It is much easier to carry a coin saying “In God we trust” than to really trust God in all aspects of life. It is much easier to talk about someone being a trusted friend or companion than to really put full trust in that person even when what they say or do doesn’t sound right. Is it just me or does it seem that trust is in short supply in our world? Think of how many times you have heard someone say, “I wouldn’t trust him or her as far as I could throw them.” I saw a survey a couple of days ago on who or what people trusted in the United States. Some of the things they questioned people about were: News media, Congress, the President, the internet and churches or ministers. Now I’m sure you could find all kinds of surveys that would have different results but this one was telling in many ways. The lowest on the trust scale was the new media. Their trust level was so low that one has to wonder why anyone pays any attention to what they say? The next lowest on the list was Congress. It was obvious the different respondents represented different parties by the comments made, but no matter what party they were part of their trust of Congress and what they said was pathetically low. The next was the President. More people trusted what he said than either the news media or Congress but it was still far below 50% of the people who felt that what the President said was trustworthy. What was put on the internet ranked right alongside the news media so I suppose the people saw them as much the same thing. Churches and preachers had the highest trust factor in the survey but it was a far cry from being something to brag about. Even with the church and preachers the trust factor was only a little above the 50% mark.
Obviously we have a trust problem in this country. By the way a few days earlier I read another such survey that asked two different groups of people how trustworthy they felt the professors were in the college they were most loyal to. They asked students who were in the college and had the particular professors and they asked their parents how much they trusted the things that the professors were telling their children. The students had a far better trust level for the professors than their parents did. Interestingly the parents tended to offer very different comments on the whole trust thing. Many said they felt the professors were undergirding the principles they had tried to instill in their children in growing up. But about the same number felt the professors were destroying the foundations they had tried to lay in their children’s lives. Sadly, the trust level wasn’t really very high from either the children or their parents.
Why is trust suffering in our time? What has happened that led to people not trusting others? Are people less truthful and trustworthy today than in previous times? I suspect that we become jaded by all the efforts that are made to sell us something that we really don’t want all the time. How much trust to you have in a telemarketer who calls to get you to purchase an extended warranty on your car or to offer you a vacation in Florida? If you are like me it is somewhere below zero. I suspect the trust level has decreased as people are quoted on some issue they obviously don’t know any more about than you do or perhaps even less. The fact that our media seems to think that anyone who is famous in any area of life should be seen as an authority in all kinds of matters lessens our trust for what anyone says.
What difference does it make? If we don’t trust anyone we tend to see everyone we meet as a crook who is trying to take advantage of us in some way. It makes life miserable. Certainly we can go too far in trusting everyone about everything and become gullible. But don’t become a cynic that thinks everyone is trying to take advantage of you in some way. Most people are trying to be honest in life. It is far better to have the attitude “I will trust a person until I have solid evidence that they aren’t trustworthy” than to have the attitude “I won’t trust anyone until they prove to me that they are trustworthy.” Remember the Golden Rule to treat others the way you want to be treated and in doing so we will trust and be trustworthy.