Trust. It’s often the bedrock of relationships, and the greatest gift you can give some one. Yet so often it can be a costly gift, particularly in the context of chronic illness. Our pride or past experiences can get in the way.
Today I want to affirm that the benefits of trust almost always outweigh the costs! So, without further ado… here’s 3 (more) reasons to trust your chronically ill friend…
[If you want to understand how trust can sometimes look different in the context of chronic illness, read more here]
3 reasons to trust your chronically ill friend:
1: Trust honours and affirms someone’s dignity
Let’s imagine two different relationships. In one relationship, phrases like this are common:
‘Are you sure about that?’
‘I can do it. Here, let me. It’ll be quicker.’
‘I really don’t think you should go to that.’
‘Remember to do X…. have you done X? X is important.’
In the second relationship, other phrases are more frequent:
‘Do you need help, or have you got it?’
‘It sounds like you’ve really thought that through.’
‘What have you already tried?’
‘I believe you.’
Picture yourself as the recipient. In which relationship would you feel more respected? In which would you feel listened to?
While context, frequency and tone are important (any of these statements have the potential to be helpful or hurtful), I think we would all prefer the second relationship. The words spoken there seem to be voiced in trust, and assume that the recipient is trustworthy, that is: reliable, capable and truthful.
If we truly love our Loved One, we want to take every opportunity possible to feasible to affirm their inherent worth and dignity by giving them the gift of trust. If the situation or illness has impaired their decision-making process, get creative in finding other ways to show your trust! Sometimes it’s as simple as taking the time to listen – in doing so you are trusting that they are worth it.
2: Trust in others is an exercise of trust in God
No one is entirely trustworthy, and so when we decide to place our trust in them, we are not really trusting in them. Sometimes we are trusting in our ability to deal with the consequences, or trusting in the statistical probability that it will be worth it.
As Christians, we have Someone far more trustworthy than ourselves, or mathematics. In choosing to trust others, we can practise trusting God. Trusting that he will give us the strength to deal with any fall-out; that he would grow us in humility when our pride is injured; that he will be in control when we choose to relinquish our own ‘control’.
In the context of chronic illness, we are called to trust that God has the future planned out; that he is a God of infinite possibilities; that he can use us and bring joy in sorrow; and that he has given our Loved One an inherent dignity worth respecting.
If we believe this, trusting others becomes a way of deepening our relationship with our Creator. When we remember that he is ultimately trustworthy, scary, out-of-control situations become spaces where we can take a step back and breathe, knowing he is at work.
Scary, out of control, situations can become spaces where we take a step back and breathe, knowing God is at work.Called to Watch
3: Trusting other people builds a trusting world
Remember how we felt above? How we would prefer to be in the second relationship, where trust is practised? That is our third reason to trust.
If you want to be trusted, trust others. This is more than, ‘what goes around comes around’. When we trust others, taking their first words at face-value and assuming they are truthful and capable until steadfastly proven otherwise, we become models of trust. Have you ever seen a couple utterly in love, tenderly and compassionately listening to each other, and thought: ‘I want that. I’m going to try and work on that in my relationship’?
The same goes with trust. When we see something attractive, we want it – and trust is attractive. It is attractive because it affirms the worth of humanity, and thus pays homage to the God who created us in his image. It is doubly attractive when our trust in others is the fruit of our trust in God.
But trust has to start somewhere. If we want to live in a trusting world – and how precious that would be, especially now when life is so uncertain for so many of us – we have to trust. The way we treat those around us has consequences, both for eternity and right now.
//So what do you think? Are these three reasons enough for us to give the costly give of trust?
May God give you the strength to trust this week, and in doing so may you pave the way for a trusting world.
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