A lot of people have trust issues. Personally, my trust issues mostly come from a situation where another person hurt me. I had trusted them, they ultimately found a way to hurt me, and I became closed off to, not only them, but also to other people. I’m sure this issue isn’t just something I deal with, but a lot of people in the church do the same. It’s easy to observe this when I’m teaching my high school students. I ask them to share something as simple as a prayer request, and I just see them look around, avoiding the question or saying something surface-level like, “I need help studying.” We aren’t willing to share our sins and problems with those around us because we fear judgement.
Left to ourselves, however, we end up drowning in our problems and sin without anyone knowing. We think it’s enough to be our own accountability partner. However, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” The Bible calls out this kind of behavior. It rebukes the idea of believing that one should be alone, especially when we stumble. The sad reality is, we make an awful accountability partner to ourselves. We’ll make excuses and exceptions for our sins because we’re the only ones that know what’s going on in our hearts.
How do we go about fixing this kind of behavior? I’m no expert in this area, but I can offer two practical ways that have helped my own trust issues. It’s key to point out that we actually have trust issues not only towards others, but also to God. I wasn’t going to God because I felt like He couldn’t do anything for me. If we really believed that God could do something about our sins, it only makes sense that He would be the first person we go to. However, because we truly don’t believe that in our hearts, we turn to other things first when dealing with our problems. We don’t trust God with our sins or our problems. This is where we have to change our thinking.
When we fix our thinking, we realize that the first step is to always go to God and lay down our sins and problems in front of him. When I am dealing with all my pride, loneliness, and sin, there is only one person that would fix all of that for me. That is, and will always be, Christ. He’s the only one that can destroy my pride, destroy my sin, offer forgiveness, and lasting comfort. Ephesians 1:7 says this, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”
Now, the second step is to confess your sins and ask for help from others. A lot of the times we expect other people to know we’re going through problems or were sad without telling people anything. I did that a lot. “Why isn’t anyone trying to make me feel better or asking me if I’m okay.” Well it’s because no one knows! Take a step to find someone you can talk to and be open with. Whether it’s a pastor, teacher, friend, or family member, we all need someone in our life that can help us be accountable. I should also note that it doesn’t have to be an immediate outpour of your whole life story, but a relationship is built over time. It’s okay to take small steps. Likewise, take a step to talk to someone. Be available to be someone else’s accountability partner. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Even something as small as, “Hey, how have you been doing” or following up with someone by saying you’re still praying for them. You really can’t handle anything by yourself, neither can anyone else.
Pastor John Piper says this:
“If a Christian brother or sister is weighed down or menaced by some burden or threat, be alert to that and quickly do something to help. Don’t let them be crushed. Don’t let them be destroyed. Don’t be like the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus said, ‘They bind heavy burdens hard to bear and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger’ (Matthew 23:4). Don’t increase burdens. Make them lighter for people. Some of you wonder what you are supposed to do with your life. Here is a vocation that will bring you more satisfaction than if you became a millionaire ten times over: Develop the extraordinary skill for detecting the burdens of others and devote yourself daily to making them lighter.”