Reflection on abuse of trust

Read the stories of Adam, Andreea and the Nigerian Guest.

A reflection on these stories – Mrs Geesje Werkman

Andreea was already young when she was placed into a system that did not met her needs. As a child she depended on the grownups that were involved in her life and therefore could only trust the people around her. Andreea trust others because she hoped that they would be able to her situation better, but this did not happen. Those people abused her trust and as a result, Andreea found herself in even more deprived circumstances. Importantly, Andreea did not give up the concept of trust, the kind she had as child, and finally, when she had trust in the right people, she succeeded, and her life was lifted to another level.

Adam appears to be in a life of poverty. Escaping this is very difficult, so if when an offer comes that would help him, he trusts this offer. In a certain way he has no option than to trust this person, otherwise he would have lost his dream of a better life. This is very common for people who are stuck in poverty without any way out. They keep their dreams. Those dreams can mean that they will give their trust to people who are not worthy of it. Those people can abuse that trust and people find themselves in worse situations. On two occasions Adam trusted people who abused him, but at last, to get out this hopeless situation, he trusted the right people and was able to find help.

Miserable situations also led the Guest into the hands of the wrong people. She used her concept of trust, to find a way out of misery. Through trusting the help of a client, so that she could escape, she was able to find the help she needed.

These three stories, of people whose trust had been so badly and repeatedly abused, show that it is also this same trust, when placed in the right people that can save them.

The concept of trust as a basic need in human life. The three stories show us how trust plays a very important role in people’s lives. This is particularly the case when people find themselves in an unfortunate situation, or in a situation of fear, hopelessness and danger. It is clear in these stories how their trust is abused by others in order to achieve personal gain. Looking deeper into the concept of trust, it is important that we recognize that without trust there is no life. If little babies and children would lose their trust in their parents or others that feed and nurse them, they cannot survive. This is also true for people with disabilities and those that are dependent on others for their wellbeing. In the Bible we can see how trust between human beings and JHWH, and later between individuals and Jesus, saves their lives.

Trust in the Bible

In the language of the Bible the word for trust and faith is one word, “pistis”. Without trust in God, life is lost. We can read in the Psalms that people in need call to God, they trust that God will save them from their miserable situations. An example of this trust is expressed in Psalm 43 specifically in the strong language which speaks of God as “stronghold.” At times God may seem absent or silent but trust in God is based on based experience of God’s faithfulness and so people can express trust for the future based on their past.

Another example is the story of Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan is testing Jesus, attempting to gain his trust through promises of wealth, power and glory. He promises Jesus many things, but Jesus keeps His trust in God, and recognizes the evil in the devil.

But the most exciting story about trust in the Bible is the story of the woman who bleeds for over 12 Years (Mark 5:25). She trusts Jesus so much that she even has enough to touch his cloth, and this heals her, she is cured, her life has been lifted to another level, because of her trust in Jesus.

Questions For Discussion

  1. As people “knock on your door” what is your response and what does your response say about you?
  2. What responsibility does your church have in meeting people’s needs and trust?
  3. When you support someone in need, it inevitably creates an inequality between people – someone gives and another receives. In our responding and helping other do we enable mutuality i.e. each person giving and receiving together?
  4. God also trusts us, He has confidence in us, like parents have in their children. We might violate this confidence, but his love is endless and unconditional. Could this be the source of motivation for assisting victims of trafficking? How might this inspire you and your community to action?

Prayer

Westwind
Wind of the Most High,
blow mild over the earth,
over all your children.

Ghost of Wisdom,
gather all you children
in a safe nest.

Rescue us from exploitation and exclusion,
because nothing in life is more precious than to be free.

Source of Light,
take the hand of our brothers and sisters.
Shine over them with your light
and unite us in a family,
where everybody is welcome.

Unite us in one family
where there is no longer battle over futilities
as love gets the better of everything.

Make us one people; do not play us off one against the other.
Do you hear us, friends?
Do you hear us, brothers and sisters?
Do you hear us, compatriots?
Do you hear us, representatives and members of the government?
Do you hear us, mother earth?
Do you hear us, God?
Do you hear us?

Make us one people; do not play us off one against the other.
We are fed up with separation.
We are fed up with battle.
We are fed up with loneliness.
We are fed up with exclusion.
We are fed up with poverty.
We are fed up with dying.
We want to belong.
We are fed up with separation.
Make us one people.
Amen.