Is Your Trust-Meter Broken?

We’ve been in this series at Cross Point entitled Baggage. We’ve been talking about the emotional baggage we all carry from relationship to relationship. This baggage keeps us from loving in the way we’ve been called and created to love.

Yesterday we talked about the baggage of betrayal and abandonment.

We all have a trust-meter. Every time you interact with another person your trust-meter goes up or down based on a set of factors that would include such things as the person’s truth-telling record, their commitment keeping pattern, their confidentiality, their consistency in character, etc.

All of this happens subconsciously. So when you have a friend that gossips about another one of your friends or doesn’t show when they say they’ll show or you catch them in a lie, your trust-meter goes down.

When your trust-meter goes down the natural tendency is to begin to withdraw. And generally the further we withdraw the more suspicious we become. This almost always either stunts or at least redefines the relationship.

Now some of you need to realize your trust-meter is broken. It’s giving you false readings. Because of the baggage from your past your trust-meter is all jacked up.

So what do you do? The wise person when confronted with a relationship where the trust meter is headed south will engage instead of withdraw. You need to engage in that relationship and sit down and talk about the issues. Tell them about the doubts creeping into your mind and heart. Find out if there is actually betrayal going on or if you’re getting false readings.

So tell me. Do you have problem trusting other people? Do you think your trust meter gives you false readings from time to time? What are you doing about it?

39 Responses to “Is Your Trust-Meter Broken?”

  1. janowen says:

    I’ve struggled with this in my experience as a minister. I’ve repeatedly felt betrayed and abandoned and it’s made me want to really guard my heart, to not put myself out there, to protect and insulate and emotionally hide. It made me want to quit. (more than one time) I got to the place where I thought I certainly could not trust any of the pastors I worked for and sharing my dreams for ministry was also something I could not trust friends, pastors or co-workers with. I had to choose to continue to take chances, to continue to open my life to others. It’s not easy and I still fight this. I am healing and growing.

  2. alece says:

    historically, i’ve had a very hard time trusting. in recent years it’s gotten much better/easier, but it’s still hard. i often have to be intentional about it — “forcing” myself to trust someone. still when that trust gets broken, my heart just clams up and it takes me a while to start over…

  3. Harold says:

    My problem is somewhat the opposite. My trust meter is most likely broken but it is stuck on “everybodies ok” instead of distrust. I seem to put discernment in my back pocket and just accept everyone without engaging my mind. I know on the surface that sounds great, he doesn’t judge and accepts everyone as they are, but it is not as great as it sounds when you have to live it out.

    My wife always told me I give my complete trust too easily. She is the master of discernment btw. I am just the little puppy dog who no matter what you do keeps coming back for more. It makes it hard after years of being that way to even want to enter into a relationahip. You can develop the attitude of “why bother, they never seem to turn out the way you want anyway”.

    So in short I guess my trust-meter is broken, just not in the normal way.

  4. Jennifer says:

    My trust meter is so broken. I don’t think there is anyone I truly trust with everything. I would really like to hear this series, do you record the messages? If so is there any way I can go about getting them?

  5. Kelli says:

    I have a hard time trusting spiritual leaders because I’ve been used and misunderstood in the past all in the name of “respect”. I’ve also realized I have had a difficult trusting God because Ive had men in my life who made big promises but weren’t able to follow through. I in turn have a hard time taking God “at his Word”.

  6. Pete Wilson says:

    @jennifer, yes, you can go online at to listen to the messages.

  7. alece says:

    pete – i looked on the cross point site after your last baggage post but couldn’t find the messages. maybe i’m navigationally challenged???

  8. j4man says:

    I would have to say that to a degree being in the ministry has me trusting people less because I get to see how people are constantly breaking the trust of many different things (marriage, family, church).
    It is something that I have to fight against (the lack of trust) because it can be damaging and a growth hinderance (both personally and church wide).

  9. Tanilan says:

    I have had trust issues since I was 7 years old. So much so that I have a hard time interacting with people on a one-on-one,up close and personal situation. I do fine when I don’t have to talk to them face to face, but I am terrified to talk to someone face to face. I fear new people, because I am afraid they are out to hurt me. Oh I do am friendly, and all; but in my mind I am screaming and ready to run.

    I fear other women the most. How sad is that?

