What does the Bible say about trusting others?

Trust is foundational to human relationship, but not all people are trustworthy. So how can we know whom to trust and with what? The Bible gives us advice.

We must first acknowledge that all humans are sinful (Romans 3:23). More than likely our trust will be broken at some point in several relationships. Perhaps even more sobering to realize, we will hurt others in our relationships and prove ourselves unworthy of their complete trust. But this is not a reason to avoid relationship or decide to never trust. Rather, this understanding helps us reset our expectations. Sometimes we feel betrayed or as if our trust is broken simply because we expected the other person to be and do what only God is and does. Any time we put our trust in another human to be our God, we will be disappointed, and rightly so. At the same time, we may expect another person to be honest or to act with integrity or to fulfill a promise and still find our trust broken. But, again, the answer is not to avoid relationship all together. Rather, we must rely on God first and put our trust ultimately in Him.

Psalm 118:8–9 says, "It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes." Proverbs 3:5–6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." When our trust is first in God—not in others or in ourselves—we are free to trust others. An understanding that God is sovereign and that He works on behalf of His children (Romans 8:28–29) removes much of our fear in relating to others. We know that even if we are betrayed, God will never forsake us. Hebrews 13 gives some instructions for Christian living. In part, it reminds followers of Jesus that God has said, "'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we can confidently say, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'" (Hebrews 13:5–6).

That our trust is ultimately in God instead of others does not mean that we blindly trust everyone with everything. Jesus warned His disciples, "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16). It is good to recognize that not all people have pure motives and to temper our trust accordingly. Proverbs 13:20 says, "Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm." First Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals.'" Proverbs 22:24–25 says, "Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare." Second Corinthians 6:14 cautions believers from being unequally yoked with other believers in close relationships such as marriage. We must be discerning about our relationships and the people to whom we give our trust.

Equally important is discernment about the institutions or societal influencers we trust. First John 4:1 says, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world." Just because a particular teaching appears to have authority or popular acceptance does not mean it is biblically sound. While we should submit to our leaders (Romans 13:1–7), we cannot blindly trust everything we hear from sources of supposed authority. We should be especially skeptical of institutions with worldly motives.

While caution is advised in giving trust, engaging in trusting relationships with others is rewarding and certainly biblical. Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 talks about the ways in which "two are better than one." Proverbs 27:17 says, "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:5–6 says, "Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy." Hebrews 10:24–25 talks about the importance of believers gathering together and stirring one another up to love and good works. Ephesians 4:15 talks about speaking truth to one another in love. Real trust includes willingness to be honest with one another, even if that honesty feels awkward or potentially painful. There is no substitute for faithful friends and vibrant Christian community. When we can live in trusting relationships with one another, we edify and encourage one another.

One practical way to go about learning to trust others is to focus on being trustworthy yourself. Being a person others can trust involves honesty and integrity. It means keeping your word, not belittling others, admitting when you are wrong, seeking forgiveness, being willing to forgive as you have been forgiven in Christ, and having the courage to share the truths of God's Word and to strive to live them out.

Psalm 1 declares that the man who delights in the law of the Lord is blessed. When we seek God's kingdom and His ways first, we will draw closer to Him and our trust in Him will increase. We will also learn to be trustworthy people ourselves. As we do these things, we can learn to more freely trust others. We can ask God for discernment in whom to trust and with what things, and ultimately trust Him with the results.

Related Truth:

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