Why do the public trust our institutions?

7 July 2011

Trust is at a premium in public life.  The Speed of Trust by Stephen M. R. Covey explains how things improve with trust, and deteriorate when trust is absent.

Whenever something goes wrong, there are calls for public enquiries or for the police to investigate, and then money to be thrown at the problem.  However, there is not enough money, time and resources to keep up with the growing exposure of corruption in public affairs.  Media discussions among the great and the good, such as BBC Question Time, fail to deal with individual responsibility and accountability.  This is largely because these contributors do not believe that people are accountable to God for what they say and do, and so they cannot speak with any conviction at this level.  The best they can do is huff and puff self-righteously about other people’s sins, criminal activity and the need for police investigations.  Criminals are not interested and won’t change their behaviour.  The public who like to read about other people’s sins will not lay the message to their own heart.

The cries of righteous indignation by the public, and by public figures, fall upon deaf ears because so many people think that “they that work wickedness get off with it” Malachi 3:15.  The public need to hear that they will not get off with it.  They need to hear more about their own personal accountability to God - not only in sermons (which most of them never hear), but during media chat shows and discussions - from those who are personally convinced about it.

This is why we need Christian politicians to give the lead, and to implement the legislation which will encourage Christians to speak up in public without being brought to book by the Equalities Commission, the modern Thought Police or by their professional bodies or employers.

The public need the grace of God in their lives to see them through these depressing times - it would help to have public figures who could explain and demonstrate it to them.

The Bible repeatedly warns us about misplaced trust - it is central to the Gospel.  It is time to trust God and His Gospel to reform and recover the nation’s institutions instead of trusting these institutions to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

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