Thursday, January 26, 2012

Who Do You Trust?

As a society, we don't trust anyone or anything anymore.  This is painfully obvious right now, since we are knee deep in campaign season, with both sides throwing out numbers and claims about themselves and each other.  My feelings about the sitting POTUS are known, but even I am taking most of the claims that the republican candidates are throwing against him, specifically job numbers and money numbers, with a grain of salt, simply because at the bottom of all those claims is always a mess of fine print about adjusted for inflation or other such adjustment.  The same fine print comes at the bottom of Obama's claims as well.  Other recent events throw up the trust issue.  The Occupy movement was based on a distrust of corporations, and situations around the protests were made worse by the protester's distrust of police and other authority figures as well as some police's distrust of the protesters.  The actions of some people in various churches, everything from the child abuse and coverups within the Catholic church to the very unChristian protests at funerals to the wandering away from Biblical teachings of some pastors, churches, and denominations, have all made it very difficult for many people out there to even trust the Church as a whole.
This culture of distrust reaches into the area of faith as well, beyond just the congregations and the buildings.  I was having a discussion with a coworker recently about faith, and he tossed out the familiar canard that the Bible was written down by men, and man makes mistakes and changes in everything we touch.  It's familiar because I've thought that myself in the past, and see it frequently now.  While that is a specific argument, the belief that we just can't trust anyone or anything has definitely been passed onto our vision of God.  Society thinks that they just cannot trust that there is a God, that He passed down mankind's history in the Bible, that He protected those words through the centuries, neither can they trust that He loves us and that He sent Jesus, His Son, to take the punishment for our sins. 
None of this is new.  The Old Testament is full of stories of people, even faithful, believing people, who didn't trust God to come through, and those people always caused more problems.  Abram didn't trust God to provide the child He promised, so he and Sarai took their own route.  One of the prophets with Elisha decided that the stew God ordered them to make wasn't good enough, so he added his own ingredients, which ruined the stew.  The rich young men who Jesus told to sell all their possessions evidently didn't trust God enough to take care of them.  (Note to class warfare/Bible teaches socialism type folks, there's no call to poverty in the Bible.  Many great, faithful men in the Bible were very wealthy.  The question is always if it's God's plan for one to be materially wealthy)
We have all got to work to bring trust back into society.  Not just because it's better to be able to trust people, but because trust is one of the cornerstones of faith.  Like all the other issues in our world, it didn't break overnight, nor is it going to get fixed overnight.  Like ripples in a pond, by doing our own part in instilling trust in those around us, especially our children, but others we are around as well, it is possible to rebuild those broken foundations.  It's not just a matter of being trustworthy ourselves, although that is important.  One of the biggest pieces in the puzzle is teaching others that yes, by trusting people, sometimes you get hurt and burned.  It happens.  But that isn't enough reason to completely lock trust out of our lives.  It seems that in listening to people, that most of the distrust we see comes from having trust broken at some point in life, possibly by an absentee parent, an abuser, a divorce, or any other of a number of situations.  Sometimes, we may even feel that we get burned by trusting in God, however, typically we learn through hindsight that it was a matter of us not listening, not a matter of God breaking our trust.

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