Over the past few weeks I have been praying about the many aspects of trust and ways I can practice it in new relationships, especially when the Gospel is best shared through weakness.
I think there are significant, yet difficult aspects in building and sustaining trust in ministry. Significant because in ministry you are living to reflect the character of God, yet difficult because we are all sinful.
How then do you build trust?
This question I think comes up often because of how important it is in relationships and I don’t think there is a simple answer. Although, I think there are aspects that have helped build trust in my past relationships and I'd like to write them down for refrence. These are in no way perfect, but have been helpful for me in building trust with others.
- Integrity – Choosing courage over comfort. Coming from a culture that desires life to be fun, fast, and easy, it is difficult to trust someone that values being comfortable over doing the right or honorable thing.
- Boundaries – Clear about what is ok and what is not ok. It is important to set reasonable expectations within the context of each other’s worldview and show respect for those expectations. When you don’t know what they are, you ask.
- Accountability – Don’t back channel and blame. If you are ever caught lying, take responsibility from the start. Don’t try to make excuses. Hold people accountable.
- Reliability – You do what you say and say what you do. Keep your word. Don’t over commit or under deliver. Know your worth, it comes from the love Jesus has for you, and nothing else.
- Confidentiality – Both sides of it, including sharing things with me that are not for you to be sharing. This is difficult because some people confide in others as a way to bid a connection. Do not use stories that are not yours to spend.
- Nonjudgmental – Asking for help without feeling judged and without judging yourself. There are open lines of communication.
- Generosity – When something goes off, assume the best. Acknowledge mistakes, but give people the benefit of the doubt. If something bad happens, assume positive intentions.
Overall, trust is difficult and we will mess up, no one is perfect. It is all too easy for us to hurt one another or let one another down. Just as trust is difficult, so is forgiveness. But remember that God is different, He is 100% dependable and trustworthy. He is faithful to His promises. When we do fail in trust, we must remember that God’s love for us never fails and learning to trust God is about knowing His character in the Bible.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.