Over the past few months, the world has been hit with so many devastating and disappointing news. Most recently this news has come in the world of sexual harassment. The news is littered with stories… and there’s a common thread: people used their position of power to violate the trust of others.
Trust is a tricky thing. It comes naturally to all humans because we desire to be close to someone. Trust is what makes this closeness possible. Yet when that trust is violated at any point, it is twice as hard to trust again. Trust is necessary for the world and without it we would have a world full of skeptics and nothing but mistrust and destruction. At times when the news feed reads the way it does, it may seem like trust is not possible.
But Uncle Ben in Spiderman’s famous quote “With great power comes great responsibility” can grant insight into trust. Trust is violated when power is misused to harm someone or something. Regardless if someone has status of influence or not and to what degree it is, everyone has issues and will (if not already) violate trust at some point. Where we people fail to understand and live out is that NO ONE IS IMMUNE! We all make mistakes. The severity maybe different but generally we all make mistakes and thus cannot be trusted (or rather, we can trust when we realize that we all make mistakes and we should expect frail, human beings).
So why is the news painting such a negative picture of high profile people falling from various positions and why does it hit us so hard? I am going to use an old, Biblical term here: Idol. The idea of an idol is to create something (either in our own image or something we desire) and worship — follow, use, need, and focus on it. It becomes this “untouchable” and “perfect” image of whatever you are after. For celebrities or people of influence, this status is all over because of the nature of their job or position. Smaller issues that we normal people would not care about as much are magnified even more when you have that status, thus the fall is great.
There in lies the issue of our failed logic: Some people are more important than others. They become idols and when they fall it leaves an impact, a massive one. They are not superhuman and deserve a different level treatment. They are human beings, just like you and me, and struggles with issues that we all struggle with. To idolize someone, wether you know it or not, needs to be where the mindset and action change. And those with great power, influence and status need to be reminded that they are just like everyone else BUT with a different difference: a Greater Responsibility. Funny how we only focus on the NEGATIVES of people, and do not celebrate the POSITIVES of those who are using their power for great, positive things. Maybe the issue is what we focus on – just a thought.
So how do we live on with trust fully knowing that at any moment, that trust can be violated and cause damage? Would it be better to lock ourselves away and do not come out? No- so I offer this suggestion: Forgiveness. To often we love to hold grudges against people who have done us wrong because it is easier. Forgiveness is much harder because it means you are releasing the person off the hook. NOW it does not mean you have OKAYED what they did, that person needs to repent (again, another Biblical term that means to turn away from and go towards…or in other words, a complete 180 in their life). The repentance isn’t some sort of cheap word and action, but a deep internal change that is seen by all. Forgiveness is the mental and physical understanding that you are like me and you deserve it as much as I do. In this society, we love to demonize people…especially good people. In some way, it is a necessary side affect of our idolization of people. But that demonization should not be continued. Forgiveness, though a harder path, is the higher path because it promotes moving forward for all parties.
Forgiveness at this level, I believe, can only happen through the power of God. And then a re-shift has to be taken into account as to how we view each person we come in contact with and see from various media outlets. I have always said to people, “You need to trust in God because He will never fail you. I have proof of that in my own life and journey. Mainly because people have failed me time and time again. To think it will stop now is stupid. People will fail me all the time and I probably will fail you at times. So don’t put you faith, trust, hope in me…but it in God.” We can do life together as long as you don’t lift me to a higher status because chances are I will disappoint and I do not want you world to crash. I am not planning on doing anything that will violate that trust in any way nor does this give me an excuse to do whatever I want. That is where accountability and honestly comes into the mix to build us both up. Your overall trust cannot and should not be in a idea, feeling, human or object. It will fail you 100% of the time! From my experience, I can trust God no matter what because He has never violated that trust in my life.
The old philosopher and theologian Paul quotes a song that says this about Jesus:
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
This passage in a beautiful way points to one main idea: Humility! Some call it “The Divine Disgrace” Why would someone of ultimate status and power give that up to be weak, limited and die for doing nothing wrong? It is crazy, yet trust was not violated. In fact, it shows me that God was building trust with His creation through Jesus. This is not the natural or normal way of human thinking! Most people would do the opposite of this song and say “Screw you all”. But God’s compassion and patience lead Him to make the move first to establish trust to his creation that first turned their backs on Him. Imagine if victims forgive their perpetuators. That is what happened here but in an ultimate wholistic way.
While this is our stance on trust, forgiveness and support – it is in no way EASY! In fact this is very hard but I have learned from experience that forgiveness and repentance have to be lived out in order for healing and restoration to happen. From there, trust can be rebuilt.
My hope is that today you are encouraged to place your trust in the right places, and offer forgiveness. It is then that we can enter this holiday season, and say, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!”