Or is there?
What came first - the decline of Christianity or the decline of the family unit?
What came first - the rise of commercialism or the decline of the church?
What came first - the rise of money-hungry politicians or the decline of the US government?
Yeah, still is pointless to ponder.
But, all of these aren't the point of this post anyway.. I simply thought they were interesting to throw out there. So what is my point?
Trust and respect -
What comes first - trust and respect, or earning such trust and respect?
For example - take pastors. Why? Because I'm inherently distrustful of them, and yet they walk into our lives with a title suggesting they should be able to be trusted and respected.
Pastor Bill... or Bob... or Tim... or Tom... or whatever the case may be starts at your church as the newly installed minister. You call him Pastor Bob or Bill or... whatever the case may be. Because he is a pastor, you've already made up your mind to give him respect by utilizing this title. And, I would argue, you've also already made up your mind to give him trust.
But what if Pastor Bob is abusive? Or just an imbecile? What if he *gasp* is a sinner? What if he's cheating on his wife, or sleeping with a member of the congregation? What if he watches porn on a regular basis, or is drunk most Sunday mornings at service? What if he just simply is not worthy of the trust and respect we automatically give him?
I have battled with trust issues for as long as I can remember. But pastors do get the brunt of this mistrust. I will call a pastor "Pastor" at the church on Sunday morning as a sign of respect. But that's as far as it goes. One must earn the right to be consistently considered a pastor - with me, at least. But, to be fair, I don't hand over trust or respect to anyone else either - surface respect, but that's it.
So, does the title inherently give them claim to such trust and respect? Should we automatically trust them until they give us a reason not to? Or should we hold off until they prove they are worthy of such trust?
What comes first - the chicken or the egg? The trust/respect or the earning of these?