By Irvin Himmel
Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint” (Prov. 25:19).
A total loss of confidence in other people can make one lonely and miserable. Some have so soured on the world that they trust no one. They have become cynical, suspicious, and bitter.
There are still some good, reliable folks in this world. And despite the carnal-minded and hypocritical among them, there are Christians who are sincere, God-fearing, and trustworthy.
Due to our inability to accurately measure our acquaintances in every case, and due to the deceptive manners of some, coupled with the fact that people do change, we sometimes misplace our confidence.
Examples of Misplaced Confidence
We sometimes confide in another personal matters which we expect him to hold in strict confidence. He betrays our trust and openly publicizes what we thought he would keep to himself.
We may have confidence in someone’s loyalty to the truth. When the time comes to stand up and be counted on the side of right, instead of contending for the faith, he defects. To say that we are disappointed is an understatement.
A report comes from someone on whom we rely as a trustful person. We believe what he says and proceed on the basis of his testimony. Later we learn, much to our chagrin, that he distorted the facts and misrepresented the whole affair. With a red face and a painful heart we must back track.
We help put a certain man in a position of responsible leadership. We show confidence by recommending him, or suggesting his name, or encouraging him for the task. He proves in time to be fickle. He may display undesirable qualities that we have never seen in him. We regret that our confidence was misplaced.
We have a great deal of personal admiration for someone. We have known him for a long time and feel comfortable in his presence. We esteem him a warm friend. We detect no weaknesses greater than anyone else might have. Then one day like a bolt out of the blue the news comes that he has done some awful thing such as deserting his wife and children for an immoral woman in another city. We are shocked, saddened, and bewildered. What suddenly happened to this man? Our confidence in him is shattered.
These examples could be multiplied. Many times we have placed some degree of confidence in someone who proved to be unreliable, fickle, untrustworthy, or disloyal. A trying experience may have brought his true character to light. Or he may have lost the stability that he once had. Faithful men sometimes change and become faithless.
All of this teaches us to be careful about the people in whom we con-fide, upon whom we rely, for whom we make recommendation, to whom we look for counsel, and with whom we share a common trust.
Broken Tooth and Disjointed Foot
Our proverb compares confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble to a broken tooth and a foot out of joint. Chewing with a bad tooth can be a painful experience. A dislocated foot or unsteady foot is unreliable. Trust in an unreliable man produces disappointment and pain. Putting confidence in an untrustworthy person is like chewing with a broken tooth or walking with a foot out of joint.
Trust in the Lord
Only the Lord can be trusted with the fullest degree of confidence. He is never wrong. He never changes. He is not deceptive. He will not lead us astray. His wisdom is perfect. His character is flawless. He is worthy of our complete confidence.
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Psa. 118:8,9). The Lord will never disappoint us nor fail us.
“Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies” (Psa. 40:4). The Lord’s word is our only infallible guide. The salvation of the soul is too important to trust human schemes and religious systems.
The psalmist said, “For thou art my hope, 0 Lord God: thou art my trust from my youth” (Psa. 71:5). Today’s youth who talk about “finding themselves” need to trust the Lord. When we turn to God we will find what we need to know about ourselves, our purposes in life, and what our Maker expects of us.
Misplaced confidence is trouble-some trust.
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 2, p. 12
January 21, 1993