Trust, Revisited

How do you know somebody can be trusted? How does one earn trust? How does one lose trust? If someone you count as a friend did something to cause you to lose trust, what kind of forgiveness, recompense, or other actions or changes must be made? How do you know when you can trust them again? What if it were more than one friend: some likely unwary, others possibly manipulating (or at least controlling), how would then deal with the unwary, passive betrayers?

In each of these cases, of course, the answers will vary greatly based on the deepness of the friendship, the nature of the betrayal, the surrounding situation(s), and the maturity of each individual involved.

At the height of passion immediately surrounding (time-wise) the event, emotions color everything and everyone. The supposed or considered wrong reveals or stems from a black soul to the core of the offender, and the offended’s saintliness is unimpeachable. As time passes, the heart cools and the head takes in more of the variables, excusing mere humanity and separating actual offense from perceived permeating perfidies.

But all this analysis aside, the heart of the issue of trust, I believe, comes not from the truster but from the trusted.

Trust is what is earned by and given to those who care obviously for others, and who work to do in their power what they can to assist others, who are careful in giving their word and wholehearted in keeping that word. A person who does this is trustworthy. Sometimes such a person has an outward aura which others can sense, but usually it is only displayed through acts of substance and spread by word of mouth.

Trust is indeed the basis of civilized society. A trustworthy company is one that produces a product or provides a service which meets the needs of individuals reliably and fulfills all official claims. A trustworthy businessman does the same. Adam Smith, the 18th century economist, reconciled human nature and the need for trustworthy dealings by saying a selfish man (one pursuing his own best interest) would find it in his best interest to act reliably and honorably with all he came in contact with, else who would do business with him? Yes, there is honor, even among thieves. And perhaps coming from the other direction, Proverbs famously states that a good name (the trust of others) is better than great riches.

On a personal note, in looking back over those who I’ve trusted, and those who’ve trusted me, I wondered if I must wait for “that one” to find someone who will constantly act with my best interest in mind as I will for them. Perhaps so, perhaps not. In this, though, I am not a starry-eyed idealist: I’m well aware that you can be hurt worst by those you trust the most. To trust in anything or anyone mortal is to chase after hurt, and I’ve had my share of hurt as I’ve done my sharing of hurting. But in all this I find a little more of myself. Among the cycles and periods that have defined my life, a major cycle was one of trust. I tend to be outgoing and personable, giving rather freely of myself to others, and to an extent requesting the same in return. In this I tend to make myself vulnerable, and thus I’ve been hurt. At a time I decided I did not want to be hurt any longer, so I clammed up and found a melancholy middle ground where I did not experience the crushing depths, but also could not reach those giddy heights of fulfillment and emotion. So then I realized part of the joy of life is found in the ups as well as the downs. Life is an invigorating contest wringing tears and pain in payment for the joys and times of fullness.

To each of you I’ve trusted, thank you.
To you who’ve trusted me, words cannot express my gratitude.
To those whose trust I have broken, I am wrong and do not deserve your forgiveness. But I wish to do what is in my power to earn your trust again.
To those who’ve broken my trust, I pray that God will continue to give me a forgiving heart, and though I may not trust you at this time I hope to continue to act in your best interest and give you opportunity to regain my trust.

Trust is measured by giving, the most trusting is the one who gives the most. Jesus, Who had the least reason to in that we are all false betrayers, Judas’, still trusted the most in that He gave His all.

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