Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
November 28, 2017
By Lowell Grisham
Systems often struggle to recognize misdeeds of the powerful
Our human relationships function within complex webs of power and dependency grounded in trust.
When I am sick, I go to my doctor. I trust him. I trust the power of his training and expertise. I also trust that he intends to serve my best interest to guard my health. In that regard, I am dependent upon him.
When my doctor has a spiritual anxiety or perplexity, he reaches out to me. I am his priest. He trusts me and my training and the symbolic power of ordination that I carry. He trusts that I intentionally serve his best interests to guard his spiritual well-being. In that sense, he is dependent upon me.
All of us entrust other people with power. We have a right to expect them to exercise that power for good. We are dependent upon them to do so. We willingly make ourselves vulnerable to their power.
Think of all the people whom we trust and the critical roles they fill in our lives: professionals like doctors, clergy and lawyers; caretakers and advisers; police officers, firefighters and military personnel; teachers, therapists, coaches, judges and elected officials. The list is long. Every part of society is interconnected by relationships of trust between those with particular power and authority and those who depend upon the faithful exercise of their trust.
When people who are in positions of power and trust abuse their positions and victimize the vulnerable, they damage the whole fabric of society. They destroy trust. Without trust and trustworthiness, community unravels.
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