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22.01.2021

How Humility Can Help Us Rebuild Social Trust

Last week I heard something that stopped me in my tracks.

I was listening to a BBC presenter explaining the Beatles’ role in the social revolution of the 1960s, when individualism became the guiding creed of Western society.

He recounted how they turbocharged the idea that life is ‘all about you, what you think, your personal opinion.’ But he didn’t stop there. Looking back, he said, ‘you can see how damaging that was, as well as liberating.’ I was surprised to hear a non-Christian figure in such a mainstream setting suggest individualism might have its flaws.

And of course, he’s right. The mantra of individualism is ‘trust yourself’. But what the Beatles perhaps didn’t foresee is that many of us have begun to stick another word in the middle: ‘trust only yourself’.

When pride gets mixed up with individualism, we create a cold, scary world for ourselves, where advice feels like criticism and authority feels like a threat. We lose the ability to believe strangers have our best interests at heart, or that experts know better than us. To defend our pride we retreat into tribes, deepening our sense that ‘other people’ aren’t just misguided but dangerous.

The end result is the wave of social distrust that’s sweeping Western society. We see it in the bin fire of US partisanship; in the strife between leavers and remainers; even in supermarkets having to ban those who refuse to protect others with masks.

How do we begin to redirect a current this strong?

In 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Paul offers a very different view of the individual’s role in God’s kingdom. ‘God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be… The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!”’

He invites the Corinthians to delight in their unique, God-given identities. But he also calls them to value the same thing in others, specifically rejecting attempts by any one group to scorn those they believe are inferior.

In other words, trust is only possible when we’re humble before others. Paul is writing to the church, but as whole-life disciples this kingdom model should inform how we interact with everyone, Christian or not.

Maybe that means listening carefully to differing opinions. Or closing the app instead of leaving a vitriolic comment. Because when we drop our pride and choose to see the value in others, we can rebuild trust – one frontline at a time.

 

Josh Hinton
Marketing & Editorial Lead, LICC

Comments

  1. Amen, great thought

    By Bruce Gulland  -  22 Jan 2021
  2. This morning, I read this from William Temple’s book on John’s gospel . Commenting on John 13 when Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, he says “Man’s humility shows itself first in the readiness to receive service from our fellows and supremely from God. To accept service from people is to acknowledge a measure of dependence on them. It is well for us to stand on our own feet; to go through life in parasitic dependence on others, contributing nothing, is contemptible; but those who are doing their share of the world’s work should have no hesitation in receiving what the love or generosity or pity of others may offer. The desire “not to be beholden to anyone” is completely unchristian. Of course, it is equally true that to take all and offer nothing is even more opposed to the Christian spirit.”

    By Will Parker  -  22 Jan 2021
  3. It’s a pity world leaders don’t give more instead of behaving so self-centered. Some of them want everything to go their way, no thought for right or wrong.
    It’s also a pity some ordinary people don’t give more thought for the well-being of people around them ,thus avoiding spreading general ill!

    By Gwen Poole  -  22 Jan 2021
  4. This spoke into our Women’s Bible study community today! ( English community in Spain) We are walking through Proverbs and discerning God’s wisdom for us. Today was on Idols! It was good to share this observation together as Pride was a large admission of our idol confessions! so thank you for this post.

    By Yazz  -  22 Jan 2021
  5. Really helpful insight as we continue to pray for those around us (and myself)!

    By Ann Page  -  28 Jan 2021

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