Its really easy to look at other people’s behaviour and see their mistakes, their foolishness and yes, their stupidity. So reading todays passage from Exodus its easy for us to shake our heads at how the people of Israel turn away from following God and demand some kind of idol- something they can see and touch, because Moses has gone away.
And yet we do the same thing- our need for reassurance from others, our demand for proof before we put our trust in things (whether in God or something simpler)… we’re not so hot on trust. And today, where we see and read about the ‘erosion of trust’ in politics, retail, medicine, education and churches, it seems reasonable and right to demand those assurances, to essentially live without trusting other people.
And thats because we know that we’re not always worthy of the trust that others put in us. We act selfishly or stupidly (even if we rationalise it or don’t see it until later).
So what’s to be done? How do I break the cycle of mistrust? Does it start by saying ‘trust me’ or by saying ‘I trust you’? In the passage from Exodus that I’ve been reading (btw its Exodus 32-33, the bit about the Golden Calf, in case you wondered), Moses blows his top at the people, but then turns to God and says ‘I’ll take the blame for them’- he recognises that just as he bears some responsibility for their failure because he is their spiritual leader, he is responsible for demonstrating how to move on from that failure.
So- how do we do it? I think its something to do with choosing to live in a way that influences people and situations for the better. Recognising that we all have influence over people around us and attempting to trust others while being trustworthy: definitely saying ‘I trust you’ and rarely asking for the trust of others- wait until its offered. That’s how you build bridges between people… the ones that really matter.