The Virtue of Trust



"Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly, it's the honest ones you have to watch out for because you can never predict when they're going to do something completely . . . stupid."
~Pirates of the Caribbean*

"There's nothing to live with but mendacity."
~Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

It is a very difficult thing for some to learn that, when it comes down to it, there is not a single person on this planet who can be trusted completely (maybe there's one, but I've never met him). Ironically, it is fear of losing control (stemming, like everything else, from pride) that causes a person to depend on the trustworthiness of another, a dependency that will inevitably prove to be futile. Through the grace of God, we one day discover the ugliness of disordered trust, and in so doing, we discover an ugly part of ourselves. "So that disgust with mendacity is really disgust with myself" (Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof).


Part of the process of overcoming this, moreover, is cutting off all feelings of trust and dependancy on anyone. Living life not trusting anyone to the point to where our connections to people are dramatically altered is part of a purifying step that ultimately leads to trust in God alone, so long as it is not too often sidetracked by bitterness. It therefore isn't any wonder that the more we trust in Christ, the more we are purified by Divine Charity; as a result, we find our ability to trust in others returned, but it is not a trust based on dependancy, but rather one of self-sacrifice and love for the other person.

Trust as a virtue is not the act of grossly depending on another, and in return, having them validate us as a human being. It is not blind trust of another's opinion, whereby when an opinion is offered, you either take it completely as true, or if you don't agree with it, you lose your capacity for legitimate friendship with that person.

True Christian Charity, rather, requires true Christian trust. Real trust involves knowing the risk, making yourself vulnerable, not because you need that person to validate you, but because you love that person. It is an act of the will, an act of surrendering yourself. You trust a person, knowing that they are not only capable of betraying your trust, but will likely do so at some point in time, whether by telling you a white lie, or betraying you in a more serious way. That is one of the greatest risks of true love. It is a profoundly intentional sacrifice. This is not to say that trust means giving your life savings to a compulsive gambler, or marrying someone who is a compulsive lier and habitual adulterer (virtues don't stem from stupidity, after all). However, we should trust when we can, within reason and prudence. This is because trust that stems from prudent Christian charity motivates honesty, even in the most stubbornly dishonest.

*(Yes, quoting this movie to support a point makes me a nerd. Especially when it doesn't actually support my point)

1 comment:

gipsyjaime said...

HEY-tried to comment on this a long time ago, and was having issues with computer. anyway: va bene, greengirl. hear, here. keep trucking ...