A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret. (Proverbs 11: 13)
The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. (Proverbs 12: 22)
Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master. (Proverbs 25: 13)
And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? (Luke 16: 12)
This weekend at National Speakers Association, I was privileged to sit in rapt attnetion as David Horsager, renowned researcher and speaker on trust, expounded on this critical topic. I’ve been pondering it ever since. David said that at the core of our greatest problems and our biggest expenses is the lack of trust. Every good relationship and everything of value are built on trust.
Horsager pointed out what I have observed and experienced over and over. Trust takes a long time to build and a minute to lose! Every interaction cumulatively builds or diminishes trust.
So I’m often asked in my clinical office, particularly in working with couples, “How can you ever rebuild trust?” No easy answers for that one exist, but I can tell you that it is possible.
One step toward answering that is to understand what trust is. Over time, I’ve personally come to define trust as, “positive predictability.” If I believe that I don’t have to be second-guessing you all the time – I trust you. Though you may not doing it all perfectly, if I’m convinced you have my best interest at heart and have my back – then I trust you. If the pattern of my experience with you has been positive over time – then you’ve earned my trust. Trust is a belief of the mind and heart that brings down guard walls, builds open connections, and makes room for mutual “risk.”
So what happens when trust is seriously violated? Oh, I’m not talking about the day you learn that the idealized paramour, leader, or friend is not perfect. No one is, and mature relationships learn to accomodate that fact. No, I’m referring to a serious violation of trust, one that sucker-punches the core of your being and calls into dire question the very foundation on which your relationship is built. Then what? Can the relationship survive? Not without some work – on both sides. One person cannot do it.
You can sometimes rebuild trust over time. You do that in three ways: 1) proximity, 2) consistently reliable and positive experience, and 3) open communications. And such rebuilding of trust is a dual responsibility! Let’s talk more about this tomorrow.
However, this morning I want to leave you with a few questions for your own prayer and reflection time.
- Based on experience, what do people predict in their interactions with you?
- Do you do what you say you will do?
- Do you “deliver” within the time you promised?
- Can the people you interact with tell from all your encounters that you’re considering their needs as well as your own?
- Do you speak the truth – in love?
In other words, are you perceived as a trustworthy person? Even dig a little deeper. If you are generally seen that way, are you harboring secrets that would change all that if people discovered what was in your heart and your closet behaviors?
If you are trustworthy, do everything in God’s power and your power to keep it. If you don’t have it, ask God to give you the patience and character to work diligently to develop it and regain it.
Living trustworthy is priceless!
God, I know that I sometimes fail those I love. I have good intentions, but at times I don’t follow through on what I say I will do. Sometimes my selfishness gets in the way of choices that recognize and consider the needs of others. I want to be more trustworthy, Lord. I can’t do that without You. Be Yourself in me and through me, for You can totally be trusted.