How To Live With People You Don’t Trust10 min read

How To Live With People You Don't Trust

He was sure that they were talking about him in a way that would not win his trust.

Better put, he was sure his colleague was discussing the new idea he shared with him with his boss. His problem with that? He was sure the guy was taking credit for the idea. Trust is a big problem with this guy.

This was one issue he saw with the guy. He couldn’t be trusted not to want to have one over anyone and everyone – even if it meant stealing their ideas.

He mentioned what happened to another colleague. Guess what, the guy had done the same thing to her!

According to her, she had adopted an “avoid” strategy with him. She zipped her mouth when around him. She also avoided any non-official interaction with him. No need to show him any form of trust.

“So what are you going to do about him” she asked him.

“I haven’t thought about it” he replied.

But he was thinking hard

How was he going to deal with this “sneaky” colleague in a God-honoring way?

When You’ve Been Struck By A Smooth Criminal

The time-honored strategy for dealing with sneaky people is usually to keep them at bay. These sneaky people you don’t trust!

Give them a long yard – they won’t bother you, you won’t have to deal with them.

This is a safe strategy. No harm was done, everyone living happily far apart.

It ensures that the sneaky people don’t get in to hurt you and you don’t have to have your emotions wounded.

It also ensures that the people around you are the ones that would support your view of life

Having talked about this time-honored strategy, perhaps I can close now

There Might Be Be A Better Way

Part of the reason why most of us choose that strategy is because we don’t want to risk anything.

But the path of not taking risk is not always the Christian way. Some risks are worth taking because they make God happy.

And more than that, we get to feel and see things a lot more as Jesus does.

So, I’d like to introduce you to a riskier approach.

You might even find out that it’s a better way.

Before the Riskier Way

Anybody remember the story by Jesus of the king going to battle. According to Him, for a successful campaign, the king needs to fully assess his army and the army of his opponent. (Luk 14:31,32)

In case he needs to ask for terms of peace instead of jumping into battle

So, what do you need to have in place before you try out this riskier way?

You need to have a clear sense of who you are. And you also need confidence in God’s never-forgetting ability to always give you a platform to shine.

What do I mean?

1 – Clear Sense Of Who You Are: And this is not a Disney movie where you have to believe in yourself or trust your heart. The reason? If you are the source of how you define who you are, you are trying to play God.

Playing God is a role too big for even you – despite the fact that it’s your life.

If God made you, it means that the answer to who you are and all you can be will come from Him. God made you live on this blue earth – this means He sent you in with the tools to make the best out of every situation in life.

Start with that – you are someone who has a God-given ability to make a mark on God’s blue earth. And you can make a great adventure out of it.

2 – Confidence In God’s Never-Forgetting Ability: So, you know you have the skills but the opportunities don’t seem to be coming. You think someone forgot to bring up your case file at the Make-Things-Happen desk.

I guess even Joseph must have thought the same thing when he was in prison. He even asked the Cup-bearer to put in a good word for him since the tables were turning for him in three days.

But if the cup-bearer had done what Joseph asked, he probably would have just been an ex-con Hebrew slave. The delay in bringing his case up eventually gave him a bigger platform to shine. And he becomes Number Two to the big boss.

His story takes a cycle back to the original script when he had a couple of dreams as a teenager. The dreams were God’s quiet way of telling him that He had big plans for Joseph.

Big plans that came true despite the delays that little Joe thought he had along the way.

God never forgets and He gives the right platform at the right time for you to shine

And no one steals your platform.

No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves. It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. 

Ps 75:6,7

And Now the Riskier Way For Living With People You Don’t Trust

The standard practice to dealing with people you can’t trust is to keep them in a land far far away from you. Safe way.

The risky way is to bring them closer.

And it’s not in a Sun Tzu way of “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”.

A better way to explain this might be to borrow from the example of Jesus and Judas Iscariot.

On The Day Jesus Met Judas Iscariot

The strange thing about the relationship between Judas Iscariot and Jesus is that one of them knew it was not going to have a great ending.

And it probably wasn’t Judas – It was Jesus.

