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Trust-building: Job #1 for leaders

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Second in a series on trust: Arabic cultures are notoriously low-trust. Turn your back on your neighbor and he may stab you. Convert to Christianity and it’s your family’s job to kill you. It’s tragi-comical to watch the American army trying to transplant our high-trust values in a low-tru…
By Seth Barnes

Second in a series on trust:

Arabic
cultures are notoriously low-trust. Turn your back on your neighbor and
he may stab you. Convert to Christianity and it’s your family’s job to
kill you. It’s tragi-comical to watch the American army trying to
transplant our high-trust values in a low-trust culture. It won’t work.
Trust is the glue that holds our families, churches, and economy
together. Because we live in a high-trust culture, we assume that other
nations behave as we do – we’re amazingly naïve about it.

moroccoTrust
is what enables us to specialize and focus on honing one skill set to a
fine point. The neurosurgeon can’t grow enough food for his family and
the farmer can’t operate on his wife’s brain cancer. They have to trust
one another. Just count the number of times you have to trust people in
a given day. Every economic transaction – anything you buy or sell –
requires you trust someone.

When
children grow up in low-trust families where moms and dads show by
their actions that it’s not safe to trust (divorcing or just not
talking to each other), they usually acquire dysfunctional behaviors to
compensate. If they marry, they will likely bring their own children up
in this dysfunction. If they lead organizations, they will create a
toxic, low-trust culture that is trapped in the realm of the
superficial.

And saddest of all, they will struggle all their lives to trust a God who they feel abandoned them to their pain.

If
you’re someone who has never learned to trust, it’s not too late.
Here’s an exhortation: Press into the pain that formed this behavior in
you. Choose to break the bondage of the past. Choose to create a
different culture in your own family. Choose to trust people one at a
time, a day at a time. Set them and yourself free. And if this seems
like an impossible task, find a ministry like this one that specializes in helping you.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14: 14

In my next blog, I’ll list the specific actions a leader can take to build a culture of trust.

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