“…Many people saw the signs He was performing and believed in His name. But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for He knew what was in each person.” (John 2:23-25)
I’ve become, over the years, more and more aware of the different verbal affects (displays) people use when speaking. Two affects many people use are “um” and “ah,” as a means of collecting their thoughts before proceeding. Two other common ones are ending a sentence with “you know?” or “you know what I mean?” My late grandson couldn’t get through a paragraph of words without saying, “you feel me?” Another one that has recently crossed my radar is the use of the word “dope” to describe something good or positive, as in “that’s dope.” I usually hear this one from people considerably younger than me. That’s good (or dope) I guess. It means I’m close enough to some that I get to hear them say it.
A very common verbal affect is saying “trust me” at the end of a sentence. Most affects don’t bother me, but for some reason, this one does. I sometimes have to work at not being cynical; and in the spirit of transparency I probably do a better job of hiding it most of the time rather than not feeling some degree of it at all. But when someone concludes their statement by saying “trust me” sometimes I just want to ask them “why?” It’s at this point that my wife would say, “You’re just being a smart a__!” It’s not that I don’t trust them (usually); it’s more about wanting them to not feel the need to verbally solicit trust. Let your statement stand on its own. Am I being a curmudgeon? Probably. I don’t mean to be, so just put this one in my category of pet peeves. You’ve got yours too, so don’t judge me too harshly.
Do you find it curious that Jesus was able to fully love those whom He didn’t trust? How great a thing that is! In a divine balancing act, Jesus’ agapē for those who believed in Him on the basis of the signs and wonders He showed them was not at all hindered by His innate knowledge that He couldn’t entrust Himself to them. If anyone had said to Him, “trust me,” His response might have been along the lines of “No, I won’t.” Nevertheless, He still loved them enough to die for them. That’s an amazing love! Pretty dope isn’t it?
A new and different dynamic arose following Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, and the Pentecostal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. His authentic followers (those saved by grace through faith, made new from the inside-out, no longer under the dominion of sin, and filled with His Spirit) were entrusted with the next stage of His mission, making disciples wherever we go, teaching them to obey everything He taught and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20). We’re still in that missional stage, and a big question for us is can we love those (our neighbors, in the parlance of Scripture) in whom we cannot yet place our trust? Is the power at work within you and I (Ephesians 3:20) powerful enough to enable us to enter into the divine balancing act of the Father and the Son?
We live in a complex and often confusing world that seems to be growing in complexity and adding confusion by the day. Even in a general, secular sense, mutual trust seems to be diminishing as fractures in social structures and previous assumptions grow. What is more needed now than the good news of Jesus Christ and His kingdom? And how can that message be conveyed unless we, His Church, take seriously what He said we are to be and do? By taking on the responsibility of and entering into His divine balancing act do we demonstrate we are worthy of His trust.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2019. All rights reserved for text content.