How to be a better person? # 8

CAN I BE TRUSTED?

The seventh characteristic of a healthy attitude is faithfulness (Gal.5: 22). I am looking at it in the sense of loyalty and trust. Am I dependable or can I be trusted. Years ago, I sold some property to a person on a loan. One day, he became religious and exempted himself from his obligation. Fortunately, a non-religious person stepped in and fulfilled his obligation. Is this what Paul or Jesus had in mind? Is that the kind of attitude that we ought to show in a world that no longer trusts anyone?

Trust must begin with me, with us. Before I demand that others trust me, I have to trust in myself. I must build confidence in myself and in my ability that I can do the task that becomes my responsibility. Jesus counseled as follows, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trust worthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own” (Lk.16: 10-12). Jesus’ point was, and still is, that we learn from others that are reliable before we can manage our own affairs. Under trustworthy guides, we can become confident in ourselves and in our performance. It is of the utmost significance that we align ourselves with people that live by their word where, “a yes is a yes and a no is a no” (Mt.5: 37). Our third and youngest son became proficient on the piano by following achievers and not hanging out with losers.

We have too many losers and many are quite noble. For instance, we go to a Christian Church and the minister goes on and on what God can do. Here is a favored quote, “God will supply all your needs according to His riches.” Secular socialism asserts that government can play God. There is no doubt that creation contains all the material man needs to exist, but only man can harvest it. Even the manna that fell from heaven had to be gathered by reliable people; otherwise, it rotted because of their dishonesty (Ex. 16). Our leaders, religious or secular are robbing us of our confidence that we can make it on our own.

We are not talking about super humans or some supper race. In fact, I am talking about myself. I lost 75 % use of my hands in a fire. I was a farmer and wood worker. I made my living with my hands and not my mind. When I became physically disabled, I could have simply depended on others to provide for me a living. With the help of reliable guides – there were many unreliable ones – I learned to trust in myself. I became confident that I had more in me than a mere physical know how to become proficient in being of use in our world. It was all up to me to rebuild my life and a purpose for living. The purpose was not to please myself but to manage well what I was trusted with even if there was no remuneration. Those of us that are called to serve to better the lot of others are not promised nor should they expect anything in return. The downfall of our entire moral structure is due to the false premise that everybody deserves a paycheck from someone. Unless we gain confidence in creating our own income, we deserve none. The survival rate for a people or a nation that does not teach confidence that people can contribute proficiently is short lived. “He who does not work shall ultimately not eat!”

We will never become a better person until we install and instill some confidence into ourselves. We are not educated or proficient until we know who we are and what we can do. What Socrates said in the sixth century before Christ is still valid today. “Who, then, do I call educated? First, those who control circumstances instead of being mastered by them; those who meet all occasions manfully and act in accordance with intelligent thinking; those who are honorable in all dealings, who treat good-naturedly persons and things that are disagreeable; and, furthermore, those who hold their pleasure under control and are not overcome by misfortune; finally those who are not spoiled by success” (Wa.814). A person that manipulates others for his own good and those that assist him may raise an eyebrow, but will an honest and fair employer trust him again (Lk.16: 1-9)? Neither will the person be left in charge that does not try to improve his/her chances with little or a small task. It is after we prove ourselves by at least doubling what we are given to work with that we shall be put in charge of larger projects and receive even more recognition (Mt.25: 14-30).

We are all servants that are serving someone. Even our masters are merely servants that must prove their trustfulness. It is when certain individuals begin to lord over others that they lose the respect of their followers. The highest honor for a master is when he/she serves rather than is being served (Jn.13: 12-17; Mt.20: 28). We are all going to be held accountable, even in this life. Socrates, before he died told his accusers, “Wherefore, O judges, be of good cheer about death, and know this of a truth – that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after life” (Wa.864). Jesus echoed a similar message that is still trying to reach us. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food in the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions” (Mt.24: 45-47). Some one once said, “The tragedy of the world is that men have given first-class loyalty to second-class causes, and these causes have betrayed them” (Wa.1612). Yes, it is the lack of trust in ourselves and in each other that is betraying and defeating us.