Who can you trust these days? What lies behind that question is the basic human need to rely on people and information. Without trust, things fall apart.
It is a delight to have people you can trust in your life. They are honest, dependable, and consistent. They keep confidences and act with integrity. The problem is that people can fail and every time you experience a betrayal, your trustworthy bar is raised. It’s a lonely life when that bar is too high for anyone to clear. And if you’re honest, sometimes you can’t even trust yourself. Rash thinking, unchecked emotions, and bad habits betray your best intentions.
We would like to trust the institutions that make society work, like the legal system. But what do we make of FISA court abuses resulting in unwarranted surveillance of American citizens? Or the district attorney failing to act in the Ahmaud Arbery case, requiring the state investigators to step in? Or the IRS seizing a citizen’s assets with no criminal charges filed and no verdict pronounced?
Surely we can trust science! Yet we hear rumors that scientists initiated the current pandemic by creating a COVID virus in a lab. In 2018, a scientist used CRISPR technology to edit the genes of twin girls without knowing the unintended consequences of those edits. Are scientists constrained by ethics, free from biases of their own thinking and influence by the governments and mega-companies that fund them? Can we trust scientists and their followers who treat the profession as the sole arbiter of truth? That’s not science but scientism, a religion.
Despite human imperfection, you can still find examples of trustworthiness. Couples celebrate 50 years of marriage. Schoolteachers instruct children with care. Pastors stay true to their message. Business managers keep their word. Employees are honest and dedicated. You can even walk out of your own valley of disloyalty, though it can be a long and scrutinized journey back to trustworthiness.
In a world where betrayal, dishonesty, and incompetence can appear without warning, your best hope is to trust this: “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement” (Titus 3:3-8).