Focus Scripture: John 2:23-25 “Because of the miraculous signs Jesus did in Jerusalem at the Passover celebration, many began to trust in Him. But Jesus didn’t trust them, because He knew all about people. No one needed to tell Him about human nature, for He knew what was in each person’s heart.”
My whole life I’ve struggled with unforgiveness and resentment toward others. Little did I know, this struggle wasn’t hurting anyone as much as it was hurting me. It ruled almost every part of my life. It made me unfriendly at times. It made me closed off and quiet. It made me bitter and it fueled my already difficult struggle with pride. It made me a coward. It truly became a stronghold in my life.
Recently, within this past year, the Lord has decided to deal with me in this area now more than ever before. And I have been so exceedingly grateful for His mercy and His grace towards me.
So when I first read the focus scripture, it really shook me. I thought, But Jesus didn’t trust them? I thought we were supposed to trust each other? What does this really mean?
Being very aware of my trust issues with people, this baffled me. For a moment, I felt relieved because I thought this was my permission to continue in my paranoia and bitterness toward others. But I knew that when I really broke the scripture down, I would find that there was much for me to overcome in my faulty thinking.
The Character of Jesus
First, let’s think about the character of Jesus.
As far as I recall, this same Jesus still died on the cross for the sins of the very people He did not trust.
This same Jesus still called and anointed the disciple Peter, when He knew Peter would deny Him as if they were never even close.
So, Jesus knew all about being hurt and betrayed by people, but why wasn’t He bitter towards them? Or paranoid? Or resentful? Or unforgiving?
The scripture has the answer to this difficult question, and here it is:
…“because He knew…”
Jesus knew not to put His trust in people – no matter how he felt about them.
He knew that they were merely people, and were inherently faulty – that they would not only let Him down, but would fail Him also. He knew that they weren’t capable of being completely trustworthy. And so, He didn’t trust them completely.
I like the way the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) puts it:
“But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because He knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man.”
The version here uses the word “commit” instead of “trust.” Another word for commit is “entrust.” Here this must mean that Jesus did not depend on them. He could love them, and be open with them, He could die for them, He could teach them His ways, but He knew that their shortcomings would not allow for Him to always depend on them, or commit Himself to them or entrust them with the responsibility of being and doing right all the time to everyone, including Himself. And this was proven even in Peter’s example. Of course Peter loved the Lord Jesus, but even He denied Christ when it mattered. He was imperfect. And so are we, and those around us too.
What Jesus was demonstrating in His mindset was essentially Grace
He knew that people were wicked, even those He had come to save. He knew that their nature needed to be washed and purified. And He committed to understanding this, even when His interactions were positive. If Jesus had believed that people could be perfect – IF HE PUT HIS WHOLE TRUST IN THEM – He would then have a reason to be resentful or bitter, because He would know that they could be perfect on their own and ALWAYS do what was right and NEVER what was wrong. He could hold them to the standard of the law, and expect them to obey in their own will.
But He knew.
He knew they were not. That they, His chosen people, His bride, would daily and continually be refined BY HIMSELF until He took her home.
So He never held her to unrealistic expectations, as if she were perfect to begin with.
This is what perfect love looks like through Grace.
Instead, He understood her imperfections and did not trust and depend on her every thought, word or deed. He understood that she was “finicky.” One day she would be happy, the next sad. One day she would be content, the next not. One day she would be here, the next absent.
His aim was not to judge His bride that He knew was already imperfect – His goal was to make her perfect.
This Same Grace Should I Give to Another
Grace created a buffer between Jesus’ feelings towards others – His overwhelming love for them – and how He should treat and interact with them. His love was perfect because of His grace.
Though we should do right all the time, we are not able to. And this is because of sin; it wages a war in us. But Christ’s power working in us creates the struggle in us against sin so that we are able to fight when temptation to sin arises.
If we acknowledge these truths, we can’t expect each other to have already attained, just as we have not attained. We should offer the same grace that Christ gives to us on a daily basis when we fall to sin to others too. And one way to do this is by not placing our complete trust in others, as if we are not going to fail one another.
As long as we are alive and breathing, we must fight this flesh. We don’t always win, but Christ uses our failures to grow us so that we can overcome in order to move onto the next area.
Yeah, you’re more messed up than you think. But His grace is sufficient.
When we come to understand this, that we all have weaknesses and are being perfected, we will better understand each other.
So no matter how much you love and adore your brother or sister, allow grace to buffer your love so that you may also understand your brother and sister when they let you down.
In other words, let grace perfect your love so that you may love them wholly even when they let you down, talk about you, disappoint you, lie on you, hate you and turn against you and you're still able to be there to help them and desire good for them.
Let me include a snippet from my daily devotional here as well as my notes that day that really drove this point home!
“If I put my trust in human beings first, I will end up despairing in everyone; I will become bitter, because I have insisted on man being what no man can ever be – absolutely right. Never trust anything but the grace of God in yourself or anyone else.”
-This right here!! My trust should only be in the grace of God working in a person’s life – not them or their limited abilities. I wouldn’t want anyone thinking that I can’t mess up, so who am I to think of another in that light? No. No one is perfect and I should leave room for them to mess up…Because the Lord does that with me every day and still gives me grace. This same grace should I give to another.”
We have enough pastors and leaders and saints who are hurt and disappointed and bitter and resentful, I don’t want to add to that number.
So I urge you too, let grace rule how you interact with others, especially how you love others. Yes, it’s true that Sis. Smiley is just the sweetest person alive, and yes Bro. Wise is just the most awesome bible scholar you’ve ever met, but calm down a little bit and understand that they aren’t perfect – just as you aren’t. They’re going to fail you, as great and sweet as they are. Don’t put your whole trust in their imperfect nature. They are growing just as much as you are. Love them in spite of this and serve them in spite of this; that is echoing the character of our perfect Lord Jesus in your life.