Does trust have to be earned?
Recently I was speaking with someone about trust. They said “Trust has to be earned.” I have thought about that comment a great deal since that conversation. What is trust? How is trust earned? Do we live like it has to be earned? If we do live that way, doesn’t that mean we mistrust/distrust others?
I have taken several extended road trips through the Western and Central US and Canada. If I didn’t purchase gas, food, lodging, etc. on those trips because I could only purchase those things from businesses where trust had been earned I wouldn’t have made it very far. Every week I interact with people where trust hasn’t yet been earned. As a follower of Christ I believe I am called to love and interact with others. In order to love others and show them God’s love, don’t I have to trust them? Without trust I will not open myself up for them to see into and share in my life, and I will likely be dishonest with them. “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7) I am not saying we should trust man equally or more than God, and I believe there are times where we need to be cautious and aware or we can be taken advantage of or hurt. In the conversation I referred to we were talking about trusting someone from my church: someone I know of and have some relationship with. That person is a Christian, but the conversation could have referred to my neighbor, boss, co-worker, or any acquaintance in my life.
After a lot of reflection I don’t think trust has to be earned. I think if we are to live openly and transparently with others, we need to offer trust to them. This makes me wonder how Christians could impact the world if we lived with an attitude and the action of trusting instead of distrusting. What is our witness when we don’t show trust? Is there someone you are not trusting because trust hasn’t been “earned”? Are you willing to change and take a risk instead to trust and see what God might want to develop in the relationship?