India – its hot. For a wee Canberra boy its too hot. We arrived late at night and still the heat was stifling and everyone’s clothes were instantly wet. Our team of eleven were met at the airport by two strangers. Driven to the base by a stranger, and bedded down for the night in a strange bed in a strange place. Next morning I got on the back of a motorbike with another complete stranger. His name in Tamil was Anbu Raj or “Love King”. He is super friendly and loving. Instantly, I like him.
Love King grew up in Chennai – a city of 8 million people – on the back of a motorcycle. The traffic is ten times as busy as Sydney and a tenth the logical infrastructure. This new friend knew the roads and his bike better then the back of his hand.
And he knew how to risk.
So here’s me, total noob to bikes. Rode one once on a farm. Didn’t want to look gay so instead of holding onto him, I held onto the back of the bike. – mistake one.
Off we went. He started off pretty slow actually. We’d weave through the back streets gently. Every so often he would look back with a cheeky smiley and ask “you still there”. I would smile back and nod whilst vomiting inside. Then as he saw my trust and my nervous enthusiasm for speed, he naturally dropped back into normality. Taking corners well and fast, weaving through traffic like a hot knife through butter. And after three days off this I had complete trust in this man I had just met who would zoom through a crazy urban maze, occasionally laughing cheekily. Because he knew how close I came to filling my pants. Trust is a funny thing.
Trust (and a mild addiction to adrenalin) kept me getting back on the back of that bike. Trust had me believe everything he said and every time he informed me of things coming up.
Anbu (his name) has two kids, a wife and a whole lot of responsibility. He was at least 10 years older then me. As the son of an amazing father I find it easy to trust father figures (but not authority figures).
Fast forward a year and a half. I walk off the plane and meet a man 5 years my junior. I felt like I knew him a little bit through the stories his fiancé would tell me. But people are different in real life. So we hang out for a few days. He’s awesome and easily trustworthy. We drive up this hill, unload his dirt bike. “Get on” He says, confidently. “We’ll ride down this slope” He points to an almost vertical down hill slope. “and then we will ride back up”. Seeing a worried look on my face maybe he took his fiancé down first and as he came back up there was definitely a large percentage chance they would fall backwards.
So I get on the back. This time not worried about looking gay I cling to his mid section. He says one thing “lean forwards” I obey. As we boon down the slope I think – WHAAAT? How did this happen? This is different to Chennai. There are no other cars. Just speed and dirt. We got back fine. Driving to the flat so that he could do wheelies with me on the back it again occurred to me. Trust. A man I only just met, who I was vaguely told his biking history – he grew up on a farm and owns a bike. A man a lot younger then me. And I’m clinging on to him for dear life as we speed along sometimes twice as fast as anbu on only one wheel.
Trust in the church is huge. Its so easily broken. Its so hard to rebuild sometimes. But its one of the most important parts of relationship.
I struggle trusting authority figures a lot of the time. But I can’t function without being under authority. I need to learn how to trust and how to make sure people know that I trust them with my actions and not my rebellion.
Churches split up so quickly because trust is broken. Sometimes over the smallest of things.
And trust is a two way street sometimes a three. I was once told by a leader that if I don’t trust, then certain leaders should roll out the red carpet to me to regain that trust. Even if its unfounded. Servant hearted leadership seeks to repair anything that’s broken even if someone is being a baby.
Love is a service thing. And trust is the glue that allows us to jump from the bungee tower, drive at the speed limit, eat certain foods, tell people certain things and obey. Its easy to obey God when he tells us freaky things to do because he never fails us.
Its harder to do so when our leaders (who are directed by God) tell us equally as hard things.
How do we build such trust in others obedience and leadership?
How do we know what we don’t trust?
-I never knew I didn’t trust authority until just recently, I just thought I was right and everyone else was stupid. But I was the stupid one.
And how do we roll out more soft red carpets for people to rebuild trust of us?
We need to ride more motorbikes, faster and with more strangers. Especially when they are cheeky Indian translators called the love king.