Our friends arrived from Asia and we stopped off at a Migros to buy some fruit. I picked out some apples and weighed them, slapping the sticker on the bag. “You can do that?” my friend said. “Do what?” I asked. “Weigh your own fruit. How do they know you are weighing all the apples? You could be cheating. We could never do that at home.”
This led to a conversation about different cultures and living in a culture based on trust. I’ve lived in a number of countries that are largely based on trust. I’ve also lived in countries that aren’t based on trust. I remember being followed around a store once by an employee who was making sure I didn’t take anything without paying for it. It was a strange experience to me. I had to be watched in order to be trusted.
Unfortunately, it looks like trust is in short supply everywhere today. Surveys tell us that our trust in several key institutions is falling. Just consider what people think about government, media, big business, and even churches. Who can we trust anymore? It seems that the structures of society we have so often put hope in are indeed fragile.
I think it’s a sad thing when societies lose trust in their authorities and institutions that are meant to serve and help them. I understand why it happens, but I wonder how all of this will affect the future of our civil society. What kind of world will we have if we can’t trust people?
It’s easy to become cynical and decide that nobody or nothing can be trusted. If we have to start rebuilding our expectations, we can start with God’s character. He is trustworthy. Don’t let your lack of confidence in earthly authorities destroy your trust in God. Hold fast to the truth that Scripture affirms: “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:20)