Why Show Confidence in Others?
OUR showing confidence in others is really an expression of love. The Bible tells us that love “believes all things.” (1 Cor. 13:7) Not that love is gullible, but love for Christian brothers will prevent our being unduly suspicious, concluding the worst about them. Yes, unless there is clear evidence to the contrary, love moves us to trust others. Even when fellow believers disappoint us in some way, we will not be quick to assume that their motives are bad.
But does not even God on occasion distrust his servants? We do find that Eliphaz the Temanite attributed a distrustful disposition to the Creator, saying: “Look! In his servants he has no faith, and his messengers he charges with faultiness.” (Job 4:18) Eliphaz acknowledged the source of that statement to have been a “spirit.” (Job 4:15) The fact that Jehovah God later reproved Eliphaz and his companions for having spoken untruth proves that this “spirit” was wicked, demonic. So Eliphaz was merely repeating a demon-inspired lie.—Job 42:7.
In actuality, Jehovah, as a God of love, is the foremost example in showing confidence in his intelligent creatures. (1 John 4:8) He evidently gives his spirit sons considerable freedom in carrying out their duties. He at times allows them to express their views on handling a particular assignment and then grants approval for them to follow through accordingly. An example of this is the account at 1 Kings 22:20-22, where we read: “Jehovah proceeded to say, ‘Who will fool Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?’ And this one began to say something like this, while that one was saying something like that. Finally a spirit [son of God] came out and stood before Jehovah and said, ‘I myself shall fool him.’ At that Jehovah said to him, ‘By what means?’ To this he said, ‘I shall go forth, and I shall certainly become a deceptive spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ So he said, ‘You will fool him, and, what is more, you will come off the winner. Go out and do that way.’” This spirit or angel then exercised his power upon Ahab’s prophets so that they spoke what was in their hearts, not truth, but what they themselves wanted to say and what Ahab wanted to hear from them.
Especially outstanding is the confidence that Jehovah demonstrated toward his only-begotten Son. He granted his firstborn the privilege of sharing with him in creation, both spirit and material. Jehovah God did not fear that this would detract from his position as Creator. He gladly revealed his Son’s role to humankind, resulting in great honor to that One. (Col. 1:15-17) When the Son, as the man Jesus Christ, proved his faithfulness to the death, the Father resurrected him and gave him even a higher position than he had before coming to the earth. “God exalted him,” says the Bible, “to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend . . . and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11) Because of having full confidence in his Son, Jehovah God knows that Jesus Christ will never misuse that exalted position.
Marvelous, too, is the confidence that Jehovah God has shown in imperfect humans. For the past nineteen hundred years he has been selecting 144,000 men and women to rule with his Son. Upon raising them to heavenly life, he bestows upon them immortality and incorruption. (1 Cor. 15:42-54; Rev. 5:9, 10; 14:1-4; 20:6) Although exalting them to a position higher than that of the angels, Jehovah is confident that these rulers will never misuse their position.—1 Cor. 6:3.
Since Jehovah God manifests such confidence in his servants, should we not want to imitate his example? If that is your desire, you will view fellow believers as persons who really want to serve Jehovah God. True, some may at times disappoint you. But those who are truly devoted to Jehovah God do not want to hurt anyone. They deeply regret it when their weaknesses and imperfections give rise to problems.
Particularly elders in the Christian congregation must exercise great care to maintain the right attitude toward fellow believers. When elders keep in mind that their brothers really want to do what is right, they will not be hasty in calling them to task for some minor oversight. They will also avoid giving the impression that they do not really believe that work will be done properly if they do not keep a ‘close check’ on everyone. Surely, when people are faithful about their work, they should be treated as deserving of confidence.
Moreover, elders should seek advice from those who may have talents, abilities or insight superior to their own. (Prov. 15:22) There is certainly no glory in being the initiator of a plan that later proves inferior. However, wise is the man who seeks the benefit of others’ experience, knowledge and abilities. His humble attitude will do much to invite cooperation and enable more to share in the joy of a job that was well done.
Similarly, a husband’s showing confidence in his wife can do much to preserve a happy marriage. A wife who has little latitude to use initiative in caring for her responsibilities will soon lose joy in her work. She will feel stifled in using her knowledge, talents and abilities, resulting in frustration. On the other hand, when her husband entrusts certain important matters to her good judgment, she will have pleasure in handling things in a way that will delight her husband.
In dealing with their children, parents do well to assure them of their trust. One way in which this can be done is by helping them to appreciate that privileges and responsibilities given to them are an evidence of their parents’ confidence. When children recognize this, they will have greater incentive to prove that their parents’ trust has not been misplaced.
Truly a person’s showing confidence in others can bring fine results. So we have good reason to imitate the example of Jehovah God in this regard. Furthermore, we should strive not to disappoint those who trust us. When we show confidence in others and prove that we, too, merit their trust, we will contribute much toward preserving good relationships with fellow humans.