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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Putting the “T” Back in “Trust”

What authority figures do you still trust completely? Which do you distrust? Why? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1403).

Following the 2013 Ghouta attacks, Secretary of State John Kerry told a news conference in Geneva on September 14, 2013 that the United States and Russia had agreed on a framework to dispose of Syria's chemical weapons. He said "President Reagan's old adage about 'trust but verify' ... is in need of an update. And we have committed here to a standard that says 'verify and verify'." (,_but_verify).

Christians are taught a hard truth, in the last analysis it is “In God we trust.” We are taught that all humans–even your best friends–even members of your own family–can let you down. There should be no surprise here, for only God has the ability to love completely, to know completely what that love must entail to serve your best interest wherever you are.  So in the end, only in God can we “trust and trust” (re: Kerry quote above).

Now then, this does not mean we must constantly be in a paranoid state of distrust.  We typically look for behavior that takes on a symbolic character to set our minds at peace when dealing with others.  For example, I attend a men’s discussion group.  Such groups are only truly fun if grace abounds.  The presence of this grace can largely depend upon the leader–does the leader make sure everyone has a chance to contribute and no few individuals dominate?  In short, good discussion groups need a democratic yet forceful leader.  In this context our leader (Don) will ask a member who has been silent if they have something they wish to contribute. This may happen only a few times during the discussion, but stands symbolically as the standard under which the discussion proceeds. 

In contrast to democratic leaders, even in a democracy we can have despotic leaders who are selfishly concerned only with themselves.  All things are bent to serve their own purposesfirst the simple truth and then anyone or anything else that get’s in their way.  Thus we see we must necessarily operate within a continuum extending from “trust and trust” in God to “trust and verify” with most to “verify and verify” with despots.

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