I need to be and feel believed.
I need to know that you will not respond with disbelief.
I need you to try to understand. It is hard, but just to try is enough.
I need to be confident that you will not minimise my experience.
I need to be certain you will not offer excuses for the person who hurt me.
I need you to be alive to the power imbalance in my experience.
I need to be sure you will not make me feel responsible for what happened.
I need you not to make me feel blamed or shamed, intentionally or unintentionally. I am already likely to be holding shame that is not mine to hold.
I need you to protect my dignity, and I need to trust that you will.
I need you to respect my conﬁdentiality.
I need to be able to trust you.
I need you to understand how hard it is for me to trust anyone, even you.
Jesus uses the image of a shepherd to talk about trust. Through this Jesus teaches us the importance of relationship. The sheep trust and feel secure because they know the voice of the shepherd. They know his voice because the shepherd has been there with the sheep and he calls them by name. In the story of the shepherd and the sheep, and in our churches, trust is earned. We earn trust when we respect confidentiality, believe people who are sharing their stories and try to understand what those we listen to may be going through. Blame, silencing and excuses destroy trust and alienate others.
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