I know for sure that some of my faithfulness to others is God's good work in me, but some of it is more like this...

...for they loved the approval of men, rather than the approval of God. John 12:43

When I spoke the words about not trusting people to my children recently, it was in reaction to my own feelings of betrayal, and honestly, the betrayals, the rejections, and the inherent questioning of my character feel like they've been stacking up. It hurts deeply at first, but then I just feel foolish, incredulous that I have put myself in this position yet again.  Trusting others, entrusting others with information and vulnerability, serving others, sacrificing for others ~ others who will eventually distance themselves from me in word or deed in spite of the closeness between us that I assumed.

And yes, my grandmother taught me early on what "assuming" makes of "u" and "me."  (I've used the dangerous word "assume" a lot in this post.) So yes, I must be a stupid donkey, because I have fallen foolishly prey to assumed loyalty more times than not. It's in times like these that I begin to ponder all those surface-y, non-emotional, closed off, reserved folks I know and mentally beat myself up for not being more like them. They are so wise, so mature, so savvy, so spiritual.  What is wrong with me? When will I ever grow up?

One thing's for sure: I must resolve to stop trusting others.

And evidently, I must resolve to teach my children to do the same.

Or maybe not, according to my husband's rebuke this morning.  And I know he's right.

Larry Crabb, the Christian counselor and author we love to hate around here (but mostly love), because of the painful, scriptural truth with which he exhorts, says that Christians are more like practicing Buddhists, denying all hope, all desire, and all positive anticipation in an effort to avoid any disappointment or pain.

"We Christians are often practicing Buddhists. We kill desire in an effort to escape pain, then wonder why we don't enjoy God." Shattered Dreams, p. 60

"In our day of feel-good Christianity, we have come up with a wrong view of our spiritual journey.  We think of suffering as something abnormal, as evidence that we lack faith.  We work so hard to escape suffering that we fail to realize what good things might be happening in us as we suffer.  But that's wrong. That's more Buddhist than Christian."  p. 166

I lose sight of this truth so often.  My faith in Christ allows me to hope for and anticipate all the best things in people, in relationships, in circumstances, and then when they fail me,  I can be okay, because my sure foundation is not in those things, those people. Rather, it's in Him, and He never fails me or forsakes me. It's also an opportunity to identify with Him, albeit not exactly a fun one. Now that I think of it, a lot of our "opportunities" to identify with Christ are not that enjoyable right away, but they are good.  ("It is good that I was afflicted...") And He's been there.  He was misunderstood, rejected, falsely accused, and betrayed by those closest to Him. Really, it should be considered a privilege to be entrusted with any of the same sort of emotional pain He endured. I only wish I could embrace it more willingly.

So, Robert is right.  I need not, should not take up the "I dare not trust" mentality.  Jesus' life, death and resurrection enable me to entrust myself to Him as I risk trusting others.

I might be slightly more discerning in future circumstances, but there is no pressing need to withhold myself from relationships with those He puts in my life.

His oath, His covenant, and blood support me in the whelming flood
When every earthly prop gives way, (or "when all around my soul gives way")
He then is all my Hope and Stay

(Kids, are you reading this? If so, please forgive my hardness of heart, and entrust yourself to those given to you in friendship, but entrust yourselves to Christ above all. Love, Mom)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mel...Have though a lot about your comments. What keeps coming to my heart is "Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me" for those friends He has placed in our lives to help share this journey and who teach us how sweet it is to trust in Jesus. Blue skies from K&J