Have you ever trusted someone you found out later to be untrustworthy? It seems like our default mode is to trust. This is why con-artists prosper, whether they work the streets, the phones, or the Internet. They know we have to trust some folks. It’s true: we do. And we shouldn’t be afraid to trust folks we know are solid in their integrity. After all, living a life where we don’t trust anyone isn’t workable. It’s not doable. However, we should be as discerning as possible before extending that trust.
Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. – John 2:23-25, ESV
Remember those at the temple questioned Jesus for signs? He gave them those signs. John’s words here are that many believed. But why did they believe? Why did they follow after Jesus? Simply, because He was working miracles. They wanted some of that. They weren’t interested in salvation and forgiveness. They hadn’t given up everything to follow Him, despite the cost. Jesus knew these folks’ hearts. We are told Jesus didn’t entrust Himself to these people because He knew what they were after. It wasn’t a closer walk with God. It was more for themselves.
We must be careful with our trust as well. Why do certain people associate with us? Why are they being so nice and helpful? Is this how they always are or do they want something from us? These are important questions to ponder in our relationships.
This is different than people letting us down because they are human. We all mess up. We all misinterpret things, act too hastily, or get fired up by emotion. These types of things happen from time to time. Think about Peter, James, and John. They each let Jesus down at critical points in His ministry. Yet He continued to entrust Himself to them. They were with Him for the right reasons. But they were still human. Therefore, Jesus loved them, showed His grace to them, and continued to extend His trust.
Jesus is once again our example. We must be understanding and loving to those we can trust when they mess up. But our trust shouldn’t be extended automatically. If we are struggling for wisdom, God didn’t leave us in the lurch. Through James He reminded us if we need wisdom, we should ask Him. Maybe we can’t see the depths of another person’s heart. That’s not a problem because God can. Be careful with your trust. Be loving, forgiving, and kind regardless. But only extend your trust to those who will honor it