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Believing is Not Trusting… Or Is It?

Dictionary.com states the definition to believe as, (verb) “to have confidence in the truth or the existence of something or someone.”  Additionally, it also provides a definition of the word trust as, (noun) “reliance on the integrity, strength, and ability of something or someone.”

For a very long time, I thought they were much the same thing.  I used them interchangeably.  But, when I began to dig a little deeper, I realized there is a difference between the two, albeit very subtle.

To believe [verb] in something or someone is to have confidence in that thing or that person.

To trust [noun] something or someone is to rely on the integrity, strength or ability of that thing or that person.

For me to begin to understand the difference of these two words, it was helpful to understand the difference between a noun and a verb.  A verb is a part of speech which indicates action. It can either be used as a supporting verb or a linking verb.  A noun on the other hand, is a part of speech which refers to a person, place or thing, but it can also refer to an object, state, action or concept.

It may seem like I am parsing words here and this it nothing more than a lesson in semantics – but let me use an example to clarify.  Fill in the blank…. “Don’t _____ a person who keeps flattering you.”  Should you fill in trust or believe in the blank?  Either word fits, but the meaning is different.  Unless you have been provided context to push it one way, there is absolutely nothing wrong with believe. If one chose belief over trust when they keep flattering them, it’s likely they are saying things they think the person wants to hear instead of truths. So I would first not believe them and then because I don’t believe them I would not trust them. But trust here is a secondary decision deriving from the disbelief.

Trust is a feeling or a general sense. It has to do with the way you perceive another person or source of information. If you trust someone you tend to believe that what they say is true.

BELIEVE: If someone gives you information and you find out that the information is true, then you will believe.

TRUST: If someone gives you information and you accept it without finding out, it’s means you trust the person.

Trust presupposes Truth and comes after Belief!

It’s “I Trust You” Vs “I believe in you”. What is the difference? For quite some time, people have been asking about the thoughts of this. What does it take to trust? And what does it take to believe. Does it necessarily follow that if we believe we trust, or is it vice versa?

There is a story that has circulated around about a man named Jean Francois Graveled, also known as “Charles Blondin” I think will help to help you clarify for yourself the difference between belief and trust. He is a French tightrope walker who is best known for his numerous breathtaking tightrope walks 1100 ft across and 160 ft above the spectacular Niagara Falls. His most notable performances included crossing the tightrope with his eyes blindfolded, on another occasion he crossed on stilts and on another he even had stopped halfway to cook and eat an omelet.

It is also through these performances that he taught the world one of the greatest distinctions in life – believing versus trusting.

In one of his Niagara Falls exhibitions he decided to push a wheelbarrow over the tightrope, he performed it over the eyes of more than a thousand petrified audiences and like all the other previous treks, the wheelbarrow crossing was successful and greatly applauded.

After the feat, he told the crowd “I will cross again going to the other side, but this time I will carry a man on the wheelbarrow”. He then asks them, “Who among you believe I can do it?!!”

The crowd shouted and cheered affirmations, it was like all of them claimed they believe in him. All of them were thrilled and all of them were excited to see the next trek.

Then Blondin said “Now, if you believe I can do it, who among you will volunteer to ride the wheelbarrow. Anyone please raise your hand?”

Guess what? Everyone was silenced; nobody among the thousands who believe raised his hand, nobody wants to ride in the wheelbarrow.  They believed in him after seeing him but would they trust him enough to lay their life in his hands?

So, what do you NOW know about the difference between believing and trusting?  The next time you use these two words, think very carefully about the meaning of them for yourself and what you are really saying when you use them.  Do you believe… or do you trust… or both?

Resources:
http://www.dictionary.com
http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-nouns-and-verbs/
http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/125034/whats-the-difference-between-trust-and-believe
http://hubpages.com/business/Believe-Vs-Trust

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