Ever been burned by someone you trusted?
Most of us have. Sometimes it’s inevitable; sometimes not.
What I’ve found is that we’re often the one’s to blame. Not for starting the fire, but for getting ourselves too close to it in the first place.
I used to do it all wrong.
I’d begin a relationship by giving people WAY too much trust, under the illusion that it was somehow the “Christian” or charitable thing to do. In reality, it was just unwise and naive. Then, I’d “test” them, looking to see if the huge amount of trust I’d extended was warranted. If so, I’d give the relationship my blessing. If not, well, I’d get burned.
Over the years I’ve learned to put things in the proper order by practicing Bless, Test, Trust:
First, bless. We’re called to extend God’s love, grace, and peace to everyone we meet, right from the get-go. Jesus said, “Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s blessing be on this house.’ Luke 10:5. As Christians, we should lead with a blessing and desire God’s best for all people at all times. However, blessing doesn’t equal blind trust…
Then, test. After extending our blessing toward others, it’s wise to give them a degree of trust and see what they do with it. How will they handle that bit of personal information we shared? Will they follow through on that thing they said they’d do? What kind of person are they, really? It can take time to discover this, but it’s worth it.
And finally, as warranted, trust. As others prove themselves to be trustworthy, it makes sense for us to extend greater trust to them. Think about it: we like it when people trust us, and people like it when we trust them. All healthy relationships are built on trust, and the best ones have a lot of it.
Of course, you can do all of this right and still end up getting hurt. It happens all the time because people take advantage of the blessing, lie during the testing, and abuse the trust.
But if we’re ever going to have meaningful, dynamic, productive relationships with others, we’ve got to take the risk. The possibility of pain goes with the territory.
I find it intriguing and telling that “Bless, Test, Trust” is the way God himself actually relates to us. Just look at Jesus with his disciples:
- First, he blessed them by selecting them and lovingly calling out the best in them.
- Then, he tested them with questions and problems and ministry challenges.
- Finally, he trusted them with his great commission and the keys to the kingdom.
It’s as if this is the order things are supposed to be in.
How about you? Do you bless, then test, then trust? If not, why not?