Years ago, my husband and I decided to paint the trim of our house one summer. We only had one ladder so I had the bright idea that an old milk crate, turned upside-down, would be a perfect pedestal for me to stand on to reach the under-hangs of our house. And it worked for a little while, until I got lazy and tired of stopping to scoot it down every two feet. So in an unwise move, I stretched just a bit further to my right to see how far I could paint when BAM! The milk crate tipped over under my weight and I came crashing down!
Although my leg felt broken, the doctor said I only had a deep bone bruise on my shin from the weight of my body landing on the thin edge of the crate. All I know is it hurt bad! So much for helping my husband paint…
The problem with pedestals is they’re not always supportive–although they’re supposed to be. By definition, a pedestal is a supporting structure or base. But sometimes, you find it was a false base (like my milk crate). And unfortunately… [Tweet “When it’s people we put on a pedestal, the results can be catastrophic.”]
The Bible says, “Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psalm 146:3). You would think we could trust one another, but the truth is man is frail. Even on our best day, we are still just human. And honestly, “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint” (Proverbs 25:19). Sadly, we are all unfaithful in some area or another.
The word pedestal is often used to describe our idealization of another human. This happens all the time with sports figures, actors, motivational speakers, and… our best friends.
But when the pedestal falls (and it will eventually), what then?
Would you believe I had that bone bruise on my shin for two years? Not only was it painful for quite awhile, but the discoloration of it was visible to everyone much longer than I would’ve preferred. And unfortunately, that’s what happens in relationships when we put our trust in someone that fails us.
And the scar of it stays awhile.
But you can’t avoid people for the rest of your life, so how do you heal? How do you move on?
1. Learn to put your trust in God –not man
It’s a hard lesson, but God has asked us to love people but only trust Him. Psalm 118:8 says, “It is far better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” God is faithful. Man is not. It’s as simple as that. And if we’re honest, we know our own weaknesses and that we would eventually let someone down (unintentionally or otherwise). So wouldn’t that be true of every person?
2. Don’t rebuild the pedestal
You’ve heard the old saying, “Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me.” It’s really true. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt that the hurt they caused me was unintentional, but if I was hurt than it should be a red flag to me that I put too much trust in them. However, if it happens again, that’s on me– not them.
This doesn’t mean we avoid people. Doing that would be the very trap of bitterness the devil wants to snare us with. But it does mean we should be wiser and remember people are frail. God is the only One we can confidently trust. And I promise, He is trustworthy!
So if someone has hurt you, please forgive them. But learn from it too and don’t put anyone back up on the milk crate.