Trust has always been essential for human relationships. It’s the way God designed us. The dictionary defines trust this way: “an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.” When we trust each other we give one another the benefit of the doubt. The chaos of the last eighteen months combined with the ongoing tensions of the current COVID crisis have created an opportunity for us to generously demonstrate our trust in one another or to selfishly entrench ourselves in sharp divisions.
Trust binds us together and allows change to take place more smoothly. It can never be demanded; it must be earned. Even if you think you deserve to be trusted, you must allow the time for trust to develop. So how do you build trust, especially during this time of transition? Here are four places to start:
Be Consistent. People will not trust others who do not keep their promises. Someone once likened trust-building with making deposits in a bank. It’s amazing how much wealth can be accumulated with small amounts applied on a consistent basis. Trust is earned the same way … day in and day out. The small things matter: returning the phone call, replying to the email, showing up to the appointment on time, following through with a commitment you made.
Be Capable. Do your homework. Don’t overreact. Plan ahead. People trust people who do things well. A track record of successes, both small and large, establishes us as capable people—the kind of people who can be trusted because we have the skills and expertise that can be counted on.
Be Confidential. Nothing erodes trust like breaking a confidence. Confidentiality means you are a dead end. One of the great privileges in ministry is when someone says to us, “I’ve never told anybody this …” That is a sacred moment. You are trusted. And unless the law requires you to act on what you have learned, what you know now stays with you. Be careful of taking something shared with you in private and turning it into a sermon illustration. You may not have revealed your source, but your source may not be feeling very safe.
Be Caring. In order for people to trust you, they must believe you want the best for them. Every act of compassion builds trust—a visit to the hospital, praying for someone in need, giving a listening ear—all demonstrate your level of care for people.
(Reposted from April 27, 2016)
BEFORE YOU GO
Here’s another question … Do you trust others? Why or why not? In ministry we have all been hurt and disappointed. It’s easy to become cynical. Trust sometimes requires trying again.