Monday, April 21, 2014

A Mathematical View of Trust

I've been learning graphing in school recently, and I thought I would share some of what I am learning.

If I showed you a graph with two lines on it, and one reached to 6 and the other simply reached to 2, and asked you which line was longer, you'd answer with ease.  "The one to 6, of course."

But you would not have the whole picture.

If you backed off a little, you'd see that the lines go down beyond zero along the y axis into negative.  One line starts at -1 and goes to 6.  The other one starts at -8 and goes to 2.

Now which one would you say is longer?

It is very easy to misjudge when you only see what is visible above zero.

A person in my life recently threw me for a loop when he told me that because of my "low trust", he would not be there for me in a place where I had depended on him being.  It had started out with him doing something that made me very uncomfortable with how he approached something, so I questioned him on it.  Instead of hearing my discomfort about the situation, and attempting to understand me and reassure my fears of the situation and prove himself to be trustworthy, he told me that because of my low level of trust, he was going to walk away.

I felt like I had been punched in the gut.  Because I had trusted this person.  Likely more than I had trusted many people.

After sleeping off some of the pain, and going to a very dear friend of mine to share where I was and going to my husband for comfort, I began to think rationally.

God has not rejected me.  He hasn't.  It is that simple.  Sometimes people do, and that is very painful.  But God hasn't.  God is not even in people's rejection of me. He does not condone it or appreciate it.

I sat and wrote out verses about God's acceptance of us.  I wrote in beautiful calligraphy on my wrists, "Accepted".  I went back to the basics of what I know.  Who God is.  What He is like.  What He says.

I asked God to help me understand and heal.

And this morning, God spoke.  He spoke quietly to me and showed me a picture of an injured child, one injured at birth whose legs will never be "normal".  I saw that child walking down the hall with his awkward gait, sometimes tripping, and getting up and going.  This child will never walk with the ease of the ones whose legs have never had any injury.  But this child walks!

No one in their right mind would say to the child as he limps down the hall with a grin on his face, "Hey, you don't walk very well at all, you know.  In fact, you can barely walk at all!"  Anyone hearing that would immediately want to punch the speaker.  Instead, we see this child, and we smile.  Our eyes soften and we say, "Wow!  Good job!  Look at how well you are doing!"  We are,deep within our soul, proud of this child, not for the perfection of his walk, but that he is walking!  In order to do that, he had to overcome more, be more determined, and push through so much more, but here he is walking!  He's a great walker because he walks despite all that life handed him.

Some people in the church, sadly, do not hold the same view of people who have been injured in other ways.  This is not the first time I have heard, in the community of believers, criticism of people for "low trust".  It hurts me on a deep level.

If a child is born in love, cared for and protected as a child, loved deeply, and treated justly and with respect his entire growing up years, we look at him and admire how trusting he is.  He has had little to no reason not to be.  But if a child has been injured, rejected, or suffered pain, that child will struggle to trust.  It is very easy to look at that person and say, "They don't trust well.  They have low trust."  But that is an external view, a superficial view that does not see below the surface.

First of all, there is no information on what will happen when the person who grew up with no assaults on their trust is in a situation where trust is challenged.  That trust is basically untested.

But more importantly, the person whose trust may have been judged as "low" may actually be strong.  Because one who carries on despite pain or injury is actually very strong.  They may not win the race, but the strength that enables them to limp across the finish line half a mile behind everyone else is commendable.  The fact that despite so many assaults against their trust, they still get up and attempt to trust one more time  tells you that they actually have a very strong trust - one strong enough to continue on despite attacks against it.

It is time for the church to stop valuing people on the appearance of perfection and look beyond the superficial.  If we as a church can not learn to take in the injured and rejoice when they walk - yes, with a limp -, then we have no voice in the world.  Today, I am not being silent, but am speaking up. I am not alone.  The church is full of people injured by sin.  It is time to stop calling our trust into question and judging us on it.  Yes, I may not trust easily, but I still keep trying, and that is God's redemptive work in my life!

And even more importantly, I have a Father who will not reject me and who smiles and applauds my efforts as I limp down that hallway and whose eyes soften in pride when I get up and keep struggling on after I trip.

It is time to stop judging the length of a line simply by what reaches above zero.

1 comment:

Joyful said...

So true, so true. It always amazes me how the "church" is ill equipped to help the hurting.