Trust – a simple word to speak, yet the most challenging word to regain once lost. It is my sincere belief that we all desire to trust those around us. It is most similar to believing that all people are inherently good. When we look at the philosophical and religious aspects of inherent goodness, we find a spectrum of takes on the issue. Philosophically speaking, the structure of society weighs on the idea that most men/women do not want to harm their neighbor; yet society creates and enforces laws to maintain civility (see Socrates and Plato). Religiously, the Bible tells us that we are “born sinners” (Psalm 51:5), yet we are commanded to ‘love thy neighbor’ (Mark 12:31). The multi-faceted dynamic of human nature leaves us in toil of self-possession. Since it is the responsibility of each of us to implement self-control, and decide daily, or perhaps moment by moment what our behavior is going to reflect, we must learn by which qualities we desire to be known.
Do we believe people are inherently good? Can people be trusted? Have we experienced negative circumstances with people that have caused us to lose trust or even faith in humanity?
If we can remember that forgiveness is a key component in moving forward, regardless of the circumstance, a healthy perspective can be achieved. Although every situation is different, forgiveness will be a helpful tool in healing. It is important to remember that we must be conscious of our inter-personal relationships, beahvioral patterns, and individual perspectives, that are all too often shaped by negative experiences. If someone has broken our trust, but seeks sincere forgiveness from us, it may be worthwhile to learn to trust them again. However, if someone does not seek forgiveness after having broken our trust, it may be helpful to take a quiet moment and offer up forgiveness to them within ourselves, for our own inner-peace. The courage we find to forgive will ultimately keep us from becoming jaded, and weary towards humanity.
I would be remised if I did not mention the unique portrayal of sacrifice, forgiveness, and trust, found in scripture. A beacon of self-sacrifice, unconditional love, and forgiveness, is Christ, as He uttered, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). We should view this as the pinnacle of humanity; where we find the most heinous of pain inflicted on the human body (and spirit), but from those pangs restoration and life is found. In the spoken word forgive, trust in a higher purpose is revealed and life regained.
I leave you with this quote from Timothy Zahn, author of Vision of the Future (Star Wars), “Without trust, there can be no genuine peace. Neither in politics, nor in the quiet individuality of the heart and spirit.”