We speak and write a lot about giving and receiving love. And well we should. It is the whole deal, after all. The only command of Christ.
But giving a love that can be received by another turns out to be a little more involved than just doing something nice.
In several of our books we write-“The degree to which I trust you is the degree to which I will let you love me . . . no matter how much love you have for me.”
Anyone can give information, knowledge or facts. You don’t have to be trusted to tell another what time it is. But love is a function of the heart. So insight, wisdom and influence can only be received by a heart that trusts the one imparting it.
So, I need to earn your trust to love you? Wait, I didn’t want to do that! I just wanted to, well, love you. But Scripture reveals love as a process of meeting needs. As we say, “Anything else is just Hallmark sentimentality.” It is hard to find the Son or the Father ever speaking of love without it meeting a need. (“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son.”)
So, apparently, if I want to have the right to meet your needs with an action of love, you’re going to have to let me. That’s where trust comes in.
The term itself sounds daunting. “Earning trust”. At first glance, it looks like it could be a banner from the Room of Good Intentions.
Like a carrot dangled out in front of me that I cannot seemingly ever reach.
Or at least that’s how I can see it. For I know me. I know I will fail you. I will disappoint you and let you down. How in the world could I string together enough trustworthy actions to ever be allowed to influence you with my love?
So, here’s some really good news about earning trust.
· You don’t need me to be perfect in all my actions to trust me. You just have to be convinced I want to earn it. You just need to be convinced that I will own my failure when I let you down. You just need to be convinced that I will not power up over you to win.
· You really want to trust me,because you really want to receive my love. Once you catch a hint that I want to love you well, you don’t have me on trial, looking for a reason to not trust me. You are giving me the benefit of the doubt, with many free passes. And,
· I am also more able to trust you than I might give myself credit. Every day my inner person is being renewed and the new me is being revealed. I am fused with the God of the universe. I am Christ in me! My past history is not an accurate indicator of my present capacity to love well. God is working endlessly to keep maturing me to be able to give the love I so want to impart.
I have been recreated in Christ to want to earn trust. The very deepest part of me wants to love others well. God is way ahead of me. He is not only maturing my character, He is causing others to watch the intent of my heart. They are seeing it. He is paving the way. All I have to do is:
· Allow myself to enjoy the needs-meeting love of Christ. (For He never fails me, or has to mature into doing love better)
· Offer to meet needs in the areas I can.
· Don’t commit to meet a need I don’t have the capacity to meet.
· Own my failures along the way.
· Stay in the arena. I must not quit because I don’t love perfectly. And,
· Allow myself to trust others and receive their love. For it is, after all, the best practice for becoming a trusted lover.