Circle of Trust
by Greg Quinn
One of the funniest parts of Jay Roach's film "Meet The Parents" was when the Dad character played by Robert DeNiro was explaining the “circle of trust” to Greg Fokker, the character played by Ben Stiller. He explained the importance of the “circle of trust” and how this trust affected the relationships in this family. While we can laugh at the situations of this funny movie, the context of the message is one that is very real and very important.
Trust is very important. Yet, this is something that in today’s world, ethics and integrity and trust are often overlooked. It is not important any more to do what one says one will do. Integrity is rare to find. Vows are so easily broken they are practically useless. Years ago we didn’t need contracts for people to do what they said they will do. Years later, it became necessary to write legal contracts binding people and businesses to do what was right. Today, even the contracts are often not worth the paper they are written on. Courts are jammed with civil lawsuits over breaches of trust. Divorces are so easy to get that the constitution of the marriage vow is of little value. Bankruptcies are at an all-time high. Many people’s personal credit is a mess because they borrowed and didn’t bother to repay. We all place value on trust when our expectations are in someone else, but many don’t consider that trust is reciprocal. So, when Dad explained the family “circle of trust” to Fokker, the importance of the trust relationship being one that is unbroken and revolves from person to person is very significant.
If trust is important, but our common sense lets us know that trust is earned and not easily given, how do we survive in today’s society in relation to trust? Who do we trust?
Psalms 37:3 says “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed”. Job said in Job 13:15(a), “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him”. Psalms 25:2 says, “O my God, I trust in thee; let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.” Psalms 56:3 says, “When I am afraid, I will trust in thee”. All of these scriptures were written in troubled times. Things were not good when these God-inspired words were penned. Both Job and David learned that the only person or thing upon which they could place their trust was the one true God, the god of the Bible.
Job, a very rich man, had lost all his possessions, and all his family except his wife, within a days time. He then lost his health, and was very sick and covered with sores. His friends had abandoned him. His wife mocked him. He was living a miserable existence, probably far worse than any of us have or will ever experience on this earth. Yet, through all his troubles, Job came to understand a very important truth. Though he was rich, he learned that he could not trust in his riches, and they could be very easily removed. Though he had a good family, he learned that he could not trust in his family relationships. Though he had a wife, he learned that even those closest to us at times are untrustworthy. Though he had friends, he learned that his friends would betray him. Although he was strong and healthy, he learned that health can be taken away, and he could not trust in his personal strength and health. Everything that we consider valuable in this world, Job had, and Job lost. Yet, the one thing that could not be stripped away was Job’s trust in God. He lost his family, wealth, possessions, position, status, friends, and health, but he did not lose his relationship with God. Job understood what we all need to understand. If we put our trust in things of this world, one day they will be gone. But, God will never leave us or forsake us. He didn’t forsake Job, and he won’t forsake us.
David is known in the Bible as a “friend of God”. David had a close relationship with God. He was a simple Shepard boy, but was singled out by God to lead a nation because of his integrity and his trust in God. He beat the giant Goliath that mocked God, with only a stone and a sling. He was appointed an heir to the King, yet the king at the time, Saul, was jealous. He tried several times to kill David. David ran and hid, as Saul and his armies pursued David in order to murder him. David left the palace, his position of authority, his friends, his family, his wealth. He lived in the wilderness, and hid in caves. He struggled to find food. He was thirsty. It seemed that everyone had turned on David, except one friend Jonathan, Saul’s son. And, most importantly, God. David recognized that the only person he could trust was God. And, he recognized that as long as he trusted in God, that God would sustain him. That’s why, though he feared for his life at times, and was away from everything that most would say was important, David could say things like, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed”. And, “O my God, I trust in thee; let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.” And, “When I am afraid, I will trust in thee”.
The Bible is full of stories of faith and trust. I could list many, but the list would be long and you’d tire of reading them. They all have the same theme: God is the only thing we can truly trust, that if we trust in God nothing else really matters, and that God loves us and will take care of us. God loved you and I so much that his son Jesus died for our sins, he paid the penalty for us, so that we might have a close relationship with the one true God, and that we might inherit eternal life and have life on earth more abundantly.
The “circle of trust” is important. We should try to trust other people, and we should be trustworthy ourselves. God expects us to be trustworthy. Yet, we should also recognize that people will fail us, and we will fail people. If left up to us alone, the “circle of trust” will at times be broken. Yet, there is one “circle of trust” that is never broken, and that is the trust that we can place in our heavenly Father. As God told Joshua after the great leader Moses had died, and Joshua was now responsible for some 4 million Jews who had spent 40 years wandering in the desert, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee wherever thou goest.” (Joshua 1:9).
There is one we can always trust, who will never, ever break the “circle of trust”. And, that is God.
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