Casualties of a secular society has been the loss of free speech, tolerance, truth, and trust.
why we are failing in these things.
I want to take look and identify what is at the root and the outcome as to why it is,
- we no longer believe anything people say to us,
- why it is we have become intolerant, and
- why it is we have lost the freedom to speak.
At the centre of all these topics is a little word called trust.
So many of us today suffer from trust issues and these have been brought about by many reasons.
Trust is built into our DNA to both be trustworthy and to expect trust.
A new-born baby doesn’t understand what trust is, but he or she has a natural instinct to trust the adults in their lives.
But what is trust?
A definition from the Miriam Webster Dictionary describes it as “an assured reliance on character, along with ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. A dependence as I mentioned a moment ago -a dependence on something or one in which confidence is placed.
Trust is built on many things such as “transparency, reciprocation, understanding, safety, openness, safety, time, but you can’t go past things like benevolence, honesty. openness, reliability, and finally, confidence.
The opposite of trust is mis or distrust, scepticism, or doubt.
Trust is a big thing in a person’s life, because so much so, that once a year the Readers Digest conducts a poll on the most trusted brands.
I can think of many brands such as St John, the fire service, doctors, nurses which are on the list should rate higher than a brand of chocolate,
Even research NZ list of most trusted professionals list the Fire Service at the top of their list with real estate agents beating out Journalists for the bottom of the heap.
Time Magazine’s list of its top 100 Influencers, there we see basketballs Michael Jordan, and entertainment’s Drew Barrymore amongst a list of people I have never heard of as people we should look up and listen to.
So, when it comes to trust, you know real trust, people, or organisations you can really rely on to help you form an opinion, to rely on for your security, who it is who will give you confidence in both the direction your world is heading and understanding in order provide you with all you need.
It says something about our country don’t you think when the number one brand we trust is a chocolate brand, I mean are we that shallow. The top influencers in the world are sports stars and talk back hosts.
Let me draw your attention to the brands and people who are not on any of the lists and haven’t been for a long time.
The Church, The Clergy, God, The Pope, The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Monarchy, The prime minister. The President of the United States, Parents, these are just some from the top of my head.
And we wonder why our world is looking more like a chocolate bar, all wrapped up in colourful tinfoil, solid enough when you handle it and goes soft in your mouth to make it palatable.
The result is temporary satisfaction and while chocolate has some health benefits, given its addictive taste, too much of a good thing isn’t satisfying. Just ask Eve.
I’m not here to discuss the benefits of chocolate, but does it not concern you that we no longer rate things like God, Church, leaders, and Kings anymore.
And d’you know what we are not alone.
Evidence of this can be found in a pew research poll in the Us and a recent poll in England as to the reasons people don’t or won’t go to church anymore.
A much-vaunted Pew study found, for example, that nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that trust, among both individuals and in institutions, is falling and trust issues in the church and claims of hypocrisy are rising.
Among those who claimed no faith, religious hypocrisy was far and away the most cited response, identified by 42% as behind their doubt about Christian beliefs.
It grieves me and it should you when we see so many of these pious church organisations today and yesterday represent the creator of this earth with contempt.
Trust issues have and always be at the heart of the matter, but it must stop.
Gods’ organisations here on earth should always be and remain top of the list when it comes to trust.
Those who attend church should be able to have the same level of trust in their church leadership, as they do in their parents and their marriage partners.
The abuse of trust is commonplace, and its not just in today’s world, but when someone abuses trust, they may feel guilty, but to those affected it’s devastating. Some do recover, but others don’t.
When you lose trust in someone, it means you have shut the door on almost everything in life, God included. And that is a rabbit hole you don’t want to be responsible for
We, as Christians, we need to emulate the trust we have in the creator of this earth.
There is scripture after scripture about trusting in God, whether we believe or not, we trust in God the sun will rise in the morning, just as the account in Genesis says.
It’s important that church leaders do not abuse their positions.
When I go to church I want to hear and learn from the Bible what God says, I want to be taught or at least have confirmed that I am living my life in a way which gains Gods favour.
Pastor, hearing you tell stories about your family is not what people come to church for. They trust you to be up front, and talk about sin, convict, stir the heart, speak of judgement and redemption.
This is the house of God we are talking about, trust me when I say it’s not to be dumbed down to reflect the worlds values, it’s not there to give people a quick hit like a chocolate bar.
From the pew, pastors should aim higher than Michael Jordan when it comes to motivating people.
Rather than dumbing down to the level of a Drew Barrymore talk show.
It is Gods people, those who profess God is in their hearts who should be the real influencers of this world.
Earlier when I mentioned the pew study out of the US there was a mention of hypocrisy as a reason people turn off church.
But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians-
- -when they are sombre and joyless,
- when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration,
- when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths and any trust it had, is gone.
Wearing the Christian T-shirt, having the little fish on our car, wearing a dog collar, all means nothing, if your actions speak differently.
I am not suggesting Christians should retreat from public displays of faith.
Rather, it’s the opposite.
What the world needs most right now is
- more trustworthy Christianity, not less:
- more people committed to connecting ultimate meaning with everyday life,
- more minds sharpened by and formed in the truth,
- more redeemed people open to discussing what matters with their lost and searching neighbours,
- more hearts alive to both beauty and suffering whose hope is in King Jesus and His kingdom.
We need to turn this crisis into an opportunity.
People can longer trust in government, it the world’s leadership, People are now longer allowed to freely express their thoughts.
People today are spiritually bereft of a future.
They are spiritually hungry, relationally isolated, and tired of being suspicious but tend to be more open to spiritual things than those who are overly distracted.
What the world needs more than anything is a return to Trust
Where will they find it?
- On the internet,
- through the media
- or will they find it at your church.
Before you answer that question, can you find trust within your own church?
Can you be confident and trust you are getting the true word of the Bible or is it being watered down and manipulated by man.
Trust me when I say, many will just put up their hands, but it will be in despair, and only a few can raise their hands and truthfully say yes.
What is trust again?
“an assured reliance on character, along with ability, strength, or truth of someone or something. A dependence as I mentioned a moment ago -a dependence on something or one in which confidence is placed.
Ask yourself and truthfully answer, can I really trust my church to give me transparency, reciprocation, understanding, openness. safety, time, benevolence, honesty, reliability, and confidence in teaching me to become a child of God.
Or is it more like a bar of chocolate, satisfying a desire for just an hour on Sunday.
You know what? If we are being honest, it’s not a chocolate bar New Zealand needs, it’s a return to God,
All the things we have related to trust can only be found in him, the creator of the world and it is he who we should look too as the most trusted.