Wolves can be our friends, or they can be out to get us.

They have sharp teeth, have a tendency to pick on the weakest and most vulnerable among us, and seek us as a means to an end: ultimately their own well-being and survival. Without question, being a sheep, and even with other sheep amidst a pack of wolves, requires courage.

Let's be that beacon of hope and trust that God is calling us to be - Chris KirwanAs Christians, there are many times where we may feel like meek prey living in a world of predatory wolves. Violence is enacted, trust is shattered, people are taken advantage of, people hurt others in a variety of ways: physically, emotionally and spiritually.

One aspect of life that seems more challenging than ever is to find, hold on to and earn a certain amount of trust (or even any at all). Trust seems harder than ever these days to both gain and retain.

There, are, of course, some good and valid reasons for having a certain sense of distrust about life and other people. Corporations have lied about their products and used misleading advertisements or false information to sell their products. People in positions of leadership have abused the trust and authority that they were given. There have been relationships that most of us have been a part of that probably have scarred us in one way or another: we were lied to, cheated on, abused or forsaken. All of these factors play into our distinct lack of trust in anything or anyone.

Trust is not something that can easily be built overnight. Certainly it can be lost in an instant. I have seen marriages and relationships get sunk quicker than the Titanic due to trust getting lost. I have witnessed a certain air of skepticism about proceedings with strangers and acquaintances alike due to a lack of trust. I have experienced a lack of trust from others concerning me, and exhibited those same reservations to other people.

It does not have to be that way. We have the power to change that cycle, and it begins with us. We can only control ourselves, but that control can begin with giving others reason to trust us.

We all would love to live in a world of deep, genuine, and immense trust. When trust abounds the world feels safer, strangers feel more welcoming and hospitable, and no one feels like a predatory wolf.

I encourage you to have the grit and fortitude to approach others—friends and strangers alike—and invite them into the world of Jesus Christ. Or at least share what we know and understand.

As followers of the lamb of God, we are peaceful, loving, and—at times—meek sheep. As a result, we might be taken advantage of. We will most certainly will get hurt. We will also possibly be betrayed and have reason to not trust a loved one for one reason or another. But we should not let that stop us from being trustworthy.

Let’s be people that garner the trust of others for only good purposes and reasons, not nefarious ones. We need to show others what true trust looks like. Let’s be that beacon of hope and trust that God is calling us to be.

We need to teach others to trust again, and to know that no matter what may transpire, they can always trust in God. Only through gaining and keeping trust can we break down the walls of mistrust, distance-keeping and dishonesty. That’s when we allow love to enter the lives of others and move more freely in our own.

We have to be careful too about who we label as a sheep and who we label as wolves. Sheep are ones who build up trust and are intentional about being trustworthy. On the other hand, wolves—either intentionally or unintentionally—tear down trust.

If we really are sheep, we need to wear our fleece of peace with pride. Everything and anything we do needs to have a basis of trust associated with it.

How do we accomplish this? By holding onto and keeping the promises that we make to others. By remaining faithful to those we have made a commitment to, unless it imposes an imminent danger or threat toward us. And by showing others that we are who we say we are: authentic, genuine and true Christ-followers.