I suppose it is common, throughout history, for people to lament their current state of life. Everything is falling apart around them. Wars, famine, disease, cultural and social degradation. Climate change, abortion, capital punishment, and immigration more specifically. How do we control what seems to be falling apart all around us? We join groups for collective action yet it seems the powers that be are countering our actions and people are ignoring what’s going on. So what is missing? What is the solution? Better yet, why are we so fractured?
I suggest that the corruption we see all around us is the offspring of the slow dark corruption of trust. Author Stephen Covey said that everything changes with trust. In order to change the collective culture we must be willing participants in the purging of our individual hearts. We must throw our hat in the ring and say; “I’m all in!” Why would I say such a thing? Because human beings are , by nature susceptible to selfishness and corruption. Despite my desire to be of service to others, I must contend with the deep-down desires that turn me from virtue and into vice. For example, I am a strong force to be reckoned with when it comes to defending the rights of the unborn but I also make excuses for war, capital punishment and self-defense that leads to the death of another. Am I truly pro-life then? I am a devoted Catholic who believes that the bread and wine at mass becomes the body and blood of Christ. Yet I defame his body by partaking it while in mortal sin. Do I truly believe? I support and advocate for victims of war yet have voted for and defended leaders who invaded other nations! Jesus Christ often referred to people as hypocrites for good reason. We speak goodness from our hearts but with those same hearts we oppress others with words, actions and inaction.
So what must I do? What must WE do to change the seemingly awful circumstances that surround us? I suggest HAT. Honesty, Admission, Transparency. These three virtues combined will lead to us having more faith and trust in ourselves. We can't expect to trust others if , deep down, we don’t trust ourselves.
Honesty. Being honest with ourselves and in all our dealings with the public. “I confess to almighty God, and you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned. In my thoughts, and in my words, In what I have done and what I have failed to do.” An examination of conscience daily or weekly will help us seek perfection in all our dealings and strive for honest reflection and action in the future.
Admission. Admitting to ourselves and to others when we went wrong, following the guides of the above prayer, we admit even those things we failed to do. Politicians and other leaders rarely admit mistakes. My friend was being lied about and I failed to defend him/her? I lied to someone about an experience in order to avoid embarrassment? I led someone into sin by my words or actions. Admit your faults and actions to God and each other.
Transparency. Do you strive for transparency in your life. Are you an open book? Is your character reflected in your social media applications the same as in your family or religious community? Are there skeletons in your closet?
Can we trust others is we can’t trust ourselves? Can we trust others if we don’t expect others to trust us? If we get into the practice of self-reflection and are honest with ourselves and others while admitting when we fail and become transparent, we will be able to trust ourselves and thus have more trust for others . And our fractured world just might be amended. Solving the world’s problems begins with solving our own. Are you all in? Throw your HAT in the ring.