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Monday, July 29, 2013

Trust revisited

Trust - As I said yesterday, it is built on truth.  Without truth, it is almost impossible to trust.  They go hand-in-hand.  This said, what we hold as the "factual truth" becomes the foundation for the trust we place in an object or a person.  I believe King David once penned the words, "Some trust in chariots, but we will trust in the Lord our God."  (Psalm 20:7)  In other words, some kings chose to trust in the size and might of their armies - the technical expertise, training, and weaponry they had at their disposal.  The only thing David wanted for his troops to trust in was the assurance of their Lord leading their way into battle, providing all the strength, resources, and "might" they'd need!  The object of each king's trust was a little different - but the things unseen often foiled even the best of plans of those who opposed God's army!

My help and glory are in God —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God - so trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be.  (Psalm 62:7-8 MSG)

An important part of trust is the issue of time.  Trust is not simply given based on a one time revelation of some truth.  The truth is put to the test to see if it can be proven as "trust-worthy".  If so, we will often test it again, just to ensure our "trust" is correctly placed.  In the passage of enough time, we come to find the revelation of the truth as something we accept and finally "trust".  God builds upon the smallest infusion of truth until we finally begin to trust it fully.  In time, he gives us more truth, until we come to a full assurance of faith.  Trust comes over time - with "deposits" of truth all along the way.

The same is true in many of our relationships here on this earth.  "Deposits" of truth, tested and proven as trust-worthy become a basis of trust in the relationship.  Take away too many of those deposits and trust is broken quickly.  When the trust is broken, it takes a long time to rebuild the "deposits" to the level of assurance again.  It is kind of like when we have to pay "penalties" on an overdraft at the bank.  It takes more than our original debit to "rebuild" the bank's trust in us!  In relationship, trust is built through something we might just refer to as "heart connections".  These "connections" are significantly more important than most of us realize - for the breaking of any one of these connections actually begins to break down the integrity of trust which is built with the strength of each "attachment" formed by the connections.  It is like a multi-stranded cord - one strand dis-attached may not seem significant at first, but it weakens the hold of the other strands over the course of time!

In counseling, one of the techniques used quite frequently is a process referred to as validation.  It is a process of letting the other person know you have "heard" what they have said, acknowledged their opinions as mattering, and respect the expression of feelings as they have been given.  It does not mean we always agree with what we hear, the opinions expressed, or the feelings expressed - it simply means we acknowledge them as true in the eyes of the one expressing them!  Now, how does this apply in relationship and as it concerns trust?  I think Stephen Covey hit the nail on the head when he said, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."  Building trust in relationship comes as we "validate" the other person.  It doesn't mean we never encounter opinions which differ from our own, or need a little redirecting.  It means we acknowledge the opinions of another as mattering. The key comes in learning how to actually continue to build trust by bringing truth into the relationship - not in a way which tears down, but in a way which brings clarity, hope, and depth.

Most important of all aspects in this thing we call trust is the ability to give grace when trust may not be what it should be.  I have to call our attention to God's example here - he gave us a whole lot of grace (in the form of his Son's atoning sacrifice on our behalf) even when he saw no evidence he could trust us with that grace!  The example he set gives us some cause to think outside of our normal "opinion" of what trust is - it is our willingness to give what it takes to see another become what they are supposed to be!  Without God's infusion of grace, we had no hope of change.  Sometimes in relationship, it takes a whole lot of grace to get the other person to the place they need to be in order to finally see the growth within the relationship.  What grace does is provide a means for trust to continue until their is evidence of change.  This is tough - probably one of the toughest parts of relationship we will ever tackle.  Without it, no relationship will ever work!  Grace actually is God's way of using us to make a way for the other person to change.  

It goes without saying, but trust requires vulnerability.  Maybe this is why trust is so hard - we don't like being vulnerable!  One thing I have learned is the value of being exactly who I am - nothing does more to build trust than genuineness.  Being real with another may be hard, but it is the basis (foundation) of trust.  Until we are, all trust is really nothing more than superficial.  People will struggle - it is inevitable - they will fail.  Learning to fill the "gaps" in trust with grace will go a long way in re-attaching the connections which get broken when they do!  Just sayin!