Do You Trust?

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

How do you know if you can trust your friends?

Isn’t part of trust based on people doing what they say they’re going to do? They make a commitment and then follow through on it. They keep your confidences. They have your back and stand up for you. If a friend says he’ll meet you at the movies at a certain time and then doesn’t show up and doesn’t let you know, that tends to undermine trust. If a friend tells other people something you asked her not to share, that also tends to destroy trust. And if a friend betrays you, spreads rumors about you, back-stabs you, trust is not even present.

And what about trusting yourself? Can you trust yourself in certain situations to do the right thing? What if friends are vaping, cheating on tests, criticizing others, drinking either with or without their parents’ permission, looking up raunchy online sites? Do you have the integrity and the moral courage to stand your ground and not change who you are to fit in with others? Isn’t trusting ourselves even more important than trusting our friends? If we can trust ourselves, then we will find friends who are trustworthy.

So what enables us to trust ourselves? The answer is simple: God. The more we trust God with our lives, the more we depend upon God to define who we are, the more we listen to God to guide us in every decision we have to make, the more secure we are about our own identity, integrity. That’s because we’re looking to God for answers. We’re trusting in God’s heavenly view of us.

It follows, then, that we are less susceptible to the opinions or pressures of others. Others may try to tell us that we need something out there to make us happy. It could be fashion, food, gadgets, certain friends, specific knowledge. They may tell us that the answer lies in a drug or in screens. But a sage said, “Don’t fall into the trap of being a coward— trust the Lord, and you will be safe” (Prov 29:25 CEV). Isn’t that awesome? Trusting God enables us to avoid making cowardly decisions based on fear—fear of not fitting in, fear of failure, fear of not being enough, etc.

So then, when we trust God, we become courageous. We’re able to stand up for ourselves. And what other people say doesn’t matter. They may say that God doesn’t matter, that morals are outdated, that no one will ever know. But their words can’t and won’t change who we are. They have no effect on us because we are rooted and grounded in God.

We’re like a well-planted tree. The very first psalm compares the person who “refuses evil advice and won’t follow sinners or join in sneering at God” (CEV) to a tree “planted by streams of water … whatever they do prospers” (Ps 1:1-3 NIV). That’s an amazing promise. As we trust God, we are successful. Nothing can uproot us and move us away from our knowledge of who we are—God’s amazing child.

And if we ever find ourselves without trustworthy friends, at the very least we know two things: God is our most trustworthy friend; and because we trust God, we can trust ourselves. Such knowledge (about ourselves and our relationship with God) is a gift in itself that yields abundant blessings.