Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Trusting Communities

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude…Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5, 7)

We live in an age of distrust. We do not trust institutions, and we see this play out in the news almost every day. There is distrust of government, school boards, doctors, police, religion, etc. It has become common to publicly display our displeasure with whatever institution we have decided not to trust. What is even more troubling is that we have now begun to distrust one another. Our suspicions are no longer limited to institutions. We are uncertain of our neighbors, family members, and coworkers.

To live in a state of constant suspicion is not healthy. Communities, where suspicion is rampant, cannot thrive. They will shrivel and die. Galatians 5:14-15 presents us with the possibility of two different communities.

“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”

One community is founded on love. The other community bites and devours one another until it is no more. These are the options. The type of community we create is up to us.

A community founded on love trusts one another. They share meals together. They form relationships that can weather life’s storms. When disagreement occurs, they seek clarification. They assume the best of others. They draw closer to one another in challenging times. Grace is abundant, and forgiveness is practiced.

A community where trust is absent is suspicious of one another. The worst is always assumed. Relationships are weak and easily broken. Sacrifices are made for self but not for others. Grace is absent. Accusations are plentiful, and reconciliation is not possible.

The world cannot exist without communities built on trust. We will bite and devour one another. Communities are people, and the type of communities we have depends on us. Here’s what we need to do to build trusting communities.

Talk face to face whenever possible.
Assume people are good and have good motives.
Regularly work on strengthening relationships.
Practice grace all the time.
Cultivate opportunities for joy.
Serve one another.
Spend time together often.
Encourage regularly and only critique when necessary.
Focus on your shortcomings rather than the shortcomings of others.

We also need to be aware of influences in our lives that are sources of distrust. If something or someone is causing you to distrust people you love or creating rifts in communities you have belonged to for years, then get rid of it. Be aware of dangerous voices that are bent on destruction.

Choose trust even when it is difficult. Choose trust even though you may get burned. Choose trust even though the world tells you not to. It is a risk. Love is always a risk, but the reward is great, and the possibilities beautiful.

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