TAKEN INTO THE FARTHEST REACHES OF OUR SOULS, this very question is the maximisation of our spiritual and moral capacities of forgiveness and grace. Just how far will we go in trusting people who deserve another chance?
There are some who don’t deserve another chance—wisdom guides us. But even those who hurt us can be forgiven; this doesn’t mean we trust them to hurt us again.
The vast majority of people do deserve our second and seventy-seventh chances—chances that are not ‘conditional chances’ which show a lack of trust. All they have going for them in this respect is our capacity to trust—not so much just them, but God, taking him at his Word.
“But, I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, ‘You are my God.’”
~Psalm 31:14 (NIV).
Just how far does your trust extend?
Can you be ill-considered, then forgive that person gracefully, never expecting better? Expectations are a horrible thing when placed on others. Yet, self-place expectations are entirely appropriate. Agreed expectations are best.
Can you be hurt by someone and whilst feeling hurt still have compassion in your heart for them? Keep your heart open. It’s for your own benefit, not so much theirs, though they will benefit. And in this we praise God.
Are you allowing God’s softness to flow through you, raising up and healing those buried resentments? Only God—and his love—can heal us of these. It is only God who is entirely faithful and trustworthy. He is our guarantor and surety of love. His love underwrites ours.
It just seems to me that people from all walks of life and all levels of social and economic strata are still so heavily impinged because they do not trust—or do not trust enough. They do not allow God to heal them enough to trust again and again and again. And often they don’t even see that this is the thing holding them back.
And although we don’t trust the person who abuses our trust badly or continually, we do forgive them, and in this way there is also trust shown—not to them, but through God. He gives us peace that whilst we must perhaps interact with people (because it might be unavoidable) we protect ourselves, but still we trust—God protects our interaction and gives us his assurance of his Presence. This is a peace that transcends our human understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”
~Psalm 20:7 (NIV).
Trust extension is an infinite concept.
Do we trust that the day and circumstances of our deaths, for instance, are already mandated and that we’ll be going to a better place? Are we preparing for that place?
Can we trust enough to hold off on the plans of our hearts, working hard for years to achieve them? Like, do we trust enough to start that university course we’ve been preparing our hearts for?
Do we trust enough that if all our plans came to nought we’d still be content?
These are acts of faith at the highest echelon of human spirituality—the journey to God.
Most of all how much can we be hurt and still have the resilience to bounce back without the sting of the hurt holding us back? We can get to that place where “hurts” simply propel and ignite the way forward—in a sense we can’t be hurt anymore because our faith is stronger than any hurt could be.
Hurts become irrelevant.
“In God, whose word I praise,
in the LORD, whose word I praise—
in God I trust; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?”
~Psalm 56:10-11 (NIV).
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.