“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Love Always Trusts!, by Randall D. Kittle

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As worship came to a close, I sat down next to my wife and more than three thousand other believers in a large auditorium that had somehow picked up the nickname “The Big Barn.” Worship had been so wonderful and the presence of God so thick and sweet that I felt a little “under-the-influence.” The conference host brought me back to my senses as he stood up and announced a special musical guest was coming to sing a couple of songs her father had requested, “Please welcome Tammy Sue Bakker.” Most of the audience stood to its feet to give Tammy, the daughter of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, a loud round of applause. She could barely compose herself as she explained how wonderful the presence of the Lord had been during worship. As she sang, it became obvious she had a beautiful voice, but an air of uneasiness fell over the crowd. I heard the voice of my wife saying, “Is that Jim Bakker sitting up front?” Despite my God-given ability to see over the crowd (being 6’ 8” tall), it was difficult to say if the person she was pointing out was really Jim Bakker — but it sure looked like him.

Once again our host came to the podium. After thanking Tammy Sue for singing, he quoted the verse from Galatians 6:1,
“Brethren, even if a man is caught in any sin, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” He explained how the Lord had warned him several years ago that if he failed to practice this verse, he would fall in the same way as those he failed to restore. Then he pointed out the total inclusiveness of this verse, for we are to restore those who are caught in any sin. Of course that requirement is not for everybody — only those who are spiritual!

After a brief introduction the speaker for the afternoon session was announced … Jim Bakker. The crowd jumped to its feet applauding. Well, not everybody stood up. In fact, I was one of those who sat there more stunned than excited. Jim Bakker had not been listed as a speaker at the conference … and if he had been, I probably wouldn’t have gone. I was struggling — big time. My Christianity was coming to one of those places where the rubber meets the road, and I was losing my traction! I thought to myself, “I forgive him.” That was a good start. Then, I said to the Lord, “Lord, I love him. But I don’t trust him. I don’t trust him any farther than I can throw him.” Through the years, I have heard numerous sermons and received many teachings saying this was theologically alright. If someone hurt you, God required you to forgive them and to love them, but until they had demonstrated a change, walked it out in their lives, and shown themselves trustworthy, you didn’t have to trust them. The Lord, however, seemed to be disagreeing with this theology. He told me to read 1 Corinthians 13. “I know that chapter, Lord,” I protested, “I’ve read it a thousand times.” God’s response was clear and concise, “READ IT!”

As I began to read this chapter in my Bible, I become oblivious to everything else going on around me. I was no longer just struggling with Jim Bakker; I was now wrestling with God. When I got to the seventh verse,
“Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres,” something happened that has only happened to me a few times before in my life. The words “always trusts” seemed to ignite, enlarge, and explode off the page all at the same time. The Lord spoke to my heart that unless my love includes trust, it is not His love. He showed me that although favor is an area we grow in, we do not grow in trust — it is a gift we are to give! Godly love does not give forgiveness while withholding trust. If I insist on determining when another deserves my trust, I am making myself the lord of my heart — a dangerous and idolatrous thing to do. The Lord told me that because of His faithfulness I should be willing to trust those whom He is restoring. So, I responded to the Lord, “Yes Lord, I choose to trust him.”

How was the message? Let me just say that Jim Bakker was powerfully anointed as he shared about the faithfulness of God in a message entitled “I Will Never Leave You.” If God hadn’t dealt with my heart, I would have missed this wonderful teaching. Although the message was great, what God revealed to me about having His trusting love for others was far better.

A Confident Commitment
The word trust in 1 Corinthians 13:7 is the Greek word “pisteuo,” which means “to believe in, place confidence in, or rely upon in the sense of being committed to something or someone.” The love we are to have for each other as believers is a committed love. It is love that believes in others and is willing to rely upon them, even when they have let us down and disappointed us. Our love is to be confident that the next time they will fare better. The love that comes from God gives trust to those who have not earned it, and restores trust to those whom it forgives.

This “trusting” part of love overcomes many difficulties. It binds together when the enemy would cause division. When Satan brings accusation and suspicion, trust brings forbearance and believing the best. Trust overcomes division and fear of rejection. It is not self-protecting. It says, “Though you have been untrustworthy, I refuse to discard my relationship with you just to protect myself.”

Betrayal: Breaking Trust
Satan knows that a united, loving Church would easily overpower him. Therefore, he is constantly coming against the loving trust God would have us possess. Betrayal is his strongest weapon to undermine our trust in one another. Betrayal is the opposite of trust. To betray is “to be disloyal or faithless to; to breach a confidence.”

Betrayal causes a deep wound, and brings a deep despair. It is so devastating to trust and so difficult to recover from because, as Michael Card wrote in a song, “Only a friend can betray a friend.” Although you may fail to trust a stranger, they can never betray you, for what confidence or loyalty would you place in a stranger? Only a close friend or relative can truly betray you, and that is why it is so unexpected. Betrayal often comes “out of the blue” from the least likely direction.

The most gripping portrayal of betrayal that I have ever seen was in the movie
Braveheart. This film follows the heroic life of William Wallace, a Scotsman who fought against the English to bring freedom to his native land. He leaves behind the family farm to gather an army to free Scotland from the rule of the English king (Edward I), and reestablish “Robert the Bruce” as the rightful king in his place. His army, having already defeated the English in one major battle, is now poised against King Edward and the English army.

Although Robert the Bruce pledged to be on the battlefield to support William Wallace and his troops, he fails to appear. The other “nobles” then follow suit and pull out, leaving Wallace’s troops greatly outmatched. Despite a valiant effort, the English army wins a decisive victory leaving hundreds of Scotsmen wounded and dying on the battlefield. As the battle scene comes to a close, William Wallace single-handedly pursues King Edward, who is riding away on horseback. The king nonchalantly sends one of his advisors back to take care of this “straggler.” This military advisor knocks Wallace from his horse with a lance. When the advisor comes to check on his condition, Wallace surprises him, overpowers him, and, with a dagger poised to slit his throat, Wallace pulls the Englishman’s helmet off, only to discover that it is Robert the Bruce!

The look of disillusionment that floods over Wallace’s face is far beyond words. The one who had promised to be there in support was riding with the enemy — giving advice and counsel. The man who had shaken his hand and pledged to fight to free Scotland was fighting against them! The very one William Wallace was fighting for to make king had attacked him to protect the English king. What a bitter paradox!

Have you ever been there? Have you ever worked to bless another, to further them, giving of yourself so they could gain, and then found yourself betrayed? Unfortunately, this happens every day in businesses, in our homes, and in the Church.

Restoration
Although it has been years, I still remember vividly sitting in the living room of one of my best friend’s home as he pronounced his sentence on my ministry: “no anointing, no blessing, no fruit.” He was a friend I had ministered to; a friend I had ministered alongside of; a friend I had helped in his ministry. In the past, he had always been the one I could count on to back me up if I had to share a strong word (one that might ruffle more than a few feathers). But now, I heard the voice of the accuser piercing me from behind. The enemy was using the very one I had trusted to protect my back as his weapon. How could the one I had shared so much with willingly be used to bring wounding and discouragement? At first, I sat nearly motionless, feeling numb. On the inside, I felt so hurt … so wounded … so betrayed. Despair and disillusionment seemed to flood over me. If this friend who knew me so well and whom I had served alongside of could betray the trust I had given him, whom could I ever trust again?

Following the Lord’s leading, it was easy to forgive him and begin to care about him. But a true love that would trust him and not keep “looking over my shoulder to see what might be coming” was very difficult. I kept coming back to the word “restore.” Restore means “to bring back into existence, to bring back to the normal condition.” Even though trust was no longer in existence, trust was the “normal condition” God wanted me to have. The Lord wanted me to lay down my rights, and to choose to trust him. I was called to have a greater love than I had before.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

What did William Wallace do after his betrayal? He didn’t suddenly decide God had changed his mind about what he was called to do. He went on fighting the English, working toward Robert the Bruce becoming the king of Scotland! He fought for the one who had fought against him. I believe this is a great picture of Job 13:15,
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” When we have God’s great love, we will help fulfill the hopes and dreams of others despite of how trustworthy they have been toward us. This is laying down your life for a friend.

Perhaps William Wallace was called Braveheart not for the boldness he showed on the battlefield, but the unending trust he bestowed upon others! He not only had a brave-heart, he had a great-heart! Trust that still cares for others when it has been betrayed is proof that we posses a great love.


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