If we can’t trust the integrity of the people who make decisions…

… and laws then how can we trust the decisions they make?

A valid question from a radio phone in this morning. The whole expenses scandal has raised lots of interesting questions. Not just why is the upkeep of a swimming pool so integral to performing the role of a Member of Parlaiment? One phone in listener last night admitted fiddling expenses himself yet was outraged that MPs were doing exactly what he had done. It is true that we hold our leaders to higher standards than ourselves. And rightly so if they are to lead. The moral component of leadership has certainly come to the fore again in recent months and years. we want leaders we can trust, who act with integrity. Yet on another level they are flawed individals like ourselves – but does that mean we should simply excuse ther actions? The issue of trust for me is perhaps the major one. If a leader loses the trust of those s/he claims to be leading then obviouslt those people are no longer following and their leadership in many ways simply becomes positional or in name only. When trust between a leader and those they lead breaks down, how can it be restored? Gordon Brown’s apology is a beginning, and then we want to see evidence of changed behaviour. I’ve been wresting with this question of how trust can be restored when it breaks down as I see it not just in the expenses scandal but in churches and work situations. Patrick Lencioni argues that a lack of trust is the foundational problem in dysfunctioning teams. Again I agree. But how can trust be restored? I’ve grown up hearing “trust has to be earned”, but recently was also challenged by someone who added “trust also has to be given”.  How much are we prepared to give our trust again, and how much should we if we keep having that trust broken? Where does Jesus stuff about not just forgiving a few times but many come into play?

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