Many team building workshops inevitably include what is called a “trust fall.” A participant with her back to her group members places her crossed arms on her chest and falls backward. The goal of this exercise is to demonstrate what trust looks and feels like.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines trust in this way: to believe that someone is good and honest and will not harm you, or that something is safe and reliable. This is at the heart of the biblical word, “believe.” It’s actually “trust.” In other words, if I “believe” Jesus, I place my life and my future in Jesus’ hands. It’s a trust fall.
As you can imagine, trust is not an easy thing to build, especially if there has been some trust-crushing experience in the past: a friend betrayed you, a family member raped you, a teacher lied to you, a love interest deeply hurt you. You get the idea.
The thing about trust is that it is a lot like that Indiana Jones moment when Indy steps out into an abyss, fully expecting an invisible bridge to protect him from falling. No relationship begins with absolute clarity and certainty. If absolute certainty was required BEFORE we trust, none of us would ever get to trust.
The road to trust is paved with bricks of human experience which come when someone is kind or generous or wise. Relationship proof builds and trust emerges. Interestingly, the more one trusts in such relationships, the stronger the relationship becomes. Absent trust, the road of experience is of no value.
Who wants to have a relationship with someone who constantly judges, compares, and suspicions one’s motives? It’s a painful experience. On the other hand, real trust enriches relationships that we have with others.
Trust is not to be equated with gullibility. On the other hand, there are some things that it is impossible to know until, with wisdom, we learn to trust each other.
There is no other way. No shortcut. No trust without risk.