Isn’t it funny? That phrase, on every dollar bill. As I put George Washington into the vending machine, trading In God We Trust for a pack of poptarts, the question rises in my head, “Is that all trust is worth?”
I’ve trusted in God for about 6 years now. That’s how long it’s been since I stopped hating the image of God, not recognizing that I, in fact was also created in that same image. So, in turn, that’s how long it’s been since I stopped hating myself. A lot can change in 6 years. It doesn’t seem like a lot of time, and yet, it also does. 6 years ago, the thought of In God We Trust would have made me believe we were founded as a Christian nation. But now, I see we were founded on the faith of freedom. Funny thing is, we still are not free. My phone and iPad have a greater hold on what happens in my day than the rest of me. That one dollar bill is the thing I chase, believing that while money isn’t everything, it is something important.
I have a saying that I use to explain myself. I smile and say, “the only thing I am serious about is my faith.” While I want this to be true, I know that it isn’t. Family is a serious thing. Trust is an important thing. Trust is something to be serious about. I trust someone less when they tell me to trust them. Trust is fragile, priceless, and beautiful. It has more value than the cotton blend we print dead presidents on.
But knowing this, I still trust people freely. My parents warned me against this, and I thought that they were being harsh. Both of my parents grew up during the Civil Rights Movement, so I excused their less trusting demeanor as a side effect of violent racism. “Only trust God,” they would say, “don’t trust people.” I brushed this off as a bitter statement, only meant to hurt others.
But the truth hurts.
I thought about myself. A liar, thief, manipulator, con man, and more. I thought about myself. A kid who hated his dad, who played his parents against each other. A punk who hated his own skin color, who wanted nothing to do with others. A selfish prick who only looked out for himself. And a question rose up: do I trust me?
See, I’m broken. I’m near useless. Many of the things that I touch will turn to dust, and be corrupted by sin. Why? Because my human nature is sinful. My intentions may be good, but my intentions are not my actions. And, by myself, my actions are sinful. And I don’t trust me. When I look at these hands, I know these hands have destroyed more than they have built. I know these hands consume, and rarely produce. These lips weave intricate tales, and the tongue controls the loom. Between my mouth and my hands, I am dangerous. I know that I don’t trust me. So why should you?
One man trusted me. He was perfect, complete. He was a carpenter, using his hands to build more than destroy. With his lips, he healed the sick. He painted beautiful pictures of hope. And he proved his trustworthiness. Everything he said came true. He looked at my destructive nature, my messy hands and dirty lips, and he cleansed them with his own blood, sacrificing his perfect purity for someone who could never keep himself clean. And he knew this, and did it anyway. His name was Jesus.
The craziness doesn’t stop with him dying to clean me. He then promised to use me, to use these broken hands to build something beautiful. And I trust him.
I’ll be honest. I will fail you. As a son, boyfriend, pastor, brother, friend, I will fail you. My failures are many and often. But Jesus hasn’t failed yet. And I don’t think he will. So in him I trust. I trust that he will use me for good, not evil. I trust that he can conquer my sinful nature in myself. And I trust that he will do the same in you. So I don’t trust you, I trust that God will use you. And I hope that you will do the same. Because we will all fail each other, will cause each other pain that isn’t even imaginable. Yet Jesus has caused no pain. He has taken it away.
So, thanks George Washington for the reminder. If it worked for you, I’ll make it work for me.
In God (alone) I trust.