Trust… Worthy?

Luke 16:10 NCV - Whoever can be trusted with a little can also be trusted with a lot, and whoever is dishonest with a little is dishonest with a lot.

Candor:  The quality of being open and honest in expression; frankness.  (BE TRUTHFUL)

Confidentiality: The state of keeping trust with private or restricted information.  (BE TRUSTWORTHY)

Proverbs 11:13 NIV - A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.

Proverbs 17:9 NCV - Whoever forgives someone’s sin makes a friend, but gossiping about the sin breaks up friendships.

Proverbs 25:9 NLT - When arguing with your neighbor, don’t betray another person’s secret. 10 Others may accuse you of gossip, and you will never regain your good reputation.

Hard question: Are you a Christian gossip or slanderer?  It’s uncomfortable, but a question that most American Christians must ask themselves and answer honestly.  The answers should likely disturb us.  When we live in a culture of such abundance, health, access to food, freedom from war and persecution… when we live in a materialistic culture that idolizes the individual…  when we are pumped with billions of dollars of advertising geared to make us feel discontent or entitled…  when we view complaining as normal an activity as waking up in the morning… it is extremely easy to be sucked into the devastating vortex of gossip, slander, and betrayal of confidence.

Harder question:  When is the last time you went 24 hours without gossip, slander, complaining about someone, and betraying a confidence?  Gossip and complaining about others can be like a drug addiction to many.  Will you take it one day at a time like in a recovery program?  Will you find a “sponsor” to help hold you accountable?  Of all the sins we rightfully celebrate when new believers experience deliverance and newfound freedom - drug and alcohol addiction, sexual sins, violent behavior, hatred, etc., why would we not expect God to miraculously deliver us from the SINS of gossip, slander, and complaining about others?  Was there any sin that Jesus took more seriously than betrayal? (Think Judas Iscariot and blasphemy against the Spirit, which was a betrayal of God by crediting His good works to Satan)

If you were to make a list of people you’ve hurt with your gossip, slander, complaining, or inability to prove trustworthy, who is on that list?  (Consider not only the impact on those who were the targets of your evil speaking but also those to whose minds you polluted by speaking the evil to them).  What little things can you begin to do to rebuild a habit of being trustworthy in this regard?  Ask God now.

Proverbs 25:18-19 NLT - Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow. 19 Putting confidence in an unreliable person in times of trouble is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking on a lame foot.

Lying about others is a form of assault.  It is violence against their reputation, which can stoop to the level of murdering their name.  How many stories have you told about others that you did not PERSONALLY confirm to be true?  If you shared untruths about others (even if you sincerely believed them), how deeply do you think you’ve injured them?  How do you feel when others do that to you?

How trustworthy to people consider you to be?  Would they consider you to be a person of your word?  Do they trust that you will follow through on what you say you are going to do?  Are you reliable or unreliable?  Do those who know you, live with you, work with you, and serve with you have confidence that you can be counted on when needed?  At what point is habitual flakiness just another way of someone being a broken tooth or a lame foot?  Finally, what amount of discouragement, anxiety, and frustration results when someone is unreliable and untrustworthy?  Does it build relationships or tear them down?  Reliability is a demonstration of love, while unreliable people selfishly do harm.  Love by being reliable.

Zechariah 4:10a NLT - Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…

In this context, Zerubbabel was preparing to rebuild the Temple to honor God, proclaim His glory, and promote Israel’s spiritual health and true worship.  Given that Christians are “the Temple of the Holy Spirit”, we may look for a parallel application in how we demonstrate our trustworthiness.  But what if we have proven habitually unreliable?  What if we have betrayed confidences?  What if we have tolerated a gossip habit?  What if our careless words have caused relationships to dissolve?  

Apply the prophetic encouragement of Zerubbabel and start small. Forgiveness of sin can happen in a moment, but rebuilding broken trust can be a lengthy process.  Intentionally rebuild your integrity, honor, and reputation with demonstrating truthfulness in the little things…trustworthiness in the little things…reliability in the little things… courageous truth-telling in the little things.  Do not expect others to give you big trust opportunities right away.  Do not despise small beginnings - for big things are built on the little things.  By intentionally developing a habit of truthfulness, trustworthiness, confidentiality, and reliability, you can allow God to remake you more into the character of Christ.  Remember the principle that Jesus mentioned:

Luke 16:10 NCV - Whoever can be trusted with a little can also be trusted with a lot, and whoever is dishonest with a little is dishonest with a lot.

Take the first small steps.  By the grace of God and the power of His Spirit…

Be truthful.  

Be trustworthy.

Be honorable.

Be reliable.

Be a life-giving voice in a hate-speech world!