In Who Can We Trust?
If you are like me, then you probably became increasingly weary over the much-heated, debated, and crazed political season that just ended. Regardless of party affiliation, one constant complaint I’ve heard over the past year is a lack of trust many Americans have for Congress, the FBI, the “Washingotn machine,” the media, and for both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump.
7 in 10 Americans believe that the country is on the wrong track; 8 in 10 are dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed. Only 23 percent have confidence in banks, and just 19 percent have confidence in big business. Less than half the population expresses “a great deal” of confidence in the public-school system or organized religion.
Obviously, there are deep and dividing issues before us as a nation. Many Americans have shifted from saying “In God We Trust” to asking “In who (or what) can we trust?” Though I can’t respond to every issue this election revealed, I can say that many of the most pressing complaints and comments I’ve heard in response to this election have provoked me to personally consider my character, my convictions, and the overall validity of my word to others. Additionally, as a Christ-follower, it has forced me to examine the emphasis I presently place on God’s Word and His expectations on my life to honor Him regardless of the shifting and swaying of the American cultural.
During the last half of the seventh century b.c., the prophet Jeremiah was dealing with some of the very cultural, political, and religious issues plaguing our natiuon today. Jeremiah was commissioned by God to warn His people of their lack of respect and outright defiance of His holy Word. The people of Jerusalem had turned to their own selfish ways and pleasures and were refusing to return to God. In Jeremiah 5:1 msg, God says,
“Patrol Jerusalem’s streets. Look around. Take note. Search the market squares. See if you can find one man, one woman, a single soul who does what is right and tries to live a true life. I want to forgive that person.”
Obviously the phrase “one man, one woman, a single soul” is a hyperbole—an exaggeration to make a point. Jeremiah himself would have been such a person who tried to do right. But the intention of God here is to make the point that He longs to bless those who live upright lives.
Trustworthiness has been at the very core of countless conversations throughout this election year. I have been reminded that being seen as somoene who is trustworthy is a critical principle that ultimately defines, not only my reputation, but also my impact upon those with whom I come in contact. People want to place their faith and support in those who prove themselves honorable and trustworthy.
Hearing both republicans and democratets throughout the year call the other side a “liar” reminded me of the lesson I learned as a senior in high school about trustworthiness. I don’t remember telling a lie to a friend of mine that year, but I do remember my friend adamantly believing that I did. Either way, she never got over it. During our Senior Banquet, while reading the senior predictions, she made this prediction about me:
“Jeffrey will one day own his own business. The business: lie detector machines. Unfortunately, he will never become successful because every time he walks into his own factory, all of the machines will go off!”
Pretty cold, huh? These probably weren’t her exact words. Nonetheless, I’ve never forgotten the gist of what she said. She thought I had lied to her. Therefore, in her eyes, I could not be trusted.
I learned a valuable (and embarrassing) lesson that day: no one likes a liar. As a matter of fact, Proverbs 12:22 niv says, “The Lord detests lying lips.”
Detests. That’s some pretty strong language from God—language you and I can’t ignore. Ever since that incident in high school, I’ve worked hard to be a man of integrity who both sticks to what I say I will do and strives to always do what is right.
Throughout Scripture, especially in Proverbs, we see that God means serious business when it comes to being a person who is trustworthy:
“A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but the Lord condemns a crafty man.” Proverbs 12:2, niv
“The truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil goes to his death. The Lord detests men of perverse heart, but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.” Proverbs 11:19-20, niv
“The Lord abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.… The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Proverbs 11:1, 3, niv
George Washington once wrote, “I hope I shall always have firmness and virtue enough to maintain, what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.”
I’m understanding more and more that remaining true and honest as a human is a life-long endeavor. Being on time, not exaggerating a story or situation, and not saying something I don’t mean or can’t back-up are all examples of what it means to be a person of character.
I encourage you to keep learning the same. Work hard to apply to your life principles such as:
- If I don’t believe it and don’t mean it, don’t say it.
- Don’t mislead others with crafty statements or lying exaggerations.
- Make sure my yes is yes and my no is no.
- Be on time to meetings, classes, and events. My consideration of others’ time speaks volumes about my character.
- Just because I can get away with something doesn’t make it okay. I have to remember, what I do in private will eventually shape how I live in public.
Regardless of the direction of our nation, I am reminded that I can allow God’s Word to direct me in the way He would have me go – – as a man working hard to never set off a lie detector!