TRUSWORTHINESS HAS TO BE EARNED
By DANNY MINTON
Several years ago Disney produced a movie, “Love Leads the Way: A True Story.” It is the story of two characters. Morris Frank, a young man who at 6 lost an eye when he hit a tree limb riding a horse and then lost the other during a boxing mishap at the age of 16. The other character is Buddy, a German shepherd who Morris obtained in Switzerland as part of a pilot program for training seeing-eye dogs.
The first encounters with Morris and Buddy in the movie are a test of Morris’ trust in Buddy. In one scene Morris and Buddy are leaving an office where Morris has been rejected in trying to sell a life insurance policy. As they head toward the elevators, Buddy sees that one has the doors open to an empty shaft. Buddy lies on the floor in front of Morris. Morris in anger at Buddy kept pushing him forward, but the dog continued to lie in front of him trying to prevent him from falling in. Someone else comes up and seeing it tells Morris, “That animal just saved your life” and told him what he saw.
It was from that point on that Morris treated Buddy with new trust and respect. Up until this point, Morris had been told to trust the instincts and guidance of his seeing-eye dog. By laying down his life for Morris, Buddy had earned the trust of his master. In Morris’ eyes, Buddy was now trustworthy.
The word trust is thrown around a lot in the world we live in and just as often in the “church” environment. People ask us to trust them, sometimes even demanding it and feel hurt if we don’t. I have heard ministers that don’t trust elders, elders that don’t trust ministers, members that don’t trust elders and members that don’t trust ministers and ministers not trusting their fellow workers and elders not trusting each other.
The problem is not that people don’t want to trust each other, but more that you have to prove to me first that you can be trusted. You see, trust is not something we give, it’s something that we earn. The only way people will trust us as a group or more importantly as individuals for us to show our trustworthiness. But once we break this bond of trustworthiness, it is a long haul to get it back. Trust can never be demanded.
Trustworthiness is lost or gained through our actions. So what are some of the things that destroy our trustworthiness?
- Lying – This is the one we think of first even though it may not be the most prominent
- Backbiting – Complaining about someone without going directly to them
- Manipulating – Using backdoor ways of getting what we want
- Double-Tongued – Saying what the person we’re talking to wants to hear even if it’s contrary to what we tell someone else
- Unreliability – Failure to do what we promise others we will do
- Self-centeredness – Giving priority to our personal views without taking others into consideration
On the other-hand being trustworthy means:
- Telling the truth even when it may hurt us
- Going to individuals instead of behind their backs
- Being honest and upfront, not trying to manipulate to get our way
- Taking a stand because of what you believe not to just be pleasing to the hearer
- If you say you’ll do something, then do it. If you can’t make sure others know why
- Remember, we are not always right as individuals and that learn to take everyone’s views into account
If we want to be trusted, we first have to be trustworthy. If we don’t feel that people trust us, then we should be honestly examining ourselves to weigh our personal trustworthiness. We often view the problem of trust as thinking that those who don’t trust are the issue. In reality, in most cases, the issue is not with those who have a hard time trusting, but with those who have shown themselves to be untrustworthy.
Integrity: It’s the one thing you possess that no one can borrow, steal or take from you. It is the one thing that you own of which only you have complete control.
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Titus 2:7, 8
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