The accusation was clear. An individual we knew was under scrutiny. As I listened, I realized that the accusation was describing a question that went to the core of the relationship. The query “did he falsify his expense reports or stretch his claims” was merely a leading indicator to the question “should I trust him”?
I was not sure how to help. Did I let the investigation runs its course and then ask about the real question? Should I let the truth of the matter triumph in time?
The investigation went on for weeks. In the end, nothing was out of place. Everything cross-footed, the claims were legitimate and aligned with policy. I knew the real question still remained. As I reflected on Paul’s defensive remarks, “Still, I want it made clear that I’ve never gotten anything out of this for myself, and that I’m not writing now to get something. I’d rather die than give anyone ammunition to discredit me or impugn my motives.” (1 Corinthians 9.15) I realized that the only solution was truth-filled time.
You and I come under a microscope from time to time. Regardless of the mistakes in our lives, the greater question is always one of trust and motives. Are the motives in our lives clear? Do we open ourselves up so that others can see who we are? Do we give them the opportunity to look with their heart as well as the mind?
In this case, the greater story has unfolded. The individual in question let his life tell the story. With time, the truth of his motives created the opportunity for new friendships and a reputation based on trust.
As I think of the challenges ahead, I find myself filled with hope. You and I have the ability to give others reasons to trust us. We control our side of the equation. Whatever follows is the story that we play a role in. The incredible part is that the Divine author of the script is looking at our role. We win by how we play our role.