  10. chilly says:

    We will always struggle with ‘trust issues’ with out people UNLESS we take care of our trust issues with God. Do we REALLY trust Him? C.S. Lewis said, “To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way.” – when this is in it’s right place, we’ll have the confidence & security to lovingly strengthen our other relationships…

  11. chilly says:

    *(change ‘out’ to ‘other’ in first sentence) – it’s Monday, typos happen! ha! have a great week!!

  12. Heather says:

    I have a hard time trusting people with “larger than life” stories. In the course of hubby’s ministry time we had several people share their stories with us … our heart broke for them and what they had “gone” through only to invest in them .. to find out what they were telling us was not true. We would have still invested in them without the lies and loved them the same. It makes it hard to trust those who actually do have those stories for real when you have had others take advantage of you in that way. We try to trust but we are a little less trusting than we once were.

  13. Pete Wilson says:

    Right on Chilly! Love that CS Lewis quote.

  14. I used to be extremely trusting of people. Maybe too much so. Which has resulted in getting betrayed and hurt so many times it hurts to recount them. Sometimes by the same people repeatedly. What you said struck a note with me though. I think one thing I did wrong was retreating, instead of engaging. I HATE confrontation, so this would explain why I chose that but still. Make me wonder if maybe some of the outcomes could have been different if I hadn’t run fast the other way once though I saw hurt coming my way.

    These days, I tend not to be quite as trusting of people as I used to be, but I’d say I still risk it quite often. Life is just too darn short to go through without relationships. And so, we have to learn to let go, be wise, and trust.

  15. I’m what my husband likes to call “gullible” I trust really easily!

  16. Robin says:

    Hey Pete, how ’bout a “weep warning” on this one? I didn’t actually weep but I did tear up which for me is a little like someone else weeping.
    I suppose my trust meter is way out of wack. When I chase that thought wondering WHO exactly don’t I trust, sadly, I think it’s other people, myself, and yes…maybe even God…Wow.

  17. sara says:

    @alece and jennifer: you’re not navigation-challenged, I think it’s hard to find from the main page. Here’s a direct link to the archives:

    Hope that helps!


  18. sara says:

    I have no idea if this is the right way to handle it or not, but I think I make trust and expectations interchangeable a lot. For example, there have been many times in the past where I’ve been told one thing only to be given another. Now, when I am told something by that person I really don’t have the expectation for them to follow through. If they do, I enjoy the moment. If they don’t, there’s really no let down because it wasn’t assumed to be a done deal.

    I don’t know if that means I trust less or I just have more realistic expectations? But I do know it takes less anger from me when things don’t work out and more joy fills me when it does.

    Does that make sense? I never realized it until this question was posed, but I guess the two, trust and expectations, run together for me a lot.


  19. katelynjane says:

    It’s so amazing to see a church preaching something like this! It’s such a deep subject, you don’t see many churches helping their congregation through this type of subject very often. I’m so impressed!

    Keep it up Pete, God will bless you for blessing your church like this!

  20. […] topic is called Is Your Trust Meter Broken!  And it really got me […]

  21. my trust-meter has been smashed quite a few times in my life. what i am doing to fix it, is a lot of counseling with an incredible woman who allows me to be very real but how throws me into God with each bit of advice. i am quite blessed even though the wounds are still deeper than i’d like.

  22. alece says:

    sara — thank you SO MUCH for the link!

  23. lwayswright says:

    I do have trust issues, always have! However, I am learning as I get older to talk about it, to focus on grace and forgiveness and to rebuild relationships instead of watching them fall apart. It is a tough and long road and not without it’s pot holes, but God’s grace is great and his faithfulness to me is and always has been what sustains me.

  24. rg says:

    Yeah, my trust meter is jacked up. In fact, I sometimes wonder if I’m even capable of having a meaningful relationship with any male and I’m married!

  25. danielle says:


    I just signed into WordPress and this post (with your picture) was right there listed under “News in Religion!” Look at you!

  26. simplemathfinancialsolutions says: We All Love reading your post…. Keep it coming

  27. jenn3 says:

    Yeah, mine’s probably broken. I’m divorced and the whole thing was different than most “normal” divorces. I would have an extremely hard time being in another relationship. Plus, I have my two year old to worry about. If God wants me in a relationship, He’ll have to show me that it’s His will, because I don’t trust my judgement anymore.

  28. Monica Hunt says:

    I needed to read this today. I have no problem trusting my husband but when it comes friendships…It’s incredibly difficult for me to trust.
    I don’t go to CP but this sounds like an amazing series that is impacting many!

