As a submarine sends out decoys to distract a missile away from the right target, so false thinking distracts parents and children from shooting at the right solutions when dealing with problems. Finding an online example of false thinking about RAD isn’t hard. One I chose randomly from a website of a counseling group in California posited that unless there is trust, there cannot be love.
Is it true that without trust there cannot be love? Is this biblical thinking?
- God commands, “Love your enemies.” Do we trust enemies?
- John 2:24-25 says, “But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew…what was in man.” Does this mean that Jesus could not love them?
- Can a mother not love her two-year-old without trusting the precious little willful one? I should hope that because she loves the child she does not trust him, lest she neglect to be watchful and he harms himself or habituates to getting away with selfish behaviors.
What do you think about the following propositions regarding whether trust is a necessary antecedent to love?
- It is often true that trusting a person makes it easier to love him. It is not true that I must trust before I can love.
- The belief that without trust there cannot be love throws a decoy into the mix. It displaces responsibility and promotes selfishness. The distrustful child gains an excuse and a weapon: “You have to prove yourself to me before I can love you. Now, hop to it!” Parents focus on the decoy instead of the target. Trying desperately to earn the child’s trust, they become child-centered rather than God-centered.
- The command, “Love one another” does not require “trust one another.” Love demands just the opposite, looking to the welfare of the other person even if it means risk of hurt and loss.
- It is understandable that repeatedly hurt children refuse to trust others. But then, distrust becomes a habit difficult to correct. We can empathize because these reactions are typical of people in general. But parents must, in humility and compassion, insistently call them to love God and love others anyway and teach them what the Bible says about how to do so. First Corinthians 13:4-8 is a great place to start.
- Distrust can grow into a habit that is difficult to correct. Then, the person learns to love autonomy (Prov. 18:1) and withholds warranted trust from a person who has done enough to prove that on a human level he is worthy of a high degree of trust, such as a spouse or a faithful friend. In these cases, withholding trust is willful, hurtful selfishness. It implies, “You’re lying to me.” So it subtly accuses. This distrust is a lack of love. Children need to be taught that trust in God is essential. Trust in those who have proven themselves is important for honoring the other person. Using sinful distrust to hurt another person or to think only of self requires repentance.
- We need to learn to think biblically.
(This post can stand alone, but it is the final post in a series. I encourage reading preceding posts as they build context for the conclusions here.)