Trust? That Depends.
Trust . . . it’s a delicate issue. It’s been said:
“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.”
Without a doubt, we put our trust in both inanimate objects as well as living creatures. Also without a doubt, both have let us down. For instance, a trusted vehicle, all of a sudden, breaks down or an animal, that we thought was safe, suddenly attacks. Those breaches of trust are just part of life, and as much as possible, we attempt to prevent such things from happening by maintaining the car and keeping a watchful eye or distance from an animal. So keep in mind, even with inanimate objects and animals, we attempt to do what is possible so that our trust in those things is not broken.
But, what about people? Should they be trusted?
Everyone wants to be trusted. We have all heard the phrase before, “Trust me.” The reality . . . there is a limit to trusting other people. Although some may be shocked to hear that because you feel you are a trustworthy person . . . TRUST ME (HAHA) . . . there is a limit as to how much trust people have in you and me. If you doubt what I am saying, ask yourself the question, “Why do laws and even punishments for violating those laws exist?” No other way to say it, “Lack of trust.” Do you trust your spouse, children, or friends in any situation? I would venture to say, “No.” The reason you and I don’t is that we know there are situations which could cause them to break that trust. What is tough, is that unlike an inanimate object or an unintelligent animal, when humans break a bond of trust, it is a deliberate decision/act.
But, is there evidence that we do not fully trust people? Sure there is.
Let me just use one illustration and then I will get to my point. We have traffic laws because drivers cannot be trusted. First of all, we do not trust 10-year-olds to drive a vehicle; therefore, they cannot obtain a driver’s license. We don’t trust drivers to drive at a speed that is safe; therefore, we have speed limits. We do not even trust people to maintain their cars so that their vehicles don’t let them down (see above); therefore, we insist on inspections once a year to make sure the car is safe for all who share the road. In addition, we still fail to trust a person will adhere to the laws; therefore, we have consequences for when the aforementioned laws are broken.
So clearly, we do not trust drivers to make the right decisions about driving, but should we trust women to make the right decision concerning abortion or, in other words, should we have laws restricting abortions?
In a letter to the Caledonian Record, the Rev. Susan Cooke Kittredge, associate pastor at Charlotte Congregational Church in Vermont, voiced her support for an amendment that would allow the unrestricted killing of unborn babies, in a letter entitled, Trust Women With Their Health Care Decisions. In her letter, she asserts that the underlying assumption in restricting abortion is “women cannot know what is best for their families, their children, their lives, and their communities.” Ultimately, Rev. Kittredge believes “the inherent subjugation of women” is the issue at hand when it comes to abortion and she traces this idea all the way back to the Garden of Eden as she writes:
“Sadly, our starting point seems to be that women aren’t trustworthy. We can go back to the Garden of Eden to see the church’s interpretation of Eve’s fallibility. In cultural, religious and state realms, women have been perceived as needing the restrictions of ruling authorities—that were historically male—to coerce their compliance in many areas.”
You can read the letter in its entirety here:
So, let me be blunt: No! I do not trust, nor should any of us trust women to make the right decision concerning abortion. Before you think I am a sexist, let me be clear: I, nor we as a society, trust men or women to chose righteousness in many areas of life. Think about all the laws against lying, cheating, stealing, raping, murder, etc. Those laws exist in order to distinguish between what is right and wrong because many seem incapable of making such a distinction. To do these things is against the law. Secondly, punishments are in place for the purpose of punishing those who break the laws. Ponder that for just a moment. We have laws in order to define right from wrong, and we even expect people to break the laws; therefore, the punishments are in place. Why not just trust that people will do the right thing or, as Rev. Kittredge suggested, “what is best for them, their family, their children, and their community?”
Where did a minister ever get the idea that we, men and women, are basically good people? How did she conclude that we chose what is right and/or best when scripture is replete with a contrasting conclusion? We are not good people, and we make horrible choices. We are sinners and given the opportunity; we will choose to sin. All of history shows us that mankind cannot be trusted to do what is right.
Rev. Kittredge referenced the Garden of Eden, so let’s go back there. Would anyone suggest that God trusted Adam and Eve? I would, but not in the way you might imagine. God did trust Adam and Eve. He trusted that they would sin, that they would ignore his commandment regarding The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God trusted that they would make the wrong choice and in knowing that, God also put a punishment in place.
16And the Lord God commanded the man saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)
I believe it is worth noting that God gave Adam and Eve incredible freedom and only one restriction in his instructions; and yet, both Adam and Eve chose to sin. There is another amazing piece of evidence that God trusted that man would sin. God was so confident that Adam and Eve were going to sin (after all, God is omniscient) that God not only had the punishment in place; he had redemption in place through Jesus Christ.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, 5he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
God then reveals the plan for redemption for the first time in Genesis.
15I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)
Rev. Kittredge bemoans that society is distrustful of women; therefore, we should reverse course and allow women the right to abort/kill their children, but upon looking at the Garden of Eden once again, is that really what we gather from the story? Does the story lead us to the conclusion that we ought to trust women and men? Let me be blunt once more: No! In Genesis 3, there truly is distrust, and that distrust was not shown TO Eve, but rather demonstrated BY her (and Adam). Distrust emanated from Eve’s heart as she chose to sin. You see, Eve didn’t trust God and Adam followed suit. They actually misplaced their trust. They trusted in themselves which is exactly what Rev. Kittredge is espousing. Adam and Eve decided they could choose what was right from wrong rather than trusting God and his word.
Ultimately, the problem isn’t the “inherent subjugation of women.” The real problem is the rebellious, sinful nature of men and women that refuse to be subjugated to the authority of God. God is the one who determines right from wrong, not us. God is the one who determines if sex results in pregnancy, not us, but Rev. Kittredge believes that once again we ought to distrust God’s provision and place our trust in ourselves and, in turn, to trust that we will choose what is righteous and best. So, should we trust a woman’s decision to abort a child because it is best for her family . . . best for her children? The child in her womb is part of her family, and many are choosing to kill their children, a part of their family.
Putting trust in ourselves was a bad idea the first time, and the consequences were eternal. The same is true today. Our trust should be in the Lord through Jesus Christ. We should trust him in all that he is, all that he says, and all that he does. By the way, where we place our trust/faith today also has eternal consequences. Trust in Him.
5Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)