Trust Is Vital for a Happy Life
FOOD poisoning is very unpleasant. A person who repeatedly experiences it needs to be more careful in his eating habits. But to give up food entirely so as to avoid the risk of food poisoning is not a realistic option. Doing so would cause more problems than it would solve. Without food no one can survive long.
In a similar way, to have one’s trust betrayed is painful. Repeated betrayal of trust might make us think carefully about our choice of associations. Yet, to withdraw from people entirely so as to avoid the risk of being let down is not the solution. Why not? Because being mistrustful of others robs us of our own happiness. To lead a contented life, we need relationships based on mutual trust.
“Trust constitutes one of the basics for uncomplicated everyday interaction with others,” comments the book Jugend 2002. “Everyone yearns for trust,” reports the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. “Trust improves the quality of life” to such a degree that it “is vital for survival.” Indeed, the newspaper continues, without trust, “a person can’t cope with life.”
Since we have a basic need to put our trust in someone, whom can we trust without running the risk of being let down?
Trust in Jehovah With All Your Heart
“Trust in Jehovah with all your heart,” the Bible tells us. (Proverbs 3:5) Indeed, God’s Word repeatedly encourages us to trust in our Creator, Jehovah God.
Why can we put our trust in God? First, because Jehovah God is holy. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah.” (Isaiah 6:3) Does the idea of holiness fail to attract you? Actually, it should attract you because Jehovah’s holiness means that he is pure, removed from all wrongdoing, and absolutely reliable. He can never become corrupt or abusive, and it is impossible for him to breach our trust.
Moreover, we can put our trust in God because of his ability and desire to support those who serve him. His supreme power, for example, enables him to act. His perfect justice and wisdom guide the way he acts. And his unequaled love motivates him to act. “God is love,” wrote the apostle John. (1 John 4:8) God’s love influences everything he does. Jehovah’s holiness and his other outstanding qualities make him an ideal Father, someone in whom we can place implicit trust. Nothing and no one can ever be more trustworthy than Jehovah.
Trust in Jehovah and Be Happy
Another sound reason for trusting Jehovah is that he understands us better than anyone else does. He knows that each human has a basic need for a secure, lasting, and trusting relationship with the Creator. Those who have such a relationship feel more secure. “Happy is the able-bodied man that has put Jehovah as his trust,” concluded King David. (Psalm 40:4) Millions today wholeheartedly echo David’s thoughts.
Consider some examples. Doris has lived in the Dominican Republic, Germany, Greece, and the United States. She says: “I am very happy to put my trust in Jehovah. He knows how to take care of me physically, spiritually, and emotionally. He is the best friend a person could ever have.” Wolfgang, a legal adviser, explains: “It’s wonderful to be able to lean on someone who has your best interests at heart, someone who can—and actually will—do what’s best for you!” Ham, who was born in Asia but who now lives in Europe, comments: “I am confident that Jehovah has all matters in hand, and he does not make mistakes, so I am happy to lean on him.”
Of course, each of us needs to trust not only in our Creator but also in people. Hence, Jehovah, as a wise and experienced friend, gives us advice as to the kind of individuals we should trust. By reading the Bible carefully, we can take note of his counsel on this matter.
People Whom We Can Trust
“Do not put your trust in nobles, nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs,” wrote the psalmist. (Psalm 146:3) This inspired statement helps us to acknowledge that many humans do not deserve our confidence. Even those who are held in high esteem as the “nobles” of this world, such as experts in specialized fields of knowledge or activity, do not automatically deserve our trust. Their guidance is often fallible, and trust placed in such “nobles” can quickly turn into disappointment.
Of course, this should not make us distrust everyone. However, we clearly need to be selective when choosing those in whom we place our trust. What criteria should we use? An example from the ancient nation of Israel may help us. When it became necessary to appoint individuals who were to carry heavy responsibility in Israel, Moses was advised to “select out of all the people capable men, fearing God, trustworthy men, hating unjust profit.” (Exodus 18:21) What can we learn from this?
These were men who showed certain godly qualities before being appointed to positions of trust. They had already given evidence that they feared God; they had a healthy reverence for the Creator and feared to displease him. It was clear to everyone that these men did their very best to uphold God’s standards. They hated unjust profit, which indicated moral strength that would prevent them from being corrupted by power. They would not abuse trust so as to further their own personal interests or those of relatives or friends.
Would it not be wise for us to use similar criteria today when choosing those in whom we place our trust? Do we know individuals whose behavior shows that they fear God? Are they determined to keep to his standards of conduct? Do they have the integrity to refrain from doing things that are not right? Do they have the honesty not to manipulate a situation to their own advantage or in order to get their own way? Surely men and women who manifest such attributes are worthy of our trust.
Do Not Be Put Off by Occasional Disappointment
In deciding whom we can trust, we must be patient, since trust is earned over a period of time. The wise course is to extend our trust to someone gradually, step-by-step. How? Well, we might observe a person’s conduct over a period of time, noting how he acts in certain situations. Is the person trustworthy in small matters? For instance, does he return borrowed items as promised and does he keep appointments punctually? If so, then we may feel that we can safely extend our trust to him in more serious matters. This is in accord with the principle: “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much.” (Luke 16:10) Being selective and patient may help us to avoid big disappointments.
What, though, if someone lets us down? Students of the Bible will recall that on the night of his arrest, Jesus Christ was badly let down by his apostles. Judas Iscariot betrayed him, and the others fled in fear. Peter even denied Jesus three times. But Jesus discerned that only Judas acted willfully. Being let down at such a crucial time did not prevent Jesus from reaffirming his trust in the remaining 11 apostles just a few weeks later. (Matthew 26:45-47, 56, 69-75; 28:16-20) Similarly, if we feel betrayed by someone we trust, we do well to consider whether the perceived betrayal is evidence of an untrustworthy spirit or of a momentary weakness of the flesh.
Am I Trustworthy?
Someone who decides to be selective about whom he trusts must be fair and ask himself: ‘Am I trustworthy? What reasonable standards of trustworthiness should I expect of myself and others?’
Surely a person who is trustworthy consistently speaks the truth. (Ephesians 4:25) He does not adapt his words to suit his audience so as to gain personal advantage. And if he makes a commitment, the trustworthy man does all in his power to keep his word. (Matthew 5:37) If someone confides in him, the trustworthy person keeps the confidence and does not gossip. A reliable person is faithful to his marriage mate. He does not look at pornography, he does not dwell on sensual fantasies, and he does not flirt. (Matthew 5:27, 28) Someone who is worthy of our trust works hard to earn a living for himself and his family and does not seek to get easy money at the expense of other people. (1 Timothy 5:8) Bearing in mind such reasonable and Scriptural standards will help us to recognize people we can trust. Moreover, adhering to the same standards of behavior will help each of us to be worthy of being trusted by others.
It would be delightful to live in a world where all people were trustworthy and where disappointments through breach of trust were things of the past! Is that a mere dream? Not for people who take the Bible’s promises seriously, for God’s Word foretells the coming of a beautiful “new earth” free from all deceit, lies, and exploitation and free from sorrow, sickness, and even death! (2 Peter 3:13; Psalm 37:11, 29; Revelation 21:3-5) Would it not be worthwhile to find out more about this prospect? Jehovah’s Witnesses will be glad to provide you with more information on this and other vital topics.
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Being mistrustful robs us of happiness
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Jehovah is most worthy of our trust
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All of us need relationships based on mutual trust