  29. jehingr says:

    I have been questioning myself about finding my way back to the church. An old friend of mine from college days is the pastor at the church I attended as a child. I spoke with him, and he suggested that I attend his discussion group.

    It was going pretty well with the group, even though at 47 I was the youngest person there by a margin of 20 years. But as the discussion wrapped up, the good reverend started to discuss the family of a parishioner who recently passed away. He told the group how much the widow was getting in Social Security every month and how much she was getting from her departed husband’s pension.

    Now, he didn’t do this with an eye towards organizing any help for her – it was just idle gossip! So now my search continues – my trust meter gave off a loud and clear warning bell! If the pastor can’t be trusted to keep this widow’s finances private, how can I trust him to minister to me?

  30. Last night at our woman’s meeting we prayed for a lady who’s daughter had cancer and now she has brain cancer, I honestly thought “what if she’s lying like the Healer guy? I bet she just wants attention”. Yes, I thought that and I’m admitting it. I immediately rebuked myself and ask God to forgive me and heal her..yea, my trust meter is whacked.

  31. Guess I am a lil late on this post…but I just had to say something.
    Tuff topic for me. I have never had trust issues until recent.But oh Boy I do now.
    There is someone very close to me that I have really been not trusting with.
    Red lights keep going off when I am with them..and the first time I met them they asked me to trust them—Strange—-
    All I really want to do is to be able to trust them ….I have however learned to put my trust in God…because we all fall short.And I trust God will take care of all that is with me when I am with that person.
    *I have found also Prayer changes all things*

  32. Jill Shaw says:

    I linked to you on
    Very relevant relational topic with the “trust” word thrown around so casually during elections. Many of my readers are in New Zealand where another election is taking place.

  33. krista says:

    i really enjoyed Sunday’s sermon, Pete. i didn’t used to have trouble trusting people. i think i gave trust too freely, personally, and i got burned because of it. it takes awhile for me to be able to trust in any relationship, and if that trust gets broken, it’s really hard for me to get over that, let alone for that person to regain that trust. i’m working on it, though.

  34. Alison says:

    I hate that I have a problem with trusting my husband due to the past years when alcohol overtook his life. Many many lies, so learning to trust him again now that he is sober is very hard.
    By the way, I love that I can listen to the archive sermon series on Cross Point’s site. I am really enjoying them and I know if ever I had to move to Nashville, I know what church I would attend!

  35. Tommy says:

    i loved reading this.
    not only because i have had my trust broken, but right now i am being viewed as one who broke someone else’s trust…
    thank you.

  36. […] blog earlier this week, they talked about your “trust meter” being broken ( link ) as part of a “baggage series” they’ve had at Cross Point Church; it is, like […]

  37. Hi. My name is Rebecca Parrish. I have left a comment one other time on your page, but it has been a while ago. In that post I mentioned that I am an elementary school teacher. I am also a mother of 4. I am also the oldest daughter of 4. Not that you asked for all that. However, I can honestly say that my “trust meter” is broken into shards. I am the daughter of a divorce situation that only occurred in my adult life. I won’t go into the details of the desperately difficult situation, but would like to say that life in general has a way of breaking your trust. Where am I in this? I have pulled away from MANY MANY things and find that it is due to the fact that the people in life you are to depend on most are the ones who fuel that meter and what do you do when they are the ones emptying it? I see it everyday in the classroom as those kids struggle with the lives they live in. As far as I have slid with a very educated and conscious mind, how do you pull up those kids with no other avenues and show them how to trust beyond the home? This post seems like a babble and not really making any sense at all.

  38. Courtney says:

    Wow Pete what a question. This topic hits a little too close to home for me. I am actually struggling with this daily right now. I have total trust in my friends and no issues confronting them when I feel things need to be discussed. My battle right now is the wonderful world of the dating. I always seem to find something wrong with a the guy before I even get the know them. I know this is due to my last relationship failing. I am working very hard to stay open minded and being understanding, but I have found I am pretty tough on my possible dates. If I sense something is off, I just shut the door and do not reopen it. I know I need to give them the chance to explain, but they never get the chance. After listening to your message, you are right. Trust is a risk and more now then ever, I realize I am scared to open myself up to the hurt and failure that could be lingering in the distance. Thanks for the message Pete, it was a true eye opener and an area I need to ask God for strength to help let go of the baggage.

  39. […] Wilson, in Is Your Trust-Meter Broken, has the answer. And in my humble opinion, his answer is as right as it is counter-intuitive. A lot […]

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