A measure of trust (@clairemaxim1)

IMG_3780Daily Prayer in Common Worship (I seem to be particularly Anglican today, do bear with me), includes one of my favourite bits of Proverbs every Monday.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart” says the first part of Proverbs 3 verse 5. Opinions then vary across the different translations, but I like the New International Version….

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.    Proverbs 3:5-6

It’s been a busy six months, and I’ve just returned from holiday, determined to get a better balance of what I do and how I spend my time.  The news at the moment is horrible, with death and destruction being inflicted by humans upon humans in the name of….well, whatever the perpetrators pretend, it isn’t in the name of God.  My own corner of the internet is full of people pleading for dialogue rather than soundbitten entrenched opinion  – whether nationally, locally or personally.

Dialogue involves careful listening and careful speech. It implies a measure of concern for the Other, that each person involved is in the conversation because of a genuine desire to learn about the Other, to find the points of commonality as well as the sharp points of disagreement. It implies that all of those involved believe there is a better way than that being played out here and now. But dialogue also requires openness, a willingness to be carefully but clearly honest – about the past, the present and the future. It requires a measure of trust on all sides.

Where relationships are broken, between nations or personally, that trust can be hard to find, and hard to place in the Other. Proverbs offers a way through that – if we can trust in God, then the rest will follow. Some of us (that would be me) have a nasty tendency to lean on our (my) own understanding – and that’s where things can and do wrong. Because with that trust in God comes a willingness to submit, to lay aside our own understanding, and to acknowledge that we are not the important ones here. With that trust comes the ability to follow God’s way and not our own desire, to walk in the ways of the Lord, rather than follow the way paved with good intentions which only leads to self and mutual destruction.

It may all sound a bit pious. However, my own experience is that it works. Trusting in God helps me to trust others, and brings me a measure of peace about my own broken and meandering path – past, present and future.

So how do we get dialogue as tweeters tweet, bloggers blog, and Facebookers post pictures and petitions? How do we persuade two warring parties to sit at the same table and listen to each other, when they have not just decades but centuries of enmity to contend with? How do we repair the broken relationships in our lives? My answer to them all is the same (although in the case of war, stopping fighting would help too).  Have a good read of Proverbs, and acknowledge change is possible, that trust can be rebuilt. We don’t have to wear the same labels for a lifetime.

But each of us has to look to ourselves. I can promise to rethink how I spend my time as much as I like, but if family don’t see the change, then my promise is hollow. If a ceasefire is broken (again…and again…and again), who believes in the next one? If those I love are being systematically killed in increasingly horrible ways, then I’m going to find loving my neighbour pretty much impossible. But different as the scenarios are, each of them has at its heart human beings. Who live, breathe, eat, love…and get things wrong, just like I do. Each of us has to start somewhere.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

 

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