Question:

I trust you are well. I am OK in the Lord and my spiritual life is cool now that I have the joy of the Lord and am back to my first love. All the evil desires are gone and I am rejoicing in the new found peace.

I am writing to you because something is troubling me. I can't seem to trust anyone. I doubt all people and this is greatly affecting me, from my friends, to my girlfriend, to my work mates. How come I can't trust them?

As I had communicated to you in our earlier correspondence, I agreed with my girlfriend to get married, God willing, next year but this trust thing is driving me up the wall. She is faithful to me, but I don't seem to trust her, even though I have no concrete proof. I am afraid this will wreck our relationship.

Dear minister, what's wrong with me? How can I stop this? Or is it fear that makes me not trust her? My work mates, too, even my close friends. I don't seem to trust them. For example, my friend told me something and I had to go to great lengths behind his back to find out if it was true what he was telling me.


Answer:

I believe things are not quite as bad as you're painting them. Not that I don't think your description is sincere, but that you are missing a very basic point.

Trust is a synonym for faith and belief. At the beginning of your note you trusted that I was doing well even though we haven't talked in a while. You talked about your joy in the Lord, so that tells me you are able to have faith in Christ -- that you have trusted him with your life. "For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day" (II Timothy 1:12).

So many people want to make every aspect of religion a feeling. Feelings come and go. There are feelings in Christianity. There is joy (Philippians 1:24) as well as sorrow (II Corinthians 2:4). The fact that Paul cried didn't mean he trusted God less or that in his joy he trusted God more. Paul chose to believe. That is why faith can be called a work. "Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent"" (John 6:29). Effort has to be put in to believe; it doesn't always come naturally.

Trust is not built on feelings; Paul said he gained his because he was persuaded. God invites people to check Him out. ""Present your case," says the LORD. "Bring forth your strong reasons," says the King of Jacob. Let them bring forth and show us what will happen; let them show the former things, what they were, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare to us things to come. Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; yes, do good or do evil, that we may be dismayed and see it together. Indeed you are nothing, and your work is nothing; he who chooses you is an abomination"" (Isaiah 41:21-24). Throughout Isaiah God repeatedly invites people to reason with Him, to consider the evidence, and to see who can really be trusted.

Even Jesus stated that testimony from just one source is not sufficient to establish truth. "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true" (John 5:31). It isn't that Jesus ever lied. Jesus doesn't expect his followers to accept his word without verification. If God offers that to us, why are you berating yourself for double checking something your friend stated. I assume that it was something both important and unusual, which is what drove you to making sure he was accurate. People, after all, do make mistakes.

In regards to your girlfriend, you tell me that the evidence is that she is faithful to you. So my question is, why are you not accepting the evidence? I'm not talking about your feelings; I talking about what you know. Doesn't it make sense that if the evidence all points in one direction that you trust what you know?

When a person tells me that he broadly lacks trust for other people, even to the point of going against what he knows, I have to ask one more question. Have you been using drugs in your recent past? I know that several, such as marijuana, has as a side-effect paranoia (a fear of trusting) both while on the drug and as an after effect that last months after the drug isn't being used any more. I ask because I don't want to leave any stone unturned.

Thanks so much for your reponse. I have never ever used drugs. I am not on or off any drug. It's just the lack of trust.

Excellent! Like I said, I needed to cover all the possibilities. Now, have you any ideas why you don't see the evidence for trust as adequate?

I guess it's the fear of losing her.

So the reality is that you don't trust yourself. But instead of acknowledging that, you put your doubts on other people.

There is a reason cowardice is listed first among the sins that can send a person to hell (Revelation 21:8). When a person let's his fears rule his life, he doesn't accomplish much good.

Judging by what you've said before, your fears are based on your imagination. The evidence found in reality says that your fears have no foundation. But you make your imagination more "real" than reality. The world has enough problems without making up more.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:34).

Thank you so much for that. I really needed someone to nudge me. Thanks again. So I will barnish my fears, and in the name of Jesus I will.