Some people are disappointments. God is probably as happy with them as he is with us. He doesn't seem to have favorites, and he's forgiven each of us for weaknesses.
But we may have high expectations of our own about other people. "This one I'm mentoring is going to shine." "My new boss will be great to work for." "This coworker looks like a team player." "My employee seems like a hard worker." "The person marrying into our family will be a great partner for my sister/brother and fits into the tribe."
And then reality bites. The person who had our back abandons us. Our partner runs for cover. A teammate sabotages our work and claims credit for our ideas. The boss twists our actions so our reputation becomes tainted throughout the company. Our brother-in-law has an affair and leaves his wife and kids.
We feel shocked and let down. We didn't see it coming and hoped for better! Now we're discouraged by someone else's immaturity, their backstabbing for political gain, or their disloyalty and unfaithfulness.
"Whom can we trust?" we ask ourselves.
"No one," of course. Not even ourselves.
Every one of us is a sinner, waiting for the opportunity to look good. Given the chance, we secretly want to be the one who stands in the limelight, even if someone else loses out. Even the best among us occasionally pauses before shrugging off temptation to benefit at the expense of others.
But disciplined meditation on Jesus' character and practice in stepping back, putting others ahead of ourselves, pays off. We can live with ourselves when we're constantly looking for the good in others, finding ways to help them excel, and boosting another -- especially when no one but God notices.
"Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." I picked up a wooden bracelet this summer, clicking off the beads as I'm praying the Lord's Prayer. "And lead us... not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
Living daily within the prayer, I trust only God. I'm going to accrue debts. I want those I wrong to forgive me, to wipe the slate clean over and over, and to trust my best intentions.
Others will also step over the line to crush my hopes and dreams. Jesus knew that. But he wants my promise to forgive them completely, knowing a loving heavenly Father made such loving surrender possible. God already paid everything we owe and are owed, overcoming our disappointments through the death of his Son.
*In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. Psalm 118:5-8 NIV
*I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, (more than watchmen wait for the morning.) O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins. Psalm 130:5-8 NIV
*What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:31-32 NIV