Do You Trust Me?

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.

When discussing how twenty-somethings view authority, Kinnaman made this observation:

“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)
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6 thoughts on “Do You Trust Me?

  1. A.J. Swoboda says:

    Tim,

    What a profoundly observant quote: “Everybody has an opinion, and it’s hard to know who is trustworthy.” It reminds me of the conversation you and I had about how professors have largely had to change the way they teach in light of Wikipedia. Professors, teachers, pastors, etc., no longer find their strongest role in being perveyors of information. Rather, they offer a relationship.

    Great thinking here friend. Keep up the great work.

    A.J. Swoboda
    http://www.ajswoboda.com

    • A.J. — Thanks for that thought. The power of relationship is amazing and fills a void that is increasingly apparent in the lives of many.

      Hey, a dozen more good posts and I may make it onto your blog roll. I live for that.

      I appreciate you my trustworthy friend.

  2. Want a picture of a trustworthy person? Meet Kaylee Wolf. Her maturity, selflessness and unquenchable love are great examples of what I was trying to say above! Read her blog and about what she is doing in Thailand: http://kayleewolf.posterous.com/im-glad-god-doesnt-give-me-what-i-want

  3. Do you know a trustworthy person? Leave them a shout-out here, and describe how they’ve proven their “trustability”.

  4. Traci Espeseth says:

    Tim,

    I was surprised when I found this concept to be very challenging to my approach to faith and truth. As I’ve learned to re-navigate life and relationships over the past year, I have definitely found that the voices I seek out and the words to which I give weight have belonged to those I trust. Healing and the re-establishing of truth and trust have all be built through the relationships of those who have proved themselves trustworthy and consistent through the muck and mud. I am so grateful for those who have faithfully walked beside, and even pursued, our family during a very messy time.

    I fully agree with you when you state that “Trust is what makes us believable. It is the foundation upon which we can build relationship and true community.” The attributes you have broken down so simply and masterfully paint of beautiful picture of who I long to be.

    However, for some reason, I have been drawn back to you words over the past week – unsettled in my spirit…feeling as if God had something more to speak to me, personally. What He has revealed to me is that while I, personally, am called to be, and long to be, a person who is trustworthy and safe…I also need be aware that truth is still truth, no matter the vessel through which is it delivered.

    My defense mechanisms have caused me to write off, or disregard, messages that I may need to hear, simply because I do not trust the person who is delivering that message. God has really challenged me, through your words, to listen, to weigh, and to consider what He may be speaking to me, regardless of the brokenness of the person whom He chooses to deliver that truth.

    Thank you for your continued honesty and transparency – you are certainly one I would give a “shout-out” to as proven to be faithful.

    Traci

    • Traci…what a deep and thoughtful response. Thanks for adding some very helpful concepts into the mix. It’s true: even though it’s our goal to be trustworthy people for others, that doesn’t mean we can slam the door shut on those who, in their own brokenness, may have slipped from the “most trusted” category.

      Your words also remind me that I need to figure out how to create pathways for people to regain my trust. And hopefully people will extend that same grace to me after I’ve done things that have been less than trustworthy.

      I’m grateful for you!

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