Who Can Be Trusted?
ALL the money lost in the United States annually through burglary, robbery and larceny is not equal to what dishonest merchants steal from the public through short-weighing, short-measuring and short-changing. Whether you buy meat, packaged goods, fuel oil, gasoline or any number of other products, the problem confronting you is where you can find a merchant you can trust. The same problem faces you when repairs are needed on your house, your car, your radio or television set. Where can you find a repairman who will not attempt to cheat you by using inferior materials, by billing you for work he does not actually do, by putting in parts that you do not need, and so forth? Not knowing whom you can trust creates a frustrating feeling, which does not contribute to tranquil living. But what about yourself? Can others trust you?
What you desire in your dealings with others are the things you should practice when they deal with you. This was the principle set out by Jesus Christ when he said: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.” (Matt. 7:12) The untrustworthiness of some persons in your community is no reason to forsake this fine principle. It should govern your actions regardless of how other people act. Practicing it yourself encourages others to practice it, and thus your actions contribute to the moral tone of the community.
If you establish a reputation for trustworthiness, people will seek you out in order to do business with you. They prefer, as much as you do, to do business with a merchant or a repairman who can be trusted. If you are an employee, your employer is more likely to give you greater responsibility if he knows you are trustworthy. When he is away his mind is at ease because he knows you will honestly care for his business interests. He also knows that you will give him full measure in work for the wages he pays you. This trustworthiness is in demand by businessmen who are aware of the difficulty in finding employees they can trust.
From a business standpoint it pays to be trustworthy, but that should not be your motive. It should be much deeper than that. It should come from good principles that guide your life, governing your decisions and your actions wherever you may be. Good principles should be part of you and not like the coat that you put on when you go to work and take off when you arrive home. Because of such principles the trustworthy man can be trusted by his employer, by his friends, by his neighbors, yes, and by his wife.
The man who is guilty of marital unfaithfulness reveals a lack of good principles in his makeup, which lack casts a condemning shadow on his outward appearance of being a man of integrity. He is not a lover of honesty and righteousness. A truly trustworthy man can be trusted by his wife at all times. She knows the good principles by which he lives and how firmly they are a part of him. This confidence contributes immeasurably to a happy marital relationship, but how can happiness be present where trust is missing? Thus the man who can be trusted because he lives by right principles is benefited in his marriage as well as in business.
Once a man shatters the trust placed in him, whether by his wife or by others, he faces an extremely difficult task to reestablish it. No matter how repentant he may be, a doubt is certain to remain in the minds of those whose trust he betrayed. The climb back to their complete confidence is a very long and difficult one. A person is always far better off if he sticks close to good principles rather than forsake them for the momentary “benefits” of unfaithfulness. But where can he find such principles?
The best source for good principles by which to live is the Bible. Its fine principles and wise commands can lead a person in the way that is best for him, in a way that maintains for him peace of mind and the respect of other men. What better principle is there for good human relations than the one expressed at Matthew 22:39, “You must love your neighbor as yourself”? With such love, could you cheat your neighbor by not giving him full measure for his money? Could you steal from your employer? Could you lie about something you repaired or something you are selling? Could you do any of the things that stamp a person as untrustworthy? Such actions would not be showing love.
The person with deep respect for God’s Word and a keen desire to do what is right in His eyes, will not be moved to violate Bible principles by the persuasions of dishonest fellow workers or by the pressure of unethical business tactics by other persons. How can he when those principles have been established by God? To go contrary to them is to go against God, and a dedicated Christian would never countenance such a thing. Do you have the same firm conviction moving you to do what is right? Do you have the same keen desire to show love for your neighbor, or other people? Do you have the same determination to be trustworthy in all that you do? Having this fine mental attitude is to your own benefit. Imagine what a different community you could live in if everyone in it lived by Scriptural principles!
The principles and commands in the Bible for governing human conduct provide the basis for a society of trustworthy people, a society in which doors would not have to be locked or valuables securely hidden, a society in which everyone would do as commanded at Ephesians 4:25: “Speak truth each one of you with his neighbor.” That such a society is possible is proved by the general conduct of the New World society. These Christian witnesses of the Most High God have made his principles and commands the guide for their lives.
If you have not as yet permitted Scriptural principles to guide your life, then do as the apostle Paul said: “Quit being fashioned after this system of things, but be transformed by making your mind over.” (Rom. 12:2) Let God’s Word establish your moral standards, and then do not deviate from them. As you want people to be truthful and trustworthy with you, so you be with them.