“How can we mend our relationship if you won’t trust me?”

“How can I trust you when you continue to lie?”

Have you ever had such a conversation? The spouse reconciling with an erring mate, wants to trust, but is it sane to? Mistrust smears gray and black smudges over a life previously filled with cheerful color. The music leaves. If only you could trust and bring back the joy.

If you’ve forgiven someone, but can’t trust him or her, understand: forgiveness and trust are separate issues.

Forgiveness is between us and God. The culprit doesn’t have to change for us to forgive. Trust, on the other hand, must be rebuilt, and it takes the cooperation of both people (Pro. 25:19).

So let’s be discerning. If you weren’t already in a relationship with this person and know what you know about him, would you trust him? Before you rebuild trust consider the following.

Genuine repentance is revealed through a change in behavior and attitude.

David fell about as low as a person after God’s heart could fall. Yet, when the prophet Nathan confronted him, David showed genuine repentance. He reconnected with God and wrote Psalms that publicly owned his sin. He fasted and prayed. He didn’t blame Bathsheba for his failures. He didn’t make excuses. He didn’t repeat his sin, (2 Samuel 12)

Rebuilding trust takes time.

Joseph put his brothers through a long series of tests before he opened himself to them. He didn’t assume the span of years or their hard times had changed them, (Genesis 42-45).

God uses the process of mending trust to refine us. He files down dominating emotions and teaches us to trust Him and His timing. Instead of rushing to trust your betrayer, trust Jesus. He is chiseling out the character of Christ in you.

Joseph’s brothers confessed and demonstrated sorrow for their sin unaware that Joseph was listening. If change is genuine, it will become evident. Patiently watch and wait.

Instead of rushing to trust your betrayer, trust Jesus. #trust Click To Tweet

Reconciliation involves both parties.

It isn’t possible to live at peace with everyone, but a broken relationship should be because of the other person’s sin, not because of my stubbornness. Jesus could not live at peace with the hypocritical Pharisees and be in sync with His Father.
 How can “me and my house serve the Lord,” and tolerate sin at the same time?

If you feel led to approach the one who harmed you, express your feelings to God first. Receive His comfort and perspective. Sometimes, after we personally forgive the person and receive God’s perspective, we no longer need to approach them.

Never, ever, approach the offender to punish him. Saying “I forgive you for this, and for this, and for this…” is passive-aggressive anger, not forgiveness. We cannot make people accept our viewpoint or want a relationship with us.

The quality of our lives comes from our relationship with Jesus, not the person who wronged us (John 10:10). If this person continues in sin and blame, let it go. It’s not the time to reconcile.

Life is sweet when we trust those we love. But some people aren’t trustworthy.

What do you learn from Jesus’ example: “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people,” (John 2:24)?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.


Debbie Wilson

Deborah W