In a previous article I addressed the issue of “control” in our lives and examined the things we are actually able to control versus those things over which we have little or no control. The discovery was that we find we have very little that we can control. The truth is that, if another person is involved directly or indirectly in our lives and decision-making process, we will find our ability to control our surroundings and circumstances severely compromised. The bottom line is that there is very little which we can actually control.
Because people, by virtue of necessity, intersect with our lives and our way of living, we actually discover that, to have any level of control where another person is involved, requires us to have a level of trust. We have to be able to trust people to do the “right” things that are in agreement with our perception of standards and values. Can I trust you to do what I need in such a way so as to help me achieve my objective and allow me to maintain a level of control?
Many, if not most, of us had people in our lives in which we placed total trust only to be horribly and often tragically let down. Perhaps it was a parent who made promises of visitation and time that were never kept, or a spouse who pledged fidelity at the altar of marriage only to commit adultery later on, or a friend whom we trusted with our financial affairs only to find ourselves defrauded of our life’s savings or perhaps even a . While there are numerous scenarios, virtually all of us can say we put our trust in someone at sometime only to have been crushed by their failing. The result is that we find we become embittered toward people in general and struggle to risk being “burned” again.
It’s now been over six weeks ago when I trusted a barber to follow my directions for a haircut. I was visiting out of state with my mother knowing that I had to conduct a funeral upon my return. I knew I needed to get a haircut before returning to officiate the service, but I also knew I wouldn’t get back in time to use the services of my local barber. The only recourse was to stop at a shop nearby to my mother’s residence.
The barber shop touted its price of only $5.75 per cut which touched the curiosity nerve that lies just under the surface of my being and I went into the establishment full of wonderment. The shop was full of waiting customers and it was nearly an hour before it was my turn to mount the adjustable barber chair. During the time I was fraught with anticipation, I had the privilege of watching the interaction of the clients with the barbers and noticing that most cuts were military style – shaven all the way around with about one-half to three-quarters of an inch left on top. Knowing the area held a number of military personnel, it didn’t seem unusual at the time.
While engaged in the ritual of observation, I did notice that one barber tended to leave a bit more hair on than the other. I prayed a silent “shooting” prayer asking that this barber be the one whose availability would coincide with me turn in the chair and, by God’s grace, it did come to pass.
He asked if I wanted a regular cut to which I responded “No.” I then explained I wanted my hair to be around three-quarters of an inch on all sides, blocked in the back and about one and half to two inches on the top. Assured by his words that such could be done, the clippers began to make contact with my silver hair.
We engaged in polite and yet intriguing conversation about a variety of things while the hum of the clippers droned on. Soon the mirror was placed in front of me and I was asked if the haircut looked okay. I was so stunned at what I saw I couldn’t speak. I do remember thinking that the hair on the floor somehow needed to be glued back on! My trust had been betrayed! I had a military style cut and I had a funeral to conduct! In my 38 years of marriage my wife had never seen my hair this short. The deed was done, the die was cast, and I looked like a Chihuahua. Over six weeks later my hair is still not yet back to the length it was before but at least I can now put a part in it!
The reality is that we can do little on our own to control our surroundings and circumstances including what people will do when we place our trust in them. We often need help that is beyond our own abilities to do so and we wonder who we can truly trust. I can’t cut my own hair and it would probably be a disaster if I did. The only source of empowerment that can always be trusted, even when people let us down, is the very God who created us all. There are many passages of Scripture in the Bible that tells us of our need to give to Him all the things we cannot control because only He has the power to change things. These three are some of the many verses that speak to this issue of trust and true control.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22a TNIV).
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (I Peter 5:7 TNIV).
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 TNIV).
Though God has established the standard for trust by always doing that which His Word says He will do, how can we find people who we can know will probably make every effort to act faithfully when we place our trust in them? There are certain characteristics we find in the Bible that reveal the attributes in a person who will keep his/her word. These characteristics are spiritual in nature but, when practiced daily, transform a person mentally and emotionally as well.
· We want to find people who spend time in prayer each day. These people recognize that true control is a trust (or faith) issue. But, if our life experiences are filled with memories in which we trusted others and they failed us, how can we trust in a God we cannot even see? These people have learned how to transcend the pain inflicted by people and trust in a God who never fails to deliver His best and that which is right for us.
· We want to find people who read and meditate on God’s Word. These people recognize the importance of knowing what God’s Word states about personal relationships and will live to follow those precepts in a non-selfish manner. These people will be more likely to know what it means to give themselves away for the caring of others and, therefore, will have a proper motive of caring with no hidden agendas.
· We want to find people who exemplify the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 tell us that a person who has an abiding relationship and trust in God will exemplify the following characteristics in their daily life: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (discipline). People who reflect these attributes day-in and day-out are people that are most likely to be able to be trusted.
Are there “cons” out there who will fail us and even seek to take advantage of us? Of course there are! That’s why it is vitally important to develop relationships with people who exemplify those attributes mentioned above. Watch and observe people before having to place high levels of trust in them. Its one thing to trust the grocery store clerk to scan the bar codes correctly into the cash register, but it’s quite another thing to trust someone to help you with important life issues. Please understanding that observing someone is not seeking to be judgmental but discerning. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that we are to be “fruit inspectors” because “by their fruit you shall know them.”
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask God for discernment to discover who we might be able to trust. We don’t base it on just a “feeling” but upon what we see in that person. God may reveal someone to us, but we can confirm that that nudging is from Him as we watch the person live his/her life in front of us. There really are people we can trust if we follow these simple keys. My prayer will be that everyone who reads this will find those people they can trust for help in the midst of life issues.
©2008 Mel Menker
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