Is Trusting People Naive?

Had a great conversation with friends last night and I started thinking a lot about how we trust or distrust people. When we have a distrust for people in general, its because someone or many people have let us down in a big way that hurt us.

Many times when we expect the worst out of people, we get the worst. Not that whenever we expect the best out of people we get lovely gems of humans that are perfect. Maybe we don’t expect them to be perfect, but perhaps more like us. Newsflash: Since we aren’t perfect either, they will mess up. And they do. People hurt us. We hurt others. But there has to be a fine line of not being naive to getting walked all over or being a fool in trusting people over our better judgement, and having high expectations of people because we love people, no matter how different or similar they are to us. Assuming that people are bound to screw us over is sometimes a natural reaction because of the brokenness in all our lives, but it’s not the attitude we were meant to be held captive by.

Jesus was the example for us in this walking the line of being a brilliant man and strong, but humble leader, yet having faith in everyday people who would let him down time and time again and charging them to be the ones to carry out the biggest challenge of all. I wonder if we followed that example and gave others the benefit of the doubt more often and expected more out of them, they would rise to the occasion? Again, it won’t always turn out like we think, but we have to remember to be encouraged and persistent. God doesn’t give up on us, we shouldn’t give up on each other either.

We all let each other down time and again, like humans tend to do. I never want to loose hope in people entirely. We all get discouraged by people, but if we’re honest, we let others down just as much as the next person. If we thought people had more faith in us, what we could accomplish- what we were capable of, wouldn’t we rise to that occasion too? Loving people- truly loving people is hard work, there’s no doubt about that. It can be messy and unpleasant and depressing at times. No matter how many times people let me down, I want to try my best to be an example for my kids and the people around me on expecting the best out of others, loving them even when they’re not giving their best, and letting down my guard to show them a real person that doesn’t have it all together either; never has and never completely will. We can only strive for hope, greatness and loving with our whole hearts. Maybe that’s naive, but I have chosen to try to live my life with the example Christ has set and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit He provided for us to have on this earth. While many things Jesus did seemed and were counter-cultural, I think that really loving people is having hope and faith in each other to do great things- even thought it doesn’t seem sensible, almost irresponsible at times- based on the human track record. The thing I struggle with is that I’m pretty sure we’re supposed to do it anyway.

I don’t know if all that makes sense, but those are my generalized thoughts from what was swirling around in my head before I went to sleep last night.


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