THE NECESSITY OF TRUST FOR RELATIONSHIPS (PART ONE): BACKGROUND AND DEFINITIONS OF TERMS

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Of all animals man (mankind) is the most social. The fact is that man is a social being and could not survive long and healthy without relationships of some kind with others. All this is to teach man a fundamental truth that man is a social being and must learn to relate to the other. It all starts with the very close contact the unborn and newly born child experiences with the mother and later on with the father, brothers and sisters, the entire household, and eventually to the neighbors, schoolmates and the wider society in which he/she lives. I once heard a sociologist say that if a newly born child were kept in total isolation and given adequate food, clothing, shelter and other basic needs minus interacting with other fellow human beings, that child when grown up would not be able to speak!

A key component of all human relations, and interactions for that matter, is trust. What is trust? Why is it absolutely vital for all human relationships? What harms are caused by the lack of trust for relationships and in society as a whole? How may we build, maintain and promote trust? We therefore propose a series to explore the subject of trust and its absolute value for all.

The series will proceed as follows. This introductory article will provide some context or background for the series and define the key terms and concept of the topic. The second article will consider God the Almighty as the Source, Object and the One who demands trust from his creatures. In the third article the question of what it entails and takes to trust God totally for all situations and circumstances. The thrust of the fourth article will be on how the lack of trust can harm or even damage relationships of all sorts. The fifth article will focus on how trust is essential and can benefit all of society. And, the sixth article will delve into how we each can learn to trust God and others and be trustworthy.

Common observation and experience teach most of us the vital lesson that trust is significant for all interpersonal relationships and yet it is a rare commodity in most societies of today. The root cause of most our family, communal and societal problems is the lack of trust among human beings and their institutions. Conversely the concept and virtue of trust is a necessary ingredient for building and advancing healthy and dynamic relationships of all sorts. It is therefore, very import, in my view, for us to give some serious thought to the need for enhancing genuine trust among ourselves. What then is trust?

The word trust has all kinds of meanings in different contexts. To trust is to have confidence, to rely on, to be assured of, to have hope that what is promised or expected will be delivered. Some of the synonyms of the noun trust are belief, confidence, assurance, hope, faith, reliance, responsibility for, dependence upon, and support. When one trusts someone or something it means one relies, depends and counts on to do or deliver what is promised or expected.

Some of the qualities of trust are fairness, honesty, dutifulness, dedication and devotion, obedience, and faithfulness. In biblical context trust can be synonymous to belief or faith. In this sense to have trust or faith in God goes beyond believing that someone or something is true and can do what he/she/it says. It involves acceptance and surrender. Hence to have faith or trust in God means one comes to a point of complete surrender to the demands of the object of the trust, God.

Trust in the biblical sense of the word involves belief, emotions, intellect, will, and well considered actions. It entails the whole of the person who trusts or believes and leads to a serious change that requires turning away from certain things, persons and influences to a Person and his will and dictates. It demands reorientation from certain habits, attitudes and mindsets to completely different mindset, attitudes and habits.

If each one of us is to be better and do better in life we ought to examine our lives with regards to whom to trust, how to be and remain trustworthy, and how we can inculcate the virtue of trust of the right kind among those we have any influence over. In order to require trust from others one must first himself/herself be worthy of trust. To be trustworthy is to be counted on to do or deliver as expected. Trust of the right kind is good for all of society as it makes a lot of things to operate better and more efficiently than when trust is absent.

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