Gallup is out with its latest ranking of the most and least trusted professions – and the news isn’t very good for lobbyists and politicians.

According to the annual survey, nurses command the highest respect, followed by doctors. Lobbyists, members of Congress and telemarketers are this year’s cellar dwellers. Those who identify as Democrat are more likely than Republicans to trust politicians. And by a slim margin, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to view lobbyists as ethical and trustworthy.

American’s trust in various institutions, authorities and professions has taken a big hit in recent years. Trust of clergy, school teachers, and even judges has been waning as headlines seem to regularly highlight the sordid sins and crimes of bad actors in all three of those professions.

Once upon a time, clergy were among the most vaunted and honored. What happened?

It goes to figure that as America has grown increasingly secular, people’s views of clergy have dimmed out of pure indifference or lack of exposure to ministers and pastors. You’re less likely to think highly of someone if you’ve never interacted or crossed paths with them. Yet, each and every day – and at all hours of the day – pastors in our midst are doing incredible ministry. They’re often underappreciated and carry heavy burdens. We need to pray for our pastors.

Nurses and doctors have historically topped Gallup’s list for the last two decades. They’re deserving of our appreciation and respect. You might be one of them or be married to one. They’re always under a lot of stress and strain, and especially during the last few years.

Politicians are regularly criticized, but is the grief they endure and the mistrust they face always justified?

You can always find people who fail to live up to their responsibilities, not just in the political world, but in every profession. But I wonder if the average American fully appreciates all the challenges and burdens our elected representatives carry on a daily basis. On the federal level, many split their time between Washington D.C. and their home state. That means they’re away from their spouse or traveling on weekends. They often miss ballgames, recitals and rarely tuck their kids into bed at night.

The politicians I know are husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. Congress was meeting till the wee hours of the morning last weekend, and yet late on Sunday, one of the representatives I know posted a photograph of a LEGO creation he was working on with his daughter. We sometimes forget these men and women are multi-dimensional, and just like you and me.

Scripture makes clear “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man” (Psalm 118:8). In Proverbs we read, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (3:5).

But does that mean we shouldn’t expect anything of anyone? Of course not. But it does mean that we shouldn’t look to men and women for that which only the Lord can provide.

In this new age of social media and citizen reporters, nearly everyone has a platform and a “microphone” of some sort. As Christians, though, grace should abound. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss someone or even outright distrust them. Where there is no moral clarity, give people the benefit of the doubt. Ask more questions and make fewer accusations.

Bottom lining it, we need to heed the apostle Paul’s advice that “petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).


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