What does this famous quote by Ronald Reagan have to do with the Bible? Shouldn’t we trust with no questions asked? Isn’t faith the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen? (Hebrews 11:1) When you see the context I am sure you will agree, this is a Biblical view of human relations.
During the 1980’s U.S. President Ronald Reagan worked diligently with Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to bring an end to the Cold War which precipitated the falling of the Iron Curtain that separated eastern and western Europe. One of the main elements of Reagan’s and Gorbachev’s negotiations was the reduction in nuclear weapons. At a joint press conference with Gorbachev regarding the signing of the INF Treaty (Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty) Reagan said that we must “Trust, but Verify”, attributing this to the Russian Proverb “doveryai, no proveryai”. So while he believed in working with the Russians on the basis of trust, he knew that trust could not be gained without the ability to have transparent verification, on both sides, to demonstrate compliance with the newly signed treaty.
What does the Bible say about this?
Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength. – Jeremiah 17:5 NKJV
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. – Psalm 118:8 NKJV
We see that while there may be those in our lives that have earned our trust, ultimately God is the only one who is able to keep our trust. Ronald Reagan knew this. He also knew how to negotiate peace with an adversary through strength, and embraced the tenant that we can give our trust to others, but unless they are God, we need to verify.
Here is a little trivia question: what is the significance of Psalm 118:8? It’s a special Bible verse, do you know why?