CAN TRUST BE REPAIRED?
No one believes anything anymore. It’s not surprising. When everyone has an agenda, which “highly crafted narrative” of the facts do you listen to? When every event is politicized and exploited in our attention economy, everything is “spin” and trust is a thing of the past.
Political leaders, religious leaders and the media have all lost our trust. The best of us are suspicious and cynical. The worst send pipe bombs in the mail or put curses on our leaders. How can trust be repaired in a society where it is so badly damaged? Is there anything we can do to make things better?
Make friends with “the others”
As nice as it is to have friends who see the world the way you do, it is essential that we make friends with those who see differently. I was temporarily disabled and it helped me see things from a wheelchair. Making friends with immigrants, refugees, disabled people and those of other races or political parties makes it harder to stay in your own bubble and think your view is right all the time. It breaks down the prejudices and points out the blind spots in our thinking. It humanizes the other. Proximity is lethal to prejudice.
Make promises and requests
The only thing that moves relationships forward and rebuilds trust is to make promises and keep them. On the flip side of that, you can also make requests and have them granted. It’s the same thing from two sides. This is the way you activate a relationship and build trust. Making assertions about facts or opinions won’t get you there. Shouting louder doesn’t help. No one knows who to believe. But they know they can trust the one who keeps their promises. Be that one and ask them to be the same.
We are in a moment in our society when no one trusts anyone. What if we became the kind of people who build bridges of relationships with people different than us because we didn’t need agreement to have understanding and respect? What if we were the people who make and keep our promises and ask others to do the same? Maybe we could rebuild trust. It’s a long road back but I don’t know any other way.
Sunday, we have invited some “others” to join us at church so we can practice. They are people willing to take the risk to go into what could seem to be a hostile environment for them. That means they are my kind of people! I hope you will join me in welcoming them and stepping beyond your comfort zone.