As Freemasons, in cases of danger and difficulty, ultimately, we all put our trust in God. However, it is clear to most of us that trust is necessary beyond these circumstances for things to work properly in families, business, lodges and society in general. Trust is a firm reliance on the integrity, honesty, ability and character of a person or thing. According to the US President, it extends to government: “If the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists - to protect them and to promote their common welfare - all else is lost.” Barack Obama
Trust is likely to be lost if there is a belief that someone has not been truthful, honest, fair or sufficiently benevolent towards another person or party. Trust is lost when confidence is gone but it is more easily forgiven in this circumstance that where there is a lack of integrity, a character deficiency.
Success can result in a rise in confidence, security and optimism but achievements need to be in matters important to the other party and not in pursuit of a proven unworthy agenda, an outdated dogma or unaffordable idealism: policies all so derived from envy and greed. Failure, to pursue and achieve objectives sought by others will only add to insecurity and mistrust. The perception of honesty, truthfulness, competence and fairness are important. There must be an apparent transparency in actions and no devious ploys. Substance, and not spin, is required.
Imagine how people from failed economies and welfare states like Greece must now feel, their trust betrayed by governments that have taken the easy course and lived beyond their means to stay in power. The Turks now doubt are happy with no “rescue packages” paid during the GFC and now with a growth rate 80% higher than China and without the inevitable economic consequences!
Trust is difficult to gain but much more easily lost and almost impossible to regain. It can be lost in an instant. Often, there are no second chances with Trust. It occurs when a person feels more vulnerable to the other party and when their positive expectations are not realised. Your past will most likely be reviewed by the betrayed to seek an explanation. There is the saying: “The way you think is like your body odour – you can’t smell it but everyone else can.”
Trust can be questioned through no fault of your own – poor communications, suspicion, “baggage”, misinformation or bad timing. Trust can also be questioned if there is a lack of judgment. If there is a quick, unprompted action with unqualified humility to remedy an issue, it is more likely that a large measure of trust will be regained but lingering doubts will be likely to remain. We may forgive but not forget. However if trust has been lost by deliberate, intentional deceit it is never likely to be regained nor should it. It does not help credibility to keep shamelessly blaming others for the situation and your own deficiencies.
For a person to be trusted again he or she must show that they have learned from their mistakes and, when appropriate, that their behaviour has changed. Above all, they must convince everyone that their integrity is sound and that they have unshaken fidelity: matters on which our teachings are sound.
Trust is essential within a Lodge. We all need to be sure to demonstrate and deserve trust.