Take Me at My Word
by Debbie Holloway, Crosswalk.com Contributor
It’s hard to be “wise as serpents” and “gentle as doves” at the same time, isn’t it? We know we should assume the best about people, but we’re also taught by our parents to be skeptics so that we won’t be hoodwinked by evildoers and manipulators. Sometimes, though, I suspect healthy skepticism takes a turn toward an unhealthy suspicion.
For example, there was that one time I didn’t want an engagement ring.
(Yes, you read that right.)
When my now-husband and I began to date pretty seriously, we naturally started discussing wedding and marriage plans. I don’t remember which of us brought it up, but at one point I told him definitively, “Just so you know, I don’t want an engagement ring.” Knowing me well, he was unsurprised and told me that he had suspected as much. We chatted about it briefly, and decided we liked the idea of getting simple wedding bands for ourselves and not bothering about a diamond.
In my mind, it was a simple decision. I’d never been a big jewelry-wearer, and I hadn't any personal desire to break that trend with a rock weighing down my left hand (especially when I'd be getting another ring at the altar). I'm also a thrifty person – vastly more interested in putting that hundreds (or thousands!) of dollars toward paying off my student loans than toward a ring. Sure, it’s uncommon these days for an engaged girl to sport a naked left hand. But jewelry companies created the idea of an engagement ring anyway, so who cares? I'm no material girl.
But some time later, after a visit with his family, my then-boyfriend hesitantly brought up the subject again.
“So…when I told my family that you didn’t want an engagement ring, they laughed. They said you really did, and you were just saying that you didn’t.”
A little miffed, I shot down any lingering doubt and then we chuckled. It was an excusable offense, as they didn't know me very well at the time. But a little thread of sorrow wormed its way into my heart: we are so quick to judge out of skepticism and stereotypes that we often mistrust even the word or judgment of those closest to us!
Do you ever find yourself mistrusting others without discernable cause? Do you live in fear of being mistrusted? Jesus had a few thoughts on how community should work among God’s children:
"Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.' But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God's throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
This side of paradise we’ll never reach a perfectly honest and trustworthy society…but are you doing what you can to bring Heaven to Earth today in your relationships and dealings with others?
For many of us this mistrust stems back even further. So often we are tempted to attribute to God our own failings and faults: we subconsciously think of him as capricious, floundering, and fallible. Let’s try to remember to follow the example of the Psalmist,
“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me” (Psalm 56:3).
And remember the words of Paul,
Intersecting Faith and Life: What goodness has God done in your life to earn your trust? Take some time to reflect on his work in your life. Remember to trust him when days look bleak, just as you did when skies were sunny!