I have heard it from both sides: “I can’t trust him – not after he hurt me like he did.” OR, “No way, I could never trust her again – not after what she did!”
Much is said about how and when to trust again. Genuine repentance over a wrong done is a necessary beginning step. There is also a goodness in overlooking some things as we give each other grace. I am so thankful how many times my wife has “forgiven” me for not getting everything at the store as I said I would.
My focus in this post however, is to understand how three components of trust are necessary to bring healing to a relationship.
Trust Is A Feeling
When one spouse says , “I don’t trust you” they are saying: “Because you hurt me, my experience of trust in you has proven wrong. I can no longer rest securely in our relationship. I no longer feel a trust in you. And I don’t know that I will ever be able to regain that peace and security that all is well when we are together.”
Gaining deep feelings of trust in another takes time. Losing it takes only a moment. (tweet this)
When the feeling of trust is lost, it is a difficult thing to regain. For some, it may never be the same. Forgiveness can still occur, but the experience of insecurity remains. Those feelings don’t go away, just because someone says they are sorry.
Recall the last time you were angry. Now imagine me entering into the situation and saying “Stop that. Stop being angry. You shouldn’t be that way.” Would that help? Would you suddenly be fine, and all the pent up anger just disappear? Hardly. It would likely make you even more angry, because of feeling like I don’t understand.
The same is true when a person is in pain because of a wrong done. Just saying “sorry” won’t change the feelings. If that person is told to forgive and forget, it will likely only grow their bitterness.
Trust Is A Decision
There is a second component to trust that is now important to understand. It is the idea that trust is a decision.
You may be in a place where you don’t feel trust in your spouse. That is understandable. It will take time for the feelings to return. In the meantime however, there is something you can do. You can CHOOSE to trust again.
Here is what I mean:
Consider the following: your friend, your child, or your spouse has wronged you in some way. At first you feel hurt and angry. You even nurse the feelings. Over time, you decide you don’t want to be mad forever. If you are a follower of Christ you sense God intervening, causing you to let go of the offense and forgive. You remember how Christ has done that for you over and over again. Before long, you are moved even to love the one who hurt you once again. The feelings of love aren’t all there, but you love anyway. You sense it is the right and good thing to do, and you CHOOSE to do it.
You can do the same with trust. In time you feel gratitude for God and others who have given you second, third and fourth chances in life. Something inside you is stirred to give another chance to the one who caused you pain. You choose to trust again, even if it is just small steps at first. It doesn’t feel safe, but you do it anyway because of your understanding of the third component of trust.
It is the idea of entrust.
We Must Entrust Our Lives To God
There comes a time in life when we realize that none of us are truly safe from anyone around us. To some degree everyone lets us down and disappoints us. We do the same to them. We cannot insulate ourselves enough in this world from being hurt by another. Nor can we keep from ever being the cause of pain in another’s life.
What we can do is entrust our lives and our relationships to a God who knows and sees all things. He is a God who cares for each person on earth. He is a God who picks us up when we fall, comforts us when we are hurt, and heals us when we are broken. Entrusting our lives to Him in this way frees us to choose to trust others once again. We can know with confidence that if trusting another leads to further disappointment, God will be there to pick us up and get us through.*
If trust is broken, the feelings of trust can be restored, though it will take time and relational investment. When a change of heart is evident, you can choose to trust once again, as you entrust the ultimate care of your life into the hands of a loving God.
*I am not talking about blindly trusting someone again and again who has caused harm and shown no signs of remorse or desire to change. This kind of person needs to experience tough love in hopes of bringing about genuine and lasting change.
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