Confidence Can Be Restored!
ALTHOUGH the current crisis of confidence is a sign of “the last days,” lack of confidence also became apparent thousands of years ago. (2 Timothy 3:1) It first arose in a most unlikely place—in a paradise. The Bible says of the location: “God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. Thus Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground every tree desirable to one’s sight and good for food and also the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.”—Genesis 2:8, 9.
Subsequent verses shed light on what this has to do with the modern-day crisis of confidence. We read: “Jehovah God also laid this command upon the man: ‘From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.’” (Genesis 2:16, 17) Did Adam have any reason to doubt what Jehovah said?
We read on: “Now the serpent proved to be the most cautious of all the wild beasts of the field that Jehovah God had made. So it began to say to the woman: ‘Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?’ At this the woman said to the serpent: ‘Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But as for eating of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it that you do not die.”’ At this the serpent said to the woman: ‘You positively will not die. For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.’ Consequently the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was something to be longed for to the eyes, yes, the tree was desirable to look upon. So she began taking of its fruit and eating it. Afterward she gave some also to her husband when with her and he began eating it.”—Genesis 3:1-6.
In ignoring God’s clear warning, Adam and Eve demonstrated lack of confidence in Jehovah. They mirrored God’s adversary Satan, who had spoken to Eve through the literal serpent. Satan lacked confidence in Jehovah’s way of ruling. Because of this and a proud and ambitious heart, he rebelled against God and misled humans into doing the same. He influenced them into thinking that God was not to be trusted.
The Result? Strained Relations
You may have observed that individuals who do not trust others find it difficult to maintain friendships. Publilius Syrus, a Latin writer of the first century B.C.E., wrote: “Confidence is the only bond of friendship.” By their act of rebellion, Adam and Eve showed that they did not trust God. Hence, God certainly had no reason to trust them. As a result of a breakdown in trust, or confidence, the first humans lost God’s friendship. There is no indication that Jehovah ever spoke to them again after he condemned them for their rebellion.
The relationship between Adam and Eve also suffered. Jehovah warned Eve: “In birth pangs you will bring forth children, and your craving will be for your husband, and he will dominate you.” (Genesis 3:16) The Jerusalem Bible says: “He will lord it over you.” Instead of exercising loving headship over his wife, as God had wanted, Adam now became her master, lording it over her.
After they had sinned, Adam tried to shift the blame to his wife. In his opinion it was because of what she had done that they were ejected from a perfect garden into an unfinished earth, doomed to slave under less than ideal conditions before returning to the dust. (Genesis 3:17-19) We can well imagine that this was a source of friction between the two. Adam may have overreacted, voicing that he would never listen to Eve again. Possibly he felt justified in telling her, in effect, ‘From now on, I’m the boss!’ Eve, on the other hand, may have seen that Adam had failed in his role as family head, causing her to lose confidence in him. At any rate, by expressing a lack of confidence in God, humans lost their friendship with him and damaged their relationship with one another.
Whom Can We Trust?
Not everyone deserves our confidence, as the example of Adam and Eve illustrates. How can we know who does and who does not deserve our confidence?
Psalm 146:3 advises us: “Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.” And at Jeremiah 17:5-7, we read: “Cursed is the able-bodied man who puts his trust in earthling man and actually makes flesh his arm, and whose heart turns away from Jehovah himself.” On the other hand, “blessed is the able-bodied man who puts his trust in Jehovah, and whose confidence Jehovah has become.”
Granted, putting confidence in humans is not always wrong. Those texts are simply making the point that confidence in God is never misplaced, but putting confidence in imperfect humans can at times lead to disaster. For example, people who trust humans to achieve what only God can do—provide salvation and bring full peace with security—are headed for disappointment.—Psalm 46:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
Actually, humans and human institutions merit confidence only to the degree that they act in harmony with God’s purposes and demonstrate godly principles. Thus, if we are to inspire others to have confidence in us, we must speak the truth, being honest and reliable. (Proverbs 12:19; Ephesians 4:25; Hebrews 13:18) Only by conducting ourselves in agreement with Bible principles will the trust others place in us be justified and prove to be a source of mutual strength and encouragement.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have a solid basis for placing confidence in God and encouraging others to do likewise. Jehovah is faithful and loyal, one who can always be relied upon to do what he has said, because “it is impossible for God to lie.” Confidence placed in the God of love will never lead to disappointment.—Hebrews 6:18; Psalm 94:14; Isaiah 46:9-11; 1 John 4:8.
People who are united in having confidence in Jehovah and who live by his principles are strongly motivated to show confidence in one another. In a world suffering a crisis of confidence, what a joy to find people who are trustworthy! Imagine how different the world would be if we could have complete confidence in what everyone else says or does! In the coming new world that God has promised this will be the case. Never again will there be any crisis of confidence!
Would you like to live then? If so, Jehovah’s Witnesses invite you to strengthen your confidence in God and in his promises by learning more about his requirements for life. A study of the Bible offers proof that God exists, that he is interested in mankind’s welfare, and that he will soon act to correct world problems by means of his Kingdom. Millions have learned to put confidence in God and in his Word, the Bible. Jehovah’s Witnesses will gladly demonstrate to you the public service of a Bible study course they offer free of charge. Or write to the publishers of this magazine for further information.
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Lack of confidence in God leads to damaged human relations
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Humans are worthy of confidence only to the degree that they act in harmony with godly principles