A recent article in The Tennessean ("Skeptics thrive in America," 6/8/03) began with these two words. It went on to reveal how Americans do not trust others as much as they once did. The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago has been tracking the percentage of trust that most Americans have. In 1964, 53% of those surveyed said that "most people can the trusted." The numbers dropped to 49% in 1971, 44% in 1980, and 39% in 1991. The latest figures, from 2002, dropped to only 35%.
So why have trust levels been dropping? The article mentions various theories, including rising crime rates, television, rising divorce rates, living in larger communities, weaker job security, and rising economic inequality. One common thread with each of these theories is people. People are resp-onsible for all the the listed theories. We could say, then, that people are responsible for decreasing levels of trust.
We must remember that people are humans, fallible beings Some people -- those who have no regard for righteous living -- will intentionally deceive us and use us to their advantage. Even those who have the best of intentions will at times fail us and cause us to question our levels of trust in them. The Psalmist warns against putting our trust in people (Psa. 146: 3).
We must also remember that we are human and fallible. We must be careful about trusting ourselves. We often think we know what is best but are simply wrong. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Prov. 16:25). We must learn to "lean not on your own understanding" (Prov. 3:5).
But all is not gloom and doom when it comes to trust. We can put our complete trust in God. While others may fail us, God never will. He has promised, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Heb. 13:5), and His track record proves His trustworthiness. "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man" (Psa. 118:8).
And while we have all proven ourselves to adequately navigate our way through live on our own, we can trust God's guidance. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Prov. 3:5,6).
So the next time some event occurs that may decrease your level of trust in
others or yourself, read a piece of the currency in your pocket. Notice that
each piece says, "In God We Trust." If
you will carry that thought with you, not only in your pocket but also in your heart, then you will have the answer to every situation in life.
By Troy Nicholson, via. Gospel Power, Vol. 14, No. 45, Nov. 11, 2007.
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