Over more than a decade in law enforcement can produce some interesting quirks in a person. If fresh snow has fallen overnight, I walk backwards to my garage so that it appears someone has arrived home, not left. I almost compulsively lock doors. And I don’t care how sweet your grandmother is, if she’s doing something someplace that seems odd to me, I’m probably keeping an eye on her.
I’m afraid that these traits have spilled over to my wife. If a car has been behind her for too many turns on the way home, she’s not afraid to take a few counter-surveillance measures. And if you park on our street, near the house, she has your license plate (especially if you don’t get out of your car right away).
There are some who have called me paranoid. But like the saying goes, just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get ya. I prefer words like cautious, vigilant, or aware.
I know, however, that there have been times that my caution has crossed the line into baseless suspicion or unfounded distrust. It is easy to cross that line because distrust of other people is so sinfully natural to us (or is it naturally sinful). Distrust is everywhere; in the workplace, in relationships, and in families. And again, I am speaking here of “unfounded” distrust. I am not speaking about those situations in which trust is rightly withheld or regulated based on someone’s actions.
The distrust I am highlighting is more often than not rooted in a fear of man. It’s a fear that sees everyone outside our tribe, our family or even our person as a threat. People are out to hurt me and it’s up to me, and me alone, to defend myself. That might even mean launching my own attack before “they” can attack me. I trust only myself to save. This distrust leads to isolation and it is exhausting.
But this unfounded distrust is not for the Christian and should not be found in the household of faith. Hear the words of the psalmist, Cities Church, in Psalm 56:
“When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?”
We battle distrust of others by placing our trust in the one true God, the maker of heaven and earth. We need not fear man, for what can man ultimately do to us?
I am certain my vigilance has served me well in my career and has probably spared my life on a few occasions, but I have had enough close calls, situations where I know my efforts were not sufficient to save me, to recognize that whatever befalls me must pass through God’s hands first. Psalm 44 says, “For not in my bow do I trust, nor can my sword save me.” He alone can save, my trust is in him.
So, we begin with one another, church. Because of our trust in God, and in Jesus’ work on our behalf, we will give grace to one another. We will extend to one another the benefit of the doubt and think the best of one another in our life as a church.
This reminds us of our need to confess our sins. . . .