Salvation ... comes from the Lord ... because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Trustworthy Trust

            Trust is the foundation for all relationships.  The quality of our interpersonal relationships hinges on the level of trust extended among the individuals.  The key to trusting relationships is trustworthiness at the personal level. The main component of trust falls on each person's ability to be trustworthy.  When a person is trustworthy, he or she can be trusted;  when not trustworthy, it becomes too great a risk for others to extend trust.  Some people are not safe to be trusted.  We'll look at some factors here to help discern the reliability of trust.

            Trust is defined as confident assurance or confident belief in. Trust is the single most important element of any group project, organizational structure, governmental system, business, church, or family. In business, for example, when the level of trust is high, the speed of operations is high, and the cost of doing business is the lowest it can be.  When distrust exists in the relationships of company workers, the quality and quantity of work decreases, and the costs of production go up.  Trust, therefore, is essential for innovation, inspiration, creativity, freedom, morale, and everything that goes into a successful bottom line. The same is true in church and organizational leadership in terms of accomplishing the mission.

            What factors effect trust the most?  In a book called The Trust Edge, David Horsager shares the results of research which identifies eight "pillars" of trust common among successful leaders and organizations.  These pillars are:  clarity, compassion, character, competence, commitment, connection, and consistency. Individuals working the hardest to become trustworthy in these eight areas are the most valuable people to any organization.  Generally speaking, the forces demonstrated by the lack of or opposite of these eight pillars, would be the greatest enemies to trust.

            When trust is absent or hard to garner, relationships tend to not work well.  Ambiguity (or illegitimate flexibility) seems more convenient than clear boundaries. Compassion and empathy are overshadowed by selfish ambition and self-protectionism.  Offense is taken more easily when a co-laborers bad character issues surface. Failures and lack of skill and competence degenerate into blaming and shaming. Communication may break down, more so because of an insensitive method of delivery than an unclear message.  Collaboration on a project or ideal becomes harder than the work itself.  Commitment to tasks and people become overruled by impulses of bailing out.  Mistrust and dysfunction reign in the thinking patterns and behaviors of difficult relationships.

            It is often easier to blame others, rather than looking inside, for the mistrust in relationship difficulties. Pointing the finger illustrates how we try to remove a splinter in our neighbor's eye, but at the same time harbor a plank in our own eye (Matthew 7:2-5). While we cannot take charge of the change in another person's life, we must take responsibility for the change needed in our own life.  When we improve our character and learn how to become a more trustworthy individual, we have a foundation for trustworthiness.  When we demonstrate competence in practicing our skills with what we've learned, we build the trust necessary to develop or restore healthy, life-giving, and productive interpersonal relationships.

            The wisdom of the Proverbs has much to say about the subject of trust and trustworthiness.  It all begins with our concept of God and our ability to trust Him as an absolutely trustworthy Refuge.  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).  God can be trusted no matter what.  We must confidently believe in his love and goodness for our personal relationship with him.  We can rely on him to help us become a more trustworthy person.  We can also rely on him to help us love others in spite of their untrustworthiness.  Is your God big enough to trust?  Can you trust him for change in your own life?  Can you trust him to change the people you may find it difficult to trust at the moment?  Can you commit to growing in the eight areas mentioned above to become a more trustworthy person?  My hope and prayer is that you can, and that you can find relationships with others who have made the same commitment.

            Note:   The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with disappointments, offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: . If you get anywhere near Pennsylvania for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at 

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry

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