Can People Trust You?

Trust (noun):

reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

Trust is something for which most of us long.  We treasure those in our lives that we know speak the same of us when we are not in the room as they do when we are.  We esteem those whose are good for their word.  We understand how rare it is to be surrounded by others who we can put full confidence in their transparency; their support; their faithfulness.

Unfortunately,  I find it more and more common for trust to be as old fashioned as grandma’s party line telephone.  (My grandmother actually had a party line…oh the eavesdropping we did…but that’s a story for another day.)

Why is mistrust such a prevalent theme in life. With all the increased means of communication and visibility (via the internet, primarily), one would think that we would have higher levels of trust.  Yet, it’s not the case.

Do you think it’s because we are all living with so many hiding spots and loopholes?

Think about how many hiding spots exist.  Social networks allow you to create a online personae that can be completely disconnected from your real self.  Who of you will have any idea if what I write about here finds any reality in my life? Hiding spots are more than just staying out of the public eye.  Hiding spots can be self-promotion of exaggerated egos, false humility, feigned friendship, secrets, and undisclosed agendas.

If a hiding spot can’t be found, you can avoid personal authentication through a loophole.  One ramification of living in a litigious society is that we have all learned that no matter the responsibility, a loophole can always be found to avoid ownership.  Nobody has to get pinned with anything.  (Which is really so silly since “I’m sorry” is just not that hard to say.) Common loopholes are blaming, staging, pretending to have not understood and playing the victim.

The problem is that hiding spots and loopholes find a way of seeping down into our personal relationships.  Like foam that rises to the top, our relationships suffer from the weakness of integrity and moral ambiguity that our hiding spots and loopholes nurture. We stop speaking honestly and genuinely.  Hard conversations get avoided because parties understand commitment to relationships are no longer needed.

I’m concerned about what this is doing to our churches.  The early church was marked by their sincere and devoted love to one another.  We still say we do that.  But we’ve made it too easy on ourselves-we let online definitions of ‘love’ and Hollywood superficiality define what the church should be defining for the culture.  How many people in your church can biblically define the love Jesus commanded?  If so, can they point to its substance in their life?

Would you agree that part of the reason the ‘world’ doesn’t trust the Church is because there’s no integrity in the love they espouse?   (And yes this probably includes your church, don’t deceive yourself…I talk to too many people and read too many blogs of those who are see right through many of the slick lines.  People know when they are loved.)

I don’t trust people whose words don’t match their actions. The apostle Paul has a habit in his writings of using the phrase, “here is a trustworthy saying…”  He then goes on to describe the actions of the subject of his writing.   (Usually the subject is Jesus, but one time it is the elders of the church.)

It matters that people trust us. The responsibility of being a trustworthy person falls on you…on me.  We need to be done with our talk (especially our double speak) and we need to start connecting the dots of our beliefs with our everyday, hiding spot free, and loophole absent actions.

Where will you begin?  With whom?