In 1957, Johnny Carson was just beginning his career as a comedian and game show host when he landed a job as the host of a new program called, “Who Do You Trust?” Like most game shows, the premise was entertaining and not very sophisticated. Later, of course, Carson became perhaps the greatest late-night talk show host.
The question that was asked then still troubles me today. Who do you trust? The problem may be for some that we don’t trust anybody!
Politicians may say “I approve this message” when the ad raises strong questions about its truthfulness. The media may proclaim a headline to get attention, but the story that follows does not necessarily match the headline. Mark Twain is credited with saying, “A lie travels around the world while the truth is putting on its boots.” Even that saying has its authenticity questioned.
For nearly 60 years I listened in the counseling office to husbands and wives who wondered if they could trust their spouses. Relationships crumble when trust levels are decreased or vanish. When trust is violated, it becomes extremely difficult to rebuild.
Perhaps we each should ask ourselves, am I one who can be trusted? If we probe that question, then the foundation on which our trustworthiness may be examined. Here are some considerations:
Trustworthiness is based on personal integrity. When you consider those you trust, you recognize that doubt is not a major part of your relationship. A sense of integrity dispels doubt! Integrity is founded on truthfulness. Any of us may give our parents a pass when we discover that they were pretending to be Santa Claus, but we begin to seriously doubt their truthfulness if we find that they have deceived us about more important facts.
Question: Do I possess and demonstrate a sense of personal integrity? There is no greater test of a man’s integrity than when his behavior is wrong.
Deceitfulness, or manipulation, can also undermine one’s integrity. Acknowledging our weaknesses — perhaps even when it is most painful — can keep us functioning with integrity. A person of integrity will admit when he is wrong. Perhaps the most difficult part of faith is the requirement to confess our guilt before God. It may be even more difficult to admit before fellow human beings.
When I read the Book of Job, I discover a man of integrity — one who suffers multiple sorrow and losses but will not fail at the most important test of trust in his life. He will not blame God for his circumstances. When his wife wonders how Job can continue, he asks an amazing question: “If we accept good things from God, shall we not also accept trouble?”
In the final evaluation of our lives, each of us must ask, “did I trust God?” No matter who else you may trust, He is the ultimate answer to the question, “who do you trust?”
Peter, who boasted of unfailing loyalty to Jesus, was confronted with whether he would leave. He finally confessed, “Lord, to whom shall we go; you have the words of eternal life.”
For all his other faults, Peter has learned who he could trust.
Think about that.