Believing In and Trusting a Person-Part Two
Know Them By Their Fruit
In the previous nugget we shared scriptures in regards to being wise in being a 'fruit inspector'. Let me make it clear, God has not called anyone to go around and determine if each person they meet is bearing good fruit. However, when we are in a situation that we must determine if we can trust someone, we have an obligation to determine of the person is trustworthy.
In this nugget we will share an experience where we were Believing In and Trusting and individual that was untrustworthy. In order to protect the privacy of a specific person I have changed their name and some of the circumstances.
Through someone I do trust, I met Michael. Michael was a young man who just got out of jail and was on fire for God. He had a strong desire to be in ministry. I was with a group of friends and Michael was given permission to preach to the group. He did an excellent job of preaching and God used him afterwards in ministering to others. It was obvious that Michael had a calling on his life and that he was anointed. All of us were thankful for meeting Michael and had a desire to be a support to him.
The next day Michael came back to the group and wanted to minister again.
However this time he seemed controlling. But as he shared, it seemed like
everything he said was good. In fact it seemed so good, it was too good to be
true. WARNING-If what a person is saying seems to be too good to
be true, there is a very good chance it is too good to be true.
But I try to give people the benefit of the doubt. When Michael was confronted about his controlling spirit, he admitted he was out of line-this showed humility. We all felt that Michael had a charismatic personality and he was a nice guy, but at the same time were cautious about him.
I found out that Michael needed a place to stay until he could get work. After talking with him about some guidelines, I agreed to let Michael stay in my home. I thought that we could be a blessing to each other. Michael spent much time reading the bible and praying. I did not see any evidence of him being 'off the wall' doctrinally. Michael and my 19-year-old son started becoming friends. In fact, my son was becoming more interested in getting more sold out to God.
As time went on, there was something troubling me. It seemed that the stories that Michael would share were always dramatic. You always walked away wondering how truthful they were. But then I would just think that he is kind of a showy person. And I figured we all have flaws and maybe his was that he exaggerated at times. He really loved Jesus and most of what he spoke was 'right on'. And I did not see any real sinful traits. So I related to him with grace.
Because I knew what problems Michael had in the past (those he shared with
me) and knew why he had been in jail, I kept my eyes open to any repeated
patterns. And there started to be some warning signs. And as I would speak to
him about them, he always had the right answer. WARNING-When a
person always has the right answer, you need to be suspicious.
Because he was having a positive influence on my son, I wanted to give him grace and mercy, but there was a check in my heart. Something is not right.
It was time for me to be a 'fruit inspector'. Michael was showing signs of
being dishonest. WARNING-You cannot trust dishonest people.
Then, I caught Michael telling very obvious lies. When I and someone else confronted him, he denied being dishonest. We then presented evidence to him. He was only honest to the point of the evidence we had. And he showed no true signs of repentance with the things he admitted to lying about and doing. WARNING-If there is not sincere repentance, the person cannot be trusted.
We asked Michael about some other things we were suspicious of. He assured us we were wrong. However, because of the deception and unrepentant heart I informed Michael he would need to leave the next day.
I spoke with Michael trying to get him to see his need to get help for some areas of his life. I tried to give him hope. I let him know I was saddened that he could not stay because of his dishonesty. I told him that he truly is gifted by God, but he has some real sin in his life that needs to be dealt with and he needs delivered from it. He showed some signs of repentance-but I was suspicious. He did not seem to want to take the appropriate steps to get help. WARNING-If you do everything to offer help to someone and they keep having excuses, be careful in trusting them.
Later that night I found more evidence that Michael had lied to me and the other person. That was the 'straw that broke the camels back'. I confronted Michael and told him he must leave immediately. He left somewhat angry with no apologies for his lying or inappropriate behavior. WARNING-If a person is caught in sin and they deny it, show no remorse for it, do not ask for forgiveness, you cannot trust them.
Was Michael a sheep in wolves clothing? I do not believe so.
Could he harm others? Absolutely!
Can he be trusted? No!
Was he a wounded individual? Absolutely!
Does he need grace and mercy? Absolutely! But it needs to be in an environment where there are very strict rules and guidelines and he is not left alone. Is he willing to do this? Not sure.
Will I give another person from jail the benefit of the doubt? Absolutely!
Will I look for fruit? Absolutely!
So why did I share this story? So that you can see what the warning signs are in determining if you can trust a person. Each of us either produce good fruit or bad fruit. Yes, each of us are sinners, but do we want to live like sinners or like Jesus?
You cannot trust a person that has the following :
If what a person is saying seems to be too good to be true, there is a very good chance it is too good to be true.
When a person always has the right answer, you need to be suspicious.
You cannot trust dishonest people.
If there is not sincere repentance, the person cannot be trusted.
If you do everything to offer help to someone and they keep having excuses, be careful in trusting them.
If a person is caught in sin and they deny it, show no remorse for it, do not ask for forgiveness, you cannot trust them.
Notice that it has nothing to do with the sin they are in. It has to do with their honesty. It should be mentioned that those who seem to be the most dishonest is those who have addictions in their life-pornography, sexual sin, drinking, drugs. But anyone who has any kind of sin in their life and is justifying it or denying it, will be dishonest at times.
Remember, Scripture states:
"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
"So then, you will know them by their fruits.
P.S. Please pray for Michael (God knows his real name). Pray that he will walk in humility and seek the help he needs. Pray his heart will be broken in regards to the lying spirit within him. Pray that he will be delivered from the addiction he has. Pray that he will not run from or sabotage the call of God in his life. Pray that if he is really a wolf in sheep's clothing and will not repent that God's judgment will be on him and that he will not be able to deceive anyone else.
Copyright © 2001 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NASB).