A meditation on good faith

Once trust is broken (either because it has been violated, or because it is simply being withheld), no amount of rules, protocols, procedures, processes, or other strictures can make for a fruitful relationship. If I am not trustworthy, or if someone refuses to regard me as trustworthy, it is not possible that we should labor together constructively. Lack of trust is, by definition, a wedge between two who would labor together; one must ever be watching the other, ever imposing restrictions and boundaries on the other, for fear of what might otherwise happen. It goes without saying that energy poured into such surveillance is stolen from any tasks the two might attempt together. If it be objected by one withholding trust that his suspicions have rarely failed him, let him ponder that perfect love casts out fear, and that wise discernment belongs to the one, while suspicious paranoia belongs to the other. If productive work is to be done (with all the space for trial and error that this requires), there is much to be said for erring on the side of trust. This is the essence of good faith: not a set of rules imposed from without, but an agreement to trust, to be vulnerable, to think the best of the other, even to “believe all things.”

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