The Path of Trust

The idea for this blog has been in my ‘started, needs finishing’ file for over a year. Then the other day I was struggling to get my dog, Rooney, to trust me in a certain situation. Bottom line was that her level of trust was way behind my expectations, despite our almost 4-year relationship. What I was not considering was that in her first two years of life, we were her sixth ‘home.’ What was imprinted on her during that time has affected her trusting nature. It will likely always be that way and I need to respect that fact.

I believe, trust is a choice we make. Trust is like two paths headed directly at each other. When they connect, you have established a trusting relationship. If there is a gap, it is because someone fell short or work still needs to be done. Each ‘path length’ is not necessarily the same to get to this connection point; with Rooney I need to go a long way for her to just come a step in my direction.

God has come 100% of the way with His path. If there is a disconnect it is because we have built a wall or failed to open our heart. Since God has built his path all the way to us, the longer we travel on our journey’s path to Him, the stronger the relationship. I also see this in a strong marriage where it isn’t a 50%-50% relationship; it is a 100%-100% one.

This connection of trust not only applies within marriages; but in families, teams, companies, communities, and a nation – anywhere there are relationships. Whether you’re on a sports team, in an office, or a member of a family; if you can’t trust one another there will be issues. Mike Krzyzewski, the Hall of Fame College Basketball Coach, said: “In any organization, trust must be developed among every member of the team if success is going to be achieved.”

We need to be intentional about creating trust and not creating mis-trust. Integrity is the foundation for a high-trust environment. Your credibility rises and falls with your integrity and trust. Without integrity, credibility is lost, and trust cannot be built or maintained. Integrity comes first. No exceptions. Above success.  Above friendship. Above everything. Integrity can be summed up simply as doing the right thing for the right reason even when no one is watching. The word integrity comes from the Latin word meaning ‘whole’ or ‘complete’, as in, whole number (integer).

In continuing the theme of my last blog, Don’t Be a Processionary Caterpillar, you need to exhibit integrity in the moment of choice. Words and deeds, values and actions match – no gap between intent and behavior.  Your values and integrity are the basis for your decision-making process. It might not be an easy decision and there is no guarantee it will be a correct decision. However, it will always be the right decision; made using the information available at the time based on your core values. People should not be surprised by your decisions and direction.

Hockey teams play what they call a ‘gap free’ defense.  The concept is to minimize the gap between you and your assignment (an opposing player).  The bigger the gap, the more space and time your opponent can operate. This gap is detrimental to the chances of success. The bigger the gap between your beliefs and behaviors, the more likely you fail in living the life you could.

Trust is established through action. Tell the truth in a way people can verify.  Be real and genuine; open and authentic.  Err on the side of disclosure.  Operate on the premise “What you see is what you get.”  Don’t have hidden agendas or hide information. The wonderful thing about integrity is that it is one of the few things in life that no one will ever be able to forcefully take away from you.  You choose to give it away.

Billy Graham was a North Carolina farmer’s son who preached to millions and became a pastor to presidents. He connected with audiences worldwide because of his friendliness, openness, and humility; but his remarkable effectiveness and longevity was a result of his personal integrity and sincerity.

The Bible is filled with scripture references around integrity. A couple of my favorites are:

Proverbs 11:3 – The honesty of the upright guides them; the faithless are ruined by their duplicity.

Proverbs 21:3 – To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

2 Corinthians 8:21 – For we are concerned for what is honorable not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of others.

It’s not enough for us to act with character; what we do must match who we are. We cannot change who we are unless we remember Whose we are. Paul testified in 2 Corinthians 1:12: “we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with the simplicity and sincerity of God, [and] not by human wisdom but by the grace of God.” Peter cautioned to “Rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, insincerity, envy, and all slander” (1 Peter 2:1).

Build your path of trust day by day, choice by choice, cobblestone by cobblestone. Be gap free, genuine and real. Remember building the path does not stop when you meet your dog, your spouse, your co-worker, and especially God. Go further and deeper, build the relationship stronger. Build the bond of trust on love with the simplicity and sincerity of God’s grace.

Scroll to Top