1 Thessalonians 5:11 & 12
So continue encouraging each other and building each other up, just like you are doing already. Brothers and sisters, we ask you to respect those who are working with you, leading you, and instructing you.

I was doing a study on the word that is translated respect in the passage from 1 Thessalonians. It was interesting for me to read that the word translated respect in the CEB version, is derived from a word that talks about seeing with one’s physical eyes, moving to the metaphorical of seeing with spiritual eyes. The word implies that having regard for, cherishing, paying attention to another, begins with “seeing them.”

The light bulb goes on — Relationships are often the foundation upon which trust is built.

One of the Core Values for the Desert Southwest Conference Initiative for Growth and Vitality is Trust. So often trust is broken down when people don’t do the hard work of “seeing” one another. We get caught up in transference issues, or we allow our projections to become truth to us.

I remember serving at a church where it seemed to be the job of one of the members to demean me at every possible moment. Often untrue things were said behind closed doors, things that people took to be truth. It was a painful time.

One day this person and I ended up at the same table at lunch quite unexpectedly. I could feel everything inside of me tighten as she sat down. I was determined to not let my inner thoughts show, and asked God to help me live that into reality. (No saints here.)

During lunch the woman shared that when she was eight years old her mother died. Her father remarried and the new mother didn’t want the pest of a child around. She was sent to live with relatives. God had blessed me with the opportunity to hear a sacred story about this woman’s life, and as a result I understood her transference issues. I was the unwanted substitute mother, and she was afraid I wouldn’t love her. So she immediately began to act out even though she was well into her 70s.

From that moment on I decided I would let her know how valuable and important she was to me. After eight months, our relationship finally turned around and grew into something really special.

So how do you build trust? Here are my thoughts. (Perhaps you have others to add.)

  1. Learn to treasure the gifts and abilities of the other person. Each person adds something of value to the ministry team. Look for it. Affirm that value in what you say — often. God has placed you together for a reason.
  2. View your differences as strengths. For some reason so many people have been taught that if you don’t agree then something is wrong. That may not be the case at all. God has created each person with their own strengths and weaknesses. Together you will be more creative, innovative. (Aren’t there some Bible stories that address this?) As disciples ask God to help you discover how your differences strengthen what God has called you to do. Let it build a sense of synergy in the process.
  3. Bless and do not curse. The verse in the Book of James that talks about the power of the tongue – it has real truth to teach us. It’s is easy to say one thing in public and quite another in private. If you want to build trust, be consistent in your esteem and encouragement of others. When you look for the best in others, you will find it. In private and in public speak well of one another. Let that come from an authentic place deep within your soul.

This week as you go about doing whatever it is you do, experiment a little. Look for the good in someone else, affirm your differences, and then intentionally speak only words of appreciation and praise about the other person. See then through the eyes of grace and love. In doing that you fulfill what is written in the verse above. Respect and trust grows.

How will you intentionally build trust in the relationships you have? Write it down – pray about it – do it.

Blessings —

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