The Need for Trust

To function as a society we need to be able to trust one another. Otherwise, we would always live in fear of what others might do.

What do we need to be able to trust others to do?

Here I think of some of the Ten Commandments. For instance, the seventh commandment says, “Thou shall not steal.” It is wrong to take what does not belong to us. I relate this to trust in that we need to be able to not to live in constant fear that someone might steal something, especially materials for basic human needs. If we cannot trust others not to steal, it affects the way we live. We have to protect ourselves.

Then, there is the sixth commandment, “Thou shall not commit adultery.” Adultery is wrong because it focuses on sexual activity outside a loving marriage. It involves trust because sexual intimacy with someone other than the person one is married to fails to honor the marriage covenant. It is a breakdown in commitment. The breakdown in commitment can lead to a breakdown in trust.

The ninth and tenth commandments tell us not to covet our neighbor’s spouse or property. Coveting affects our relationships with others. If we covet what they have, do we respect them as a person? Or are we only interested in our own interests? If we are only interested in what is good for ourselves, can we be trusted?

The eighth commandment says, “Thou shall not bear false witness.” How can we function if we cannot count on others to tell the truth? I use as an example the story of Susanna found in chapter 13 in the Book of Daniel. Two elders in the community accused her of committing adultery. Others assume that the two elders were telling the truth. However, they were lying. Fortunately, God sent Daniel to bring their lie to public. We need to be able to trust others to tell the truth for society to function well.

We need to be able to trust people to do the right thing. Right now, we have been under shutdown because of the Coronavirus for over two months. Things are beginning to reopen. As businesses and activities reopen, we need to be able to trust one another to take proper precautions. Reopening is not an instantaneous thing where everything goes “back to normal” immediately. We need to take proper precautions ourselves and we need to be able to trust that others are also taking proper precautions. God gives us the ability to reason. We need to use our “reason” well.

We need to be able to trust that anyone who has the Coronavirus will stay home. If someone knows they have been exposed, they need to complete proper quarantine. We all need to wear face masks when we are in public and cannot practice social distancing. We do not do this in fear. We do it out of concern for one another. Just because one does not have any symptoms does not mean what is not carrying the Coronavirus. There are people who refuse to wear a face mask and gather in large groups. I know we want our normal lives back but things like wearing a face mask is simple. It may not be attractive but it is reasonable.

I offer one more thing we need to be able to trust one another during the Coronavirus. We need to be able to trust one another not to hoard basic items like food, cleaners, and toilet paper. If we purchase more than we need, others may not have enough. When we go to the store, we should purchase only what we will need in a reasonable time period and trust others to do the same.

Trust…trust is necessary for society. Let us pray that we all act wisely and trust one another.


Fr. Jeff

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