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Why Is Trust a Three-Way Street?

hands showing trust as a three-way issue in life

One of most quoted passages in the Bible is Matthew 7:12, often called of the Golden Rule. It reads, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

It’s also called the ethic of reciprocity or altruistic reciprocity in some other religions. It’s a fitting way to understand how important mutual trust is in any kind of relationship, and why trust is a three-way street.

Yes, trust is a “three-way street.” We expect people to trust us. We appreciate and like dealing with people we can trust. And underneath this reciprocity, should be the confidence to trust ourselves. The foundation of a solid relationship of any kind, personal or business, is this three-way trust.

Strive to Be a Self-Promise Keeper

The first step in trusting others and having them trust you, is to be comfortable with who you are. Trust yourself to be yourself, your imperfect self. If you are afraid to open yourself up, it’s harder to trust other people. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings, and how they affect the way you interact with others.

If you have trouble trusting who you are, doubting others will open up to you in a trusting way, revisit who you really are. What are your strengths, your positives? Build up your self-confidence.

Most importantly, strive to be a self-promise keeper. Be honest with yourself. Keep your promises to yourself. This will serve you well when trusting others.

The qualities you expect to find in someone you can trust, are the same qualities you should exhibit. These include being an honest and authentic person, not trying to be someone other than yourself. Being trustworthy is being consistent and doing what you say you will do. When you are trustworthy, you are someone on which others can rely.

It's Like a Loving Relationship

Most of us are trusting of others. We initially give people the benefit of the doubt. Trusting another person, is very much like being in a loving, intimate relationship. When you love in an authentic way, you open the windows to your very heart and soul, to display who you really are. You make yourself vulnerable.

When we trust someone, we do so with the expectation that they will do what they say they will do, but sometimes we are disappointed. No matter how much we trust someone, we are investing our trust in imperfect human beings like ourselves. Our trust is also based on factors that may change for one reason or another, sabotaging our confidence in a person’s trustworthiness.

Trusting Jesus Without Reservation

There is only one person we can trust without even a hint of reservation, the Lord our God. Before God, we are totally vulnerable. He alone knows all about us. He alone knows what we need in our Christian walk. As Proverbs 3:5-6 suggests, we should trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. If we do this and submit to him, he will make our paths straight.

As the hymn, Trust and Obey, written by John Henry Sammis says, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

In conclusion, the Golden Rule is a good place to start, but also trusting in yourself and Jesus is a good place to finish.

Additional reading:

Listen to God's Words

Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:5)

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. (Luke 16:10)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14)

Also read: Psalm 146:3, Proverbs 3:5-6, Mark 11:24,

In the Words of Others

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” Stephen Covey

“You must trust and believe in people, or life becomes impossible.” Anton Chekhov

“Trust thyself: Every heart vibrates to that strong string.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think About It

  • How receptive have you been to trusting people in the various areas of your life? If not very receptive, explain why.

  • Are you a trustworthy person? If yes, describe three characteristics that make your trustworthy. If not, explain why?

  • Cite instances when you relied on your own resources instead of trusting others? Why did you refuse help? Was trust an issue?

  • Explore how Abraham, Joseph, and Gideon trusted God in the Old Testament. How can you apply these stories to your life?

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