Jesus knew that Judas was going to stab him in the back and break his trust from the start. And as it turned out, Judas was doing that throughout the relationship by nicking a couple of denarius from the disciples’ big bag of cash. (John 12:6)

Despite Jesus knowing the end-game that Judas was playing for, He chooses him. And He brought him into the inner circle. He let him into His trust.

Before we get to the Judas end-game, let’s take a trip to understand how Jesus handled Judas.

Jesus Gave Judas The Opportunity To Become A Better Person

Judas was not just a space filler in the Disciples Serving Band – he was involved in important gigs.

  • He listened to the same lessons Jesus taught all the other 11 disciples and same opportunity to ask questions.
  • He got the opportunity to represent Jesus and do miracles – Matt 10:1
  • He got the job as the Disciples’ treasurer. Even Mathew (aka Levi), the experienced tax-collector (with probably an eye for numbers) was not considered qualified to hold.

The fact that he was the only Judean in an All-Galilean Disciples Serving Band did not in any way hold him back.

All the other disciples could see that Jesus trusted Him.

This is probably why they didn’t get the memo when Jesus gave Judas the bread during the Lord’s supper. “Jesus couldn’t be talking about Judas betraying Him,” they thought.

It must mean that Judas needed to make some more arrangements which only He and Jesus knew about. He was in a position on trust.

Throughout the relationship, Jesus was focused on growing Judas as a person. He did not lock him out because all his efforts were “going to be a waste”.

Despite the impending betrayal, Jesus invested in Judas Iscariot. He let him into His trust.

And this didn’t preclude Judas from getting the “tough talk” if he went out of line – John 12:4-8

But it was all done in the spirit of making a better person out of Judas Iscariot.

Jesus Let Judas Go When He Was Determined To Run Out On His Own

No matter how much you want to help someone else grow, they will only grow if they want to.

Judas Iscariot was determined to make the biggest cash-out whenever the opportunity came along.

He wasn’t in the Jesus Disciples Program to become a better man, he was in it to become a richer man – literally speaking.

His biggest payday was going to come from doing the easiest deal ever – just point Jesus out to a bunch of goons who wanted to pick Him up for a late night chat. Low risk, high return, nothing could be better.

Jesus had to let him go. But not before having the difficult conversation with Judas.

It was not a long chat – pretty short but everything that needed to be said was said.

Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.

John 13:26-30

The short statement was Jesus saying “I’m no longer going to hold you back, you can run as far as you want to”.

Jesus could say that because:

1-He had invested in helping Judas become a better man.

2-It was time for Jesus to move on from that season of life and the betrayal by Judas would turn out for a greater good.

It was a difficult conversation.

A short one

But it said everything that needed to be said.

How To Live With People You Don't Trust

How to live with People You Don’t Trust

The case of Jesus and Judas Iscariot gives of an example I think we can live by.

First, we should not be afraid of sneaky people. Rather we should focus on investing in them to help them become better persons.

We are not investing in them because we know they will become better. We hope they do. But it’s also what Jesus would have done.

We believe in God’s ability to help us do this and leave the outcome to the desire these people have.

If they really want to become better but just doing it wrong, you might just be the wake-up call they need.

Second, watch the times and seasons, you might need to have a difficult conversation with them one of these days.

It’s not because you don’t like them. it’s because they seem to be dancing to the beat of a different drum. And obviously, the music of the Sirens has become more enchanting than anything you are saying.

We don’t deal with people we don’t trust by keeping them in one far away section of our lives. We must give ourselves the opportunity to help them become better before we let them go.

This is what makes us different from everyone else. We run to the battle.

It is a wonderful thing to see a man or woman live in the light of something you cannot see. You can always tell when a person has an invisible standard; there is something that keeps them sweet when from every other consideration they ought to be sour. –

Oswald Chambers

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Tola Akinsulire

A married guy with a precocious son who works his (I mean me, not my son - I bet you know, right?) day job as a financial guy trying to make real estate projects have some sense to the investor. I like to talk about what I learn along the way as I live my faith in life (family, work, friendships, fellowship, community and anything else you can put here).