Evaporation of Trust

2015-07-23 21.36.17

Corroded Man

In the run up to the UK general election I was praying about the prospect of our democratic process coming under God’s judgement.(See yesterday’s post) The implications were serious. Commentators worked overtime on the potential outcomes. I felt the Lord saying that in the summer there would begin an “evaporation of trust”. I felt this referred not simply to trust in the government, but generally, at large in the world, the markets, in society.

Many would perhaps comment that this has been happening for a long time, and I agree with that. I think the image that I feel is helpful here is of a pot boiling dry. The hot pan on the flame can steam away for hours with the liquid reducing steadily. Even at the last few moments there is still liquid in the pan which could be poured out. Suddenly there comes a moment when the last of the liquid disappears and seems to vanish in a vapour. I think we are watching such a moment of vapourising.

Over years we have seen trust in government – local and national – diminish step by step, scandal by scandal. We sense that we have professional politicians who are seeking public office rather than public service. We suspect politicians and parties which promote vote winning policies rather than principles of conviction. In this way trust at the highest level has been eroded. Hundreds of thousands campaigned against the war in Iraq, and the government ignored the protest. Similarly hundreds of thousands petitioned against changes in marriage legislation and the government did not even acknowledge the petition. All this promotes the idea that government leadership is not to be trusted. In addition we have had scandals in the press, which has always been supposed to be the protector of liberty for the ordinary person; We have had banking corruption – with LIBOR rigging; The NHS has seen hospitals exposed for manipulating mortality rates; The police have had corruption and scandal with senior police officers being forced to resign; The Hillsborough enquiry exposed establishment cover ups and injustice; Church scandals have involved child abuse; child abuse by national celebrities has been revealed and seems to have been covered up at institutional level. The list goes on, but there is something fundamental changing. The underlying fabric of trust that joins all aspects of our society is now worn so thin that we are in danger.

Trust actually enables us to buy and sell. The piece of metal that we call a pound coin has value because we trust that someone will accept it to pay for a loaf of bread. The numbers on our cashpoint print-out are useful if we trust that we can spend what the numbers represent. We trust the system to transfer ‘our money’. We have confidence in the mortgage market to buy a house because we believe that the value will be kept over time. The word confidence comes from Latin words ‘con’ meaning ‘with’ and ‘fidere’ meaning ‘to trust’.

The Volkswagen scandal is a big example of trust evaporating in front of our eyes. VW – A trusted symbol of reliable engineering, disgraced in a day. There will be more. Today the news hints that TV manufacturers and other car manufacturers may have been gaming the environmental tests they are supposed to comply with.

The evaporation point which we are getting to is evaporation in confidence in the authorites, in the money supply, the markets, political processes, banking, technology,and the food chain. What next, the water supply, facebook, or our community leaders?

For generations our society has been built on essentially Judeo-Christian principles. That we are made in the image of God so should highly respect human life and limb. That we may not covet or steal, leading to respect of property ownership.  That telling the truth is valuable, so contracts have validity, and God honouring rule of  law is upheld. Without the fabric of trust which comes from honouring God and honouring one another at a national and personal level, we have nothing and disintegration follows.

The evaporation of trust is matter of grave seriousness for our politics, our social cohesion, and our stability as a nation. Only truth re-establishes trust.

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One Response to “Evaporation of Trust”

  1. Greg Reagan Says:

    Outstanding, John! As I spend most of my energy as an expert court witness where integrity matters most, I could not agree more.

    Greg Reagan’s I-Phone

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