Posted by: Bob Clark | May 1, 2009

Suspicious Minds

A church leader once told me that one of the saddest things he had to deal with was people who have been taught to be suspicious of everybody and everything. People who don’t trust elders. People who don’t trust ministers. People who don’t trust family. People who don’t trust friends. People who probably don’t trust themselves.

Have you ever met anyone like that?

Do you think such people even trust God?

Where does the lack of trust originate? Is it rooted in some past experience of being burned? Or has suspicion been taught as a mark of discipleship?

Have you ever struggled with trust issues?

I certainly don’t have all the answers. Truth is, I probably don’t even know many of the right questions to ask in discussing this whole topic. But I do want to share some scripture for those who might be struggling with trust issues, those who might be captive to constant suspicions, or those who might be spiritual leaders of such strugglers.

1. God’s people are supposed to be different from the old order of animosity and suspicion.

Ephesians 2:13-15 (The Message)
“But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large. Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.

The Messiah has made things up between us so that we’re now together on this, both non-Jewish outsiders and Jewish insiders. He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.”

2. Stirring up suspicion is not a mark of a healthy ministry.

1 Timothy 6:3-5 (New Living Translation)
“Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.”

3. Partnership and trust are more appropriate for church relationships than mistrust and suspicion.

2 Corinthians 1:23-24 (The Message)
“Now, are you ready for the real reason I didn’t visit you in Corinth? As God is my witness, the only reason I didn’t come was to spare you pain. I was being considerate of you, not indifferent, not manipulative.

We’re not in charge of how you live out the faith, looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical. We’re partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant. I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours.”

O dear God,
I praise Your name.
For You are faithful.
I trust You.
Help me when my trust for You grows weak.

Help me to trust others, especially my fellow Christians, my ministry partners, and my church leaders.
Forgive me for the times I have had evil suspicions in my heart and mind.
Heal the wounds of past experiences where I have been burned, that I might be free to love, accept, and trust.
Deliver me from the attacks of the evil one, who wants me to mistrust and harbor evil suspicions.

Empower me to live a trustworthy life.
I want to be faithful to You and others.
Forgive me for times when I have violated the trust of others.
Heal them from pain I may have caused by my faithlessness.

In Jesus’ name,
AMEN.

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