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Celebrating 10 Years of Responsible Fatherhood

Trusting Yourself When You Can’t Trust Anybody Else

By KENNETH BRASWELL

There is nothing more devastatingly disappointing in life than to have a friend or colleague betray you. To know that someone you have trusted, confided and let into the inner most secrecies of your life, would then attempt to destroy you using that same platform of trust. Even more violating than the arrogant nature to which people engage in character and image assassination is when that impacts how you trust others.

I am not short of being involved in my own mistakes in life and whether the initiator or recipient of distrustful actions, it undoubtedly leaves a deep and painful scar for all those involved and to a lesser extent those who witness. Yet there is an indelible difference between acts of distrust done in immaturity and ignorance and those done in malicious intent and deceit. It is the latter, I attempt to address.

Typically when we find ourselves in the midst of the chaos and confusion of distrust, we tend to lose our sanity in the “who” or even the “how” of the matter. As a result we sidestep the fact that much of our answer is in the “why” of the matter. The “who” and “how” are more often obvious, however the “why” can be allusive; or is it?!

Recently I have been thinking alot about the prayer of Jabaz which comes from 1 Chronicles 4:10. It simply says; “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast (territory), and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.” The bible does not speak a lot about Jabaz and why he spoke this prayer, however if you mediate long enough, it gives some insight on our issue of “why” many people engage in acts of distrust.  For the sake of quickness to the point, I believe that “enlarge my coast” is at the core of why people do so.

A funny, periodically tragic and often times disturbing thing happens when your territory expands. We forget that expansion is a blessing. Yet to some, an expansion (blessings) can be seen as intrusive to them and undeserving to you. Thus, we find that intruding on ones territory can invoke interesting reactions and often times cause them to immediately protect, defend, and claim what they believe to be within their ownership or perceived right. Territory is not always confined to physical objects, but often times are intangible items of time, emotional space, ideas, work, relationships/friendships; etc. It’s important to note that everyone will not see your blessing as a good thing; maybe for you; but not for them. Therefore the response to your blessing is what causes people to show themselves as true understanders of God’s blessing or perpetrators to their own selfish wants and needs.

I am currently reading “Surviving in an ANGRY WORLD; Finding Your Way to Personal Peace” by Charles F. Stanley. In the book it speaks to how most people don’t see themselves as angry. A good friend once told me that anger is a secondary emotion. She explained that in order to understand one’s anger, you must first find out what they are angry about. Angry people are quick to justify and make excuses for their actions against you because legitimate and truthful reasons don’t lend credence to their envy, jealousy, pride, ego and selfishness.

As I have been thinking more and more about this, the real issue I believe could be my own. Quite frankly in who I call a friend. T.D. Jakes taught a lesson in 2010 called “Comrades, Confidants and Constituents” where he describes the difference in the people we call friends. What struck me about his descriptions wasn’t in who they are as people, but why they are close to you in the first place. Each of which demonstrates a certain level of loyalty between who you are and what you can do for them. On the extreme side, your usefulness too many is in your ultimate personal, spiritual, material and emotional demise.

My pastor said something to me that will serve as a binding principle to which I will forever live by, “your true character will be defined by how you walk with people who hate you.” What a horrible reality, yet sobering and necessary if you are going to continue to ask and expect to be blessed. The burden and responsibility of expanded territory doesn’t end with the receipt, in fact it increases. Most people don’t understand what it means to be abundantly blessed. If they did, they might rethink what they ask for.

I think one of the hardest things in life to know is who to trust. When you are right it strengthens your heart, when you are wrong it challenges your faith in life and people. I read a quote once that said, “Never explain,” because friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway. I’ve recently thought that you have to trust somebody because if you don’t, you begin to question trusting even yourself.

Charles Stanley’s book suggests that while you can’t control what people say about you and do to you; you can control how you respond. As my pastor also reminded me, Jesus was well aware of Judas, but kept him around anyway. Enemies and hateful people also have a purpose in your life. They may not be there in a way that makes you feel great, but the way you respond to them can contribute to you being GREAT!

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Mr. Braswell is the author of “When The Tear Won’t Fall” One Man’s Journey through the Intimate Struggle of Manhood and Fatherhood. He is also a national expert in the field of Responsible Fatherhood and Community Development. Visit www.fathersincoprorated.com or email me at kenneth.braswell@gmail.com

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