“Trust is earned.” I understand why you think that. You’ve been wounded, abused, rejected, and betrayed. You’re determined to protect yourself. You’re not going to put your heart in someone else’s hands. Never again.
I’m so sorry you’ve gone through that, and I’d never tell you to go back and put yourself at the mercy of someone else’s self–centeredness and sin. Even when healthy boundaries are established, I realize trusting anyone after being hurt is difficult. In your own strength, nearly impossible.
But unless you’re planning to live in a cave, you’re going to have to deal with how you’re going to build, or rebuild, relationships. Whether it’s someone you have history with, or someone you’ve just met, if you believe the other person must earn your trust, your approval, you’ve made yourself a god. The other person will never be able to measure up to the requirements your fear and pain demand. You’ll judge every word, action, and inaction through them, and they’ll never be satisfied—only placated through control and punishment.
You can’t trust anyone if your own heart is still broken. You’re right to not let anyone else determine who you are, but Jesus isn’t just anyone. You can make yourself vulnerable to Him. No matter what’s happening around you, or what anyone else is doing, you can trust Him with every thought in your head and every feeling in your heart.
Stop seeing trust from the point of view of the old you. The damaged you. That version of you sees trust as a limited resource to be protected. But the new you, the redeemed you—the person God sees when He looks at you—knows trust is the state of joyful confidence in which you can boldly engage life. Not because you can’t be hurt, but because you’re certain of the unceasing love and grace God has for you. In that grace, you can see others as God does—looking beyond what they’ve done, and treating them as the person He’s showing you they can become in His forgiveness, mercy, joy, peace, kindness, and healing.
Ask God for grace. You don’t have to earn it or beg for it. You just need to recognize He’s already made it available for you. Grace to hear God clearly. Grace to heal. Grace to be free of needing others to act a certain way for you to be okay. Grace to live in confident joy. Grace to trust—to see others as He does, not as your past wants to.
Your love, joy, and peace are no longer dependent on what someone else does or doesn’t do. You are complete and secure in Jesus no matter what’s going on around you. From that place, you can do what seemed impossible on your own —forgive the ones who have hurt you. Bless them. Let them go. It doesn’t mean you have to let them hurt you again, it means you’re free from everything they’ve done. You’re free to be all God says you can be. You’re free to trust again.