Knowing when to trust is sometimes a conundrum. You know the weaknesses of a friend. You also know where you are likely to get hurt. Given this, it is a simple process to determine how close or far you hold the relationship in order to protect yourself from too much pain. The challenge comes with new people. Do you trust them and let them close? Do you accept their offers willingness and without prejudice? If caution plays a role, how do you prevent your fear from driving your behavior?
Frankly, I have no idea. I am in Bangkok where the “con” is a fine art plied on thousands of tourist everyday. In coming for the first time in eight years I can easily remember the sights, sounds, emotions, fear, and uncertainty when I realized I was the “mark”, I had no idea of where I actually was in Bangkok, and I had no idea of how I was going to safely exit the situation.
Years later, having survived, and in fact still remembering the experience with fondness, I have the following observations and suggestions.
1. You may not know the person closest to you as well as you think you do. Stop, take a moment, and ask one or two questions of them that you would if you had just met.
2. If a person offers you anything to cement a relationship deal, it is time to be especially careful. “Hold tight to collateral on any loan to a stranger; be wary of accepting what a transient has pawned.” (Proverbs 27.13)
3. Travel with an open reflection on the fact that you are I are individuals traveling through life, we continue to receive gifts from God, and one of the highest honors we can pay for this privilege is found in the process of giving away the mercy, compassion, and acceptance that we receive.
At times I think I’m God’s mark. In fact you and I both are only it is no con. We’re marked for grace, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance; in other words love.