Originally published Monday, 03 March 2014.
Don't let the picture scare you. I wanted to find a picture of deceitfulness, and couldn't think of a better picture than snakes that beg the question, "Can I trust you?"
Snakes are a picture for Satan, the Father of lies (John 8:44). He was the person/animal who twisted his words until Eve wrapped her little fingers around that stupid apple, took a whiff of its sweet fruit, and bit her perfectly rounded lips into the lie that she could become like God knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5). She experienced good and evil alright!
I heard a sermon from Pastor Ray Bentley once about the reason why we were never meant to experience heartbreak -- pointing us back to the story of Eve and the serpent. God wanted us to hear about evil, but not to literally taste its fruit (get it?).
C.S. Lewis said in his book Shadowlands, "If you love deeply, you're going to get hurt badly. But it's still worth it." Friendship and love far outweigh the hurt and distrust.
Or does it?
It's easy to listen to a sermon from a pastor at a mega church or read a quote from a famous author, but to experience hurt is another thing altogether.
"You will trust God only as much as you love him. And you will love him not because you have studied him; you will love him because you have touched him--in response to his touch…Only if you love will you make that final leap into darkness. 'Father, into your hands I commend my spirit'" (Brennan Manning, Lion and Lamb).
Grace means we stop keeping score. Grace means we let go. It doesn't let the offender or person who hurt you off God's hook, but yours.
I met with my friend Ronel Sidney for coffee last week to discuss our thoughts on He Loves Me. We lingered on this quote below for a while because both of us were very deeply hurt by multiple people we trusted.
"Perhaps you've experienced the betrayal of people you consider close friends simply because you no longer served their needs or desires. Through the course of life we learn to keep a wary eye on people, knowing how few trustworthy people there really are. That may sound jaded, but Jesus lived that way, too. He didn't entrust himself to anyone because he knew what was inside people (see John 2:24). So of course our attempts to trust others will often be frustrated, but that's because God never wanted us to trust others. He wanted us to love others but to trust him alone" (Wayne Jacobson, He Loves Me).
What? Let me say that again!
"God never wanted us to trust others. He wanted us to love others but to trust him alone." Reading that quote gave me an a-ha moment. That's why it hurt so bad. That's why it was difficult to let those people close to me off the hook.
Because I trusted them.
Friends, "We all struggle with putting our hope and trust in something, someone, anything other than the true God. We find ourselves weak, afraid, fretting or angry, bitter and complaining. In the midst of this struggle, I believe that God's voice is calling us: clearly, lovingly bringing illumination and liberation" (Elize Fitzpatrick, Idols of the Heart).
"Can I trust you?" is the question I believe God asks you and I on a daily basis.
When the answer becomes "no" perhaps it's because we've replaced our first love with another human. Perhaps it's because we have competing loves as John Calvin would say. A story from Joshua 9 can help us put trust into a more Biblical perspective.
"The Israelites were suspicious (v. 7), but they "did not ask counsel of the Lord" (v. 14). Joshua unwisely made a peace treaty with the deceivers. If we wonder: "Can I trust you?" we shouldn't decide quickly, based only on what seems right to us. It's better to seek counsel from God's Word (Psalm 119:105), from godly people (Proverbs 11:14), and from God himself (James 1:5)" (Our Daily Bread).
My problem is that I'm too busy and quick to make decisions that I don't always inquire of the Lord before quickly putting my trust in others.
Last year when I experienced distrust, hurt, and betrayal from people I thought I could trust, I learned this very important lesson. Both times I felt uneasy. I was suspicious. But instead of praying things through and taking the proper amount of time to wait on God -- I acted.
This past week I attended the Storyline Conference in San Diego. I was excited to go until I learned who else was going. In fact, I didn't even attend the first two days because I wanted to avoid these people. When I woke up on the last day of the conference I knew I had to go. Not just because I wanted to avoid people who had hurt me deeply, but I wanted to make new friends.
I'm so glad I went.
Here are a few picture of my friends I have known through social media for a while. It was so nice to finally meet them in person! The left picture is Paul Angone, the author of 101 Secrets For Your Twenties and one of the speakers for Quarter Life Conference. The right picture is Meredith Munro, a guest blogger for Devotional Diva whom I met through Susan Isaacs. I also ran into a former roommie, Jamie Smith, whom I used to live with in San Diego! It was neat to see her and sit next to her in a room full of 1,700 people and not feel alone!
"As Christians, we ought to be so devoted and strengthening one another's faith that we pursue their goal relentlessly, even if it means laying down our own lives" (Experiencing God Day by Day).
Jesus doesn't want us to stay down. To stay jaded or unloving simply because people close to us have hurt us and misused our trust. No! He wants us to relentlessly pursue and encourage others because He loved us first.
Question: Are you having a hard time making new friends or trusting old friends because you have been deeply hurt? If so, what are you doing about it?
Two other highlights from last week and this include: Last week: I attended the 48th Local Author Exhibit at the San Diego Library. It was such an honor for two of my books, Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me and Loves Me Not to be included with 400 other books from local authors. Here are a couple cheesy pictures of me celebrating. Bless my husband Marc's heart for taking them for me!
This week: Faithbook of Jesus turns 5 on March 6th. I cannot believe it's been 5 years since I quit my job and published my first book.To celebrate I am giving away a signed copy of Faithbook of Jesus on my blog. To enter to win, please leave a comment below. A winner will be chosen at random by the end of the week.
Also this week: Loves Me Not is ranked!!!
- #7 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Relationships
- #17 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Living > Dating & Relationships
- #46 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Living > Marriage
Thanks again for letting me share deeply from the heart. We may encounter people close to us who hurt us, but that doesn't mean we stop loving others! Let's learn to put our first in trust only God while learning to navigate the difficult world of relationships!
"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water" (James 3:9-12, NIV).
*Previously published at ReneeFisher.com.
[Photo: Julian Rossi, Flickr]