Jeremiah 17: 5 Thus says the Lord, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord."
Micah 7: 5"Do not trust in a neighbor; do not have confidence in a friend. From her who lies in your bosom, guard your lips."
Wow! It sounds like we should be suspicious of everyone, including ourselves. After all, Jeremiah does go on to say in vs. 9 that the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick.
'Suspicious," though, probably isn't the right word. "Awareness," I think, would better fit the bill. To be aware that people, and even ourselves, can and/or will let us down is a reality.
I dont think the verses are saying that there should be absolutely zero trust in our interactions, because we cannot have close relationships without some level of trust. We wouldn't be able to socially function in this world with zero trust.
So just what do these versus mean by saying don't trust one another? I've heard the following explanations cited as three guiding principles.
1. Others and we are not to be completely trusted to provide for our needs in terms of emotional stability, personal fulfillment, and spiritual guidance. This especially applies when dealing with ungodly people, which is the context of the verses.
2. Our desire to totally trust another in order to have our emotional needs met and to have our spiritual welfare taken care of should instead be placed in God. We're told in the last line of Psalms 2: 12 that all who take refuge in Him are blessed. Such dependence on God is what will give us peace in the presence of disappointment.
3. Love others unconditionally; meaning a love that's in one direction, not looking for, nor expecting reciprocation. This way disappointment is eliminated, or is underwhelming.
I mentioned that the verses saying not to trust were, in context, referring to ungodly people. However, godly people also can let us down. Again, though, there must be some level of trust in order to function as a body of believers.
For believers, the proportion of trust is given in this way. St. Paul says in Galatians 5: 10, "I have confidence in you through the Lord." In other words, the more we live relying on the Lord, having no confidence in the flesh, the more trust others can have in us, and we in them. The flip side, of course, is that little or zero reliance on the Lord dictates the least amount of trust.
The bottom line is that although we can't avoid disappointment, we can minimize its effects by wholly giving ourselves to the Lord, that He may fill our hearts with His love.
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