Over the last few years I’ve noticed a subtle trend among American believers that puzzles me. I’ve noticed that trust , at times, is synonymous with agreement. In other words if you disagree with someone’s perspective it means you don’t trust that person. And to not trust someone is seen as having your own agenda at best and rebellion at worst.

As I ponder this idea I realize that I too have interpreted disagreement as a lack of trust. However, the more I puzzle over this issue the more I realize most of the time this is simply not true. I do want to say that at times lack of agreement is an indicator of a lack of trust, but in my small experience the majority of the time it is just a difference in opinion or perspective. Also, I’ve learned that a lack of agreement has the potential to breed deeper relationship, a broader scope of perspective in team life, and a strategic plan that is far superior than over reliance on one person’s idea.

I deeply believe we can trust one another deeply and see the world through different eyes. I also wonder if God intentionally puts people together that see things differently to teach all involved the power of relationship over process of agreement.

As an example God can speak a significant word or statement to a group of leaders and each leader grids that word through their understanding of God. It’s in hearing honestly from everyone that the clarity of the word begins to emerge. If we don’t give our honest perspective we may have the right word and the wrong interpretation, which ultimately will lead to an underperforming plan. When we don’t get the results we anticipated we go back to the validity of the word rather than challenging some of the early interpretations. Does this create headaches and challenges within the group of leaders? You bet it does! But in the end we all grow and mature and the plans and purposes God desires roll out in the context of deep relationship.

Conflict is not scary when you trust and value the person you are in conflict with. Conflict is only scary when you don’t know where you stand with someone and what might happen if you honestly voice your perspective. At the end of the day, no one agrees on every point of every topic. Let’s learn to see trust as believing in the character of Jesus in someone, while agreement is working out our perspectives and opinions. I bet if people did not fear losing relationship, we would all freely share our perspective and listen to others, and in the end everyone would move forward. This too is good news!