A Lack of Trust
Do you ever have issues trusting other people?
I was reading through Philemon the other day and was astounded at Paul’s confidence that Philemon would honor his wishes. I kept thinking, if I were Philemon, would I be quick to forgive the runaway slave, or would I punish him more because he got one of my friends involved? (Not that I believe in slavery, but if I were wronged and the person who wronged me went to a friend, would I be quick to forgive?)
As I re-read the passage, I stopped at the verses where Paul thanks God for Philemon. He had reason to have confidence in Philemon, because he had heard about his love for God and all the saints. Those who love are quick to forgive. They hold no record of wrongs (1 Cor. 13:5).
But not all of us are like that.
Not all of us are quick to forgive, and often we do hold a record of wrongs.
Even with Paul’s confidence in Philemon, and the testimony of his love, I still find myself wondering how that story ended. How did Philemon receive Onesimus? Did he welcome him as a beloved brother in Christ? Did he send him back to Paul? Did he punish him for running away? We don’t know how the story ends, but it still speaks to my heart.
The overpowering question is, does it matter?
Does it matter how the story ends?
If Paul did the right thing, does it matter if Philemon was obedient. Obviously it would have mattered to Onesimus, but what if it wasn’t a person involved? Does the trustworthiness of someone else matter when it comes to doing the right thing?
Should we let our lack of trust in others keep us from offering help where we can?
Often times we justify not aiding others, because we don’t have faith in them as people. We doubt their sincerity or motives. Yet I’m convicted that the right thing is still the right thing, even if we don’t share the confidence Paul had in Philemon. Who knows, maybe our ability to love others could lead them to Christ.
And maybe, just maybe, Paul’s confidence wasn’t in Philemon at all, but in our great God.
Maybe it’s not about whether we trust people or not, but whether we believe God can use all things for His glory.
Will I still be tempted to doubt people? Probably. But it’s whether we allow that doubt to control our actions that matters.