People are as different as the books in the pictures to the left. Our lives are filled with a variety of experiences, temperaments, beliefs, values, etc. However, there are a few qualities that will help you and me to become more trustworthy people in the eyes of others. These qualities apply to people across the cultural, generational, socio-economic spectra. SO, what are they? How can you and I engender trust in the people we know? How can we send the clear signal that people can open the books of their lives to us?
- COMMITMENT TO OTHERS. Our commitment to others needs to be less contract-based and more covenant-based. A contract is a kind of agreement that goes both ways. You pay on a certain date a certain amount and I’ll provide a service or a good to you. If you stop paying or I stop providing, the contract falls apart, and so does the basis of our relationship. However, a covenant often means that I will make a promise and keep my commitment to you no matter what. That’s nature, of course of the marital relationship and of parenting. We make a commitment to others to transcends how well they keep up their end of the bargain. Very often, we don’t even expect someone to be able to do anything for us in return. We simply make a commitment to love, protect, provide for or serve. When people sense that we are in a relationship simple because we are making a commitment to love them, not because of what they can do for us, they will become more trusting of us. This is a basic quality that God posseses toward his people. He makes covenants and remains faithful to them. When we take on this quality, people will perceive us as deserving of their trust.
- FORGIVE OTHERS. If we make a steady and regular decision to become a person of grace rather than grudges, others will notice. A disposition to forgive will make an impression on others that teaches them they can trust us. When we keep scores, regularly remind others of what they have done or what we have had to endure from them, it squelches the right conditions for them to come to trust us. What I am suggesting here is not only forgiving the person whose trust you hope to win, but a character of grace and a habit of forgiving is a cue that invites others to trust you, whether they have offended you in the past or not. One of the reasons why Jesus won the trust of the people is because he regularly extended forgiveness to others. The same is true for you and me.
- EMPOWER OTHERS. Choose service over selfishness. If you regularly find ways to serve others, instead of finding ways for them to serve you, people will pick up on this. When you have a basic disposition that looks for the needs of others and seeks to serve, it creates a tendency to trust in those around you. Humble service is not only a a basic quality of Christ that Christ-followers should emulate, but it is a basic oil in the machinery of human relationships.