Understanding the Other and participating in community are important to Christianity. To understand the Other is to commune with them, and to be in a community is to practice understanding. However, for those of us who are critical and cynical about community, Christianity, and/or other Christians, the “hermeneutics of suspicion” has been applied over and against these things. What I mean by “hermeneutics” in this article is not merely a form of interpreting a text or body of texts, but communication between people. The hermeneutics of suspicion is a “demystifying hermeneutics [which] sets up the rude discipline of necessity” by going “against illusion and the fable-making function” of the human conscience. Paul Ricoeur, the philosopher who coined the phrase “hermeneutics of suspicion”, states:
Freud entered the problem of false consciousness via the double road of dreams and neurotic symptoms; his working hypothesis has the same limits as his angle of attack, which was, as we shall state fully in the sequel, an economics of instincts. Marx attacks the problem of ideologies from within the limits of economic alienation, now in the sense of political economy. Nietzsche, focusing on the problem of “value” — of evaluation and transvaluation — looks for the key to lying and masks on the side of the “force” and “weakness” of the will to power. 
In other words, the hermeneutics of suspicion is “characterized by a distrust of the symbol as a dissimulation of the real and is animated by suspicion, by a skepticism towards the given.”  This distrust and suspicion eventually lead to de(con)struction. Ricoeur even refers to Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud as the “three great ‘destroyers’.”  Though Ricoeur believes these three “clear the horizon for a more authentic word, for a new reign of Truth, not only by means of a ‘destructive’ critique, but by the invention of an art of interpreting”, the hermeneutics of suspicion helped create a “culture of suspicion” which fostered
the deconstructive sensibility and which would eventually make the desire to destroy, to decompose, to fragment and to sow the seeds of doubt the basis of literary-philosophical reflection for a large part of the second half of the 20th century. 
Again, this goes beyond texts. As Hans-Georg Gadamer notes, “all understanding is interpretation”. Since understanding takes place in a conversation, “it is perfectly legitimate to speak of a hermeneutical conversation.”  Signs and symbols emanate from the Other in the form of language – to deconstruct the source of these signs and symbols is to, in a sense, deconstruct the Other.
When this same suspicion, doubt, and distrust mark one’s connection to other human beings, understanding and community become strained. Some, or many, of us have seen church communities break apart because of misunderstanding fueled by suspicion. Some of us may have even participated in this process, or simply left churches because of these broken bridges of communication. I am not advocating that we should be naïve and unquestioning in our communication, but that there is a need for grace in order to be in community and to be constructive, rather than deconstructive, in our hermeneutics in order to understand each other. What I’m proposing is a “hermeneutics of grace”.