by Andrea Nymeyer
“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.”
Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “Why won’t they trust me?”
I sure have. Usually I’m speaking of my parents or some other authority.
When we ask, “Why won’t they trust me?” we don’t realize that we have it all backward. The true question is, “Am I trustworthy?” Dwight L. Moody said, “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.” Instead of griping that others do not trust us, we should be caring for our character and making sure we are worthy of trust.
Proverbs 31 describes the model virtuous woman. The very first attribute of this woman is this: “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her” (Proverbs 31:11). What is it about the Proverbs 31 woman that makes her worthy of her husband’s trust? She loves him enough to earn that trust, putting his interests before her own. Our heavenly Father sets us the most beautiful example of trustworthiness. Only because we know the character of the Lord as revealed in Scripture can we rest with such confidence in the Name of Jesus. “How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings” (Psalm 36:7). Thus our longing to be trusted is the outpouring of a desire to be more like Jesus. Trustworthiness is a valuable and essential character trait that must be cultivated diligently. How then do we become trustworthy?
My pastor preached a message several years ago with an acrostic about building and keeping trust. Following is his outline with my own Bible verses, comments, and illustrations.
T – Tell the Truth.
“The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19)
Truth is the core of the Gospel and therefore, the core of the Christian life. It is what has set us free from the clutches of sin (John 8:32). So let us not pass by or treat as trivial what is one of the most powerful testimonies of our faith. Speaking truth is yet another form of the overflow of that love we see Christ exemplifying for us. “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour; for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25). Let us hold up the truth as the light by which we walk on a daily basis so that others might trust us even in the smallest of matters. A person who does not consistently tell the truth cannot be trusted.
Every morning when my siblings and I come in from the barn, someone in our family will ask one of the younger children, “Did you wash your hands?” Often when the child responds, “Yes,” the older sibling will respond, “Are you sure?”
Why do we ask them this? Because the child is not yet trustworthy. This is expected from a five-year-old, but you and I are no longer five. We must develop a habit of telling the truth every time if we want to build our parents’ trust in us. How can we develop this habit when we have already caught ourselves speaking lies? “Think before you speak.” We should not allow a word to pass from our lips before discerning our motive for speaking.
When our hearts desire to please the Lord, our words will be a powerful testament to that desire. “Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth: unite my heart to fear Thy name” (Psalm 86:11).
R – Remember Your Words and Promises.
“Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.” (Proverbs 25:14)
This one really gets me. I’m an incredibly scatterbrained person, and it’s easy to prove myself untrustworthy simply because I forgot what I said ten minutes ago. If we want to be trustworthy, we must put a high priority on accomplishing the things we promise to do.
Taking the time to write things down can be extremely helpful. Prayer lists and to-do lists and lists of all sorts might be some of the most helpful tools in encouraging us to remember the promises we have made. The more faithfulness we apply in recalling commitments to mind and performing that which we have promised, the more those in our lives will feel just how loved and treasured they truly are.
U – Understand the Challenge.
“Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?”
I know well that if I walk on hot coals from a fire, my feet will be burned. I have no trust in those coals not to burn my feet. Trustworthiness is not an easy character trait to develop. Messing up just once causes others to lose trust in me. Trust cannot be demanded; it is earned. Letting someone down repeatedly causes an even greater lack of trust.
When I do the accounting for my dad’s company, I have a reputation for making mistakes while my sister Dee rarely makes mistakes. It is not uncommon for my dad to say, “Let’s leave this project for Dee to complete.” Just as I would never trust hot coals on my feet, my family has been “burned” often enough and badly enough by my work that they do not trust me. Building trust is incredibly difficult, especially if the person has been hurt repeatedly.
Recognizing the challenge that is set before us to earn the trust of others should help us in not being impatient or angry when they may still find trusting us difficult. The way we love and serve them through the challenges will only increase our growing trustworthiness. The refining and pruning will feel that much more worth the pains as those pains also yield deeper and more fruitful relationships.
S – Stay Steady.
“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.” (Luke 16:10)
My life is not “exciting” by many standards. I live at home, do schoolwork, and help my parents. But do you know what? Trust is not built on the big and extraordinary. Trust is built on faithfulness in little things. Do I wash the dishes with a good attitude? Are my chores done without my having to be reminded? Am I attentive to my family member’s needs? Faithfulness in these seemingly small areas builds trust. These seemingly small areas are in fact treasures from heaven that have been entrusted to us. “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17a).
Sisters, we can find the beauty in the soap and water washing dishes clean, in the messy, laughing face of a little brother, and in the laundry piled high. Seeing God’s grace in everything small and mundane allows us to walk more faithfully because we are living in the light of the glorious grace of the cross and purpose of our Lord in every detail of life. By His grace, we can look forward to hearing, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21).
T – Take the Time.
“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9)
What if I said, “I’ve been trustworthy to my parents for a whole week! I should have earned their trust by now!” Would you think I was crazy? Yes! We know that it takes faithfulness and time to build trust – much longer than a week.
If you’ve ever tried to tame an animal, you know that one quick move of your hand can destroy the progress that you’ve made in building its trust. It takes hours and even days to gain an animal’s trust, and it takes years of faithfulness to earn the trust of a person – especially your parents who know your imperfections.
Do you need to built trust? Don’t get discouraged!
God’s loving mercy surrounds us, never leaving us alone in our efforts to follow His Son. “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). As we strive to walk faithfully, earning the trust of our parents and others in our lives, we must find ourselves abiding in the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
“The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of Thine own hands” (Psalm 138:8). He will help you to build and keep trust so that it can be said of you, too, that the heart of your authority trusts in you!
– Andrea Nymeyer
In what ways do you strive to build trust with your parents? Leave a comment below!
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