Trust, confidence, faith, reliance

By Klaus Döring

The three Theological Virtues are Faith, Hope, and Charity.

Faith and trust have similar meanings, and often people will use the words interchangeably. Even Merriam-Webster defines faith as “belief and trust in and loyalty to God.” For most people there is no practical difference between faith and trust; to them, the two are synonymous. Any differences that exist are very fine.

One difference is simply grammatical. Trust can be either a noun or a verb, depending on context. As a noun, trust means “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”; as a verb, it means “to rely on the truthfulness or accuracy of,” “to believe,” “to commit or place in one’s care,” or “to place confidence.” Faith is always a noun (except in cases of its archaic use as a verb).

In Scripture, faith is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). In other words, faith involves trusting in something you cannot explicitly prove. Faith is inseparable from trust; it’s the confidence that God can and will do what He says in His Word. Faith includes both intellectual assent to something and trust in it. So we believe something to be true, and we also place our trust in it—we rely on it. Faith recognizes that a chair is designed to support the person who sits on it, and trust demonstrates faith by actually sitting in the chair.

Faith without trust is not faith. Belief without reliance is empty. Many people believe certain facts about Jesus Christ, but knowing those facts to be true is not what the Bible means by “faith.” The biblical definition of faith requires trust in—a commitment to—the facts.

An example of the relationship between faith and trust is a trust-fall. You have faith that your friends will catch you even though your back is turned to them. You believe they will not let you hit the ground. The act of falling—as the name of the exercise implies—is trust. You demonstrate the faith you have in your friends. Trust in God is a core aspect of biblical faith.

Its presence cements relationships by allowing people to live and work together, feel safe and belong to a group. Trust in a leader allows organizations and communities to flourish, while the absence of trust can cause fragmentation, conflict and even war.

Explains that trust is almost an unconditional bond when it comes down to family. Growing up with younger siblings, parents remind y’all to always look after one another, protect each other from bullies, or getting into trouble with the wrong crowd.

Trust means that you rely on someone else to do the right thing. You believe in the person’s integrity and strength, to the extent that you’re able to put yourself on the line, at some risk to yourself. Trust is essential to an effective team, because it provides a sense of safety.

If you trust someone then you believe that they’re honest and reliable. If you loan your car to someone, you had better trust them to bring it back to you, and in good shape.

Trust takes many forms. You could trust in something abstract, like the idea that things happen for a reason. If you are naïve, people might take advantage of your trust. A trust can also be a fund or an alliance meant to take care of something. A trust fund gives money to some lucky trustee so that he doesn’t need to worry about employment. A wildlife trust saves land from development so animals can live there.

What is the value of trust? It can be defined as the firm belief, faith and reliability of one’s partner to be there for them. It allows for acceptance and loyalty. It provides safety, builds confidence and dependability. Even as partners form their mutual understanding of trust in the relationship, its absence can be felt acutely.

By the way, that’s one thing, which can be observed also in the Philippines for a couple of years. I have observed such changes since my first visit to the Philippines in 1976. Nowadays, I feel happy if my nieces and nephews start listening to my ideas again and ask for my advice.

Those of us who have made good money, hold fewer illusions that a big house and a Mercedes (or any other brand!) in the garage are likely to bring happiness. But guys, what seems most precious to us nowadays is not career or success, but time and the freedom to do the things we love to do that hold meaning.

Failed marriages, difficult mid-life attempts, something that might pass away a family – yes, I think, we know the rarity of solid and long living relationships with a partner, with children or with a hard to find friend.

We may even dare to speak the language that 30 or 40 or even 50 years ago would have seemed uncool. Call it God or something spiritually, but it would probably be the quest for the sense of life, and the hope and faith that one exists.


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