I’m reading a fantastic book, You Lost Me, by David Kinnaman. It deals with why young Christians are leaving church and rethinking faith. It’s well thought through, crisply written, and deals with issues of real importance.
“Everybody has an opinion, and it’s hard to know who is trustworthy.”
He was highlighting the fact that in an info-overloaded world, trust becomes the scale we use to weigh the worth of opinions. The greater we trust someone, the weightier their words.
Trust is what makes us believable. It is the foundation upon which we can build relationship and true community. Trust is worth the work it takes to build and retain.
So how can we become trustworthy people?
Scripture provides an interesting perspective on this. Paul, who wrote a great deal of the Bible, was writing to a group of Christ-followers who had been trying to prove their trustworthiness to God and others by following rules (the Law of Moses in particular). Paul was really pressing them to understand that rule-following isn’t what matters. In Galatians 5:14, he wrote, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
Then he goes on to break down what “loving your neighbor” would look like. In 5:22-23 he says, “The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Think about how each of these things would build trustworthiness — and how its absence would crush it.
- Love — accepting others fully.
- Joy — having real contentment even in difficult situations.
- Peace — being a refuge in the midst of a storm.
- Patience — refusing to rush to judgment.
- Kindness — considering the plight of another and acting accordingly.
- Goodness — doing what’s right rather than what’s easy or popular.
- Faithfulness — being a person of my word.
- Gentleness — being an emotionally safe friend for others.
- Self-control — choosing to say “no” to relationship killing words, thoughts and actions.
“Trust me, I’m a doctor” doesn’t cut it anymore. And it doesn’t work for politicians, teachers, bloggers or religious leaders either. Perhaps that’s why people so highly value the opinions of their friends. They’re the ones who have actually earned some trust.
Let’s live as friends — and in an era where opinions abound, let the fruit of our lives prove that we can be trusted regarding things that truly matter.
(Photo credit: Benjamin Earwicker)