“Firm reliance on the honesty, dependability, strength, or character of a person or thing.”-Trust definition, Webster’s New College Dictionary
The other day I was trying to move my car from between two others. My depth perception is terrible, so I needed help. My Pastor’s wife said she could do it (and did, beautifully), but then I couldn’t get out of where she put the car without being worried I’d hit something.
My Pastor was out shoveling [I don’t know what] and stopped what he was doing to tell me what to do. Normally, I’d be combative about anyone telling me what to do, but he’s different. He’s trustworthy. I trust him with my life. Needless to say, I got out of there by following his instruction and was fine (yelling not to tell anyone of course…which I’ve now ruined).
I trust my Pastor indelibly, not only because he’s my Pastor, but because he’s proven over time he can be trusted, relied upon, and looked to for wisdom. Even before he was a Pastor, he counseled me in family relationships and helped me see things from the right perspective (God’s). Since becoming a Pastor, he’s counseled me in other things (along with his wife – also trustworthy), and can tell me no and I’ll listen. His life proves he’s following God; the fruit of his obedience to Christ is evident, so I trust him.
Test of Trust
It can be difficult to find trustworthy people like that. Often, we find people we think we can rely on and confide in, but later find out they aren’t who they said they were. Here are a few tests I use to find out whether someone is trustworthy:
- Consistency – no two-facedness (is that a word?). A trustworthy person will be who they are no matter who’s in the room. They won’t have different characters they play. The person they are at home will be the same at work, at church, at an event. Consistency is key.
- Unprejudiced – Prejudice isn’t just about race; it can be about class or status as well. This goes along with the consistency test. Do they treat everyone the same? Are they fair? Now, respect is earned not just given, so there may be some difference in levels of respect and behavior in relation to that level. But for the most part, a trustworthy person will be consistently fair and treat everyone with the same basic care and treatment.
- 100% Truthful – Obviously to be trustworthy you have to tell the truth. But there’s more to it than that. A trustworthy person won’t white lie. They’ll be able to tell the truth without watering it down or embellishing. A trustworthy person tells it like it is, with varying levels of compassion with each situation and person. You want someone who will tell you no (or you shouldn’t do that) and stop you in your tracks (I learned that from my pastor and his dad who is my friend and advisor).
- Reliable – They don’t have to be the hero of the situation, but they are there when you’re down and out, when you need a hand or a listening ear. A trustworthy person will be dependable and reliable. Their presence will offer strength and comfort and their advice will lead you in the right direction (“Wisdom from above is first pure,…” James 3:17-18). You can rely on their godly wisdom, advice, and support.
- Fort Knox – A trustworthy person will keep your secrets. Test them by sharing something with them that’s just secret enough but not such a secret that you don’t mind if it gets out. Then, wait and see whether the information you gave them comes back to you. If it does, you know they aren’t trustworthy. It’s necessary to prove people. The Bible says, “prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) If the Bible says it, we should probably listen.
- Keeps Good Company – Misery loves company so they say, and the Bible tells us, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) A background investigator will go through your Facebook friends to know more about you, so we might do well to know who our friend’s friends are. If their close friends aren’t following the Lord, you should be very careful. The company one keeps is very telling about a person.
- “Quiet” – What I mean is, they aren’t a gossip. “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.” (Proverbs 20:19) I don’t think much else needs to be said on this subject. You can trust a person who is joyful and bubbly and a bit loud, sure, but not a loudmouth. There’s a difference. Pay attention.
These are just a few markers of a trustworthy person. The core values of a person can be understood by the fruit they bear. “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) A trustworthy person will have these traits in spades. No one is perfect, of course, but one who is living after God’s heart and trying is someone you can trust.
God is #1 on the Trust-o-meter
Obviously, you should know God is the Ultimate when it comes to trustworthiness. He is truth, anyway, remember Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” (John 14:6) He is the best measure of friendship and trust. You can 100% firmly rely on God’s honesty, dependability, strength, and character. After all, He is the Creator of all those words and traits. Whether you’re choosing your friends or deciding who to keep around and who to cut ties with (because ties bind you, good or bad), look to Him. Ask Him to help you know truly who is a good alliance and who you need to keep at arm’s length.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let Him ask it of the Lord who gives generously to all and without reproach.”James 1:5
If you’re unsure whether your spiritual or practical “depth perception” is going to give you trouble, ask Him to instruct you. Wait on Him to tell you what to do and follow His instruction wholeheartedly. In His instruction is life.
So, have you learned something today? Do you know who your friends are and who you can trust? If you have a trustworthy friend, take just a minute to thank them for who they are; thank them for just being there and for being someone you can trust. Most of the people in my circle are those I can say are trustworthy and pass the 7-marker test. My Pastor is one of them. Praise God. If you have a Pastor you can trust with your life, thank them today. There aren’t as many as you think out there. Pray for them daily, and appreciate their work and character needed to be who they are. And while you’re at it, appreciate their wives, too, because the Lord knows they are right there with ’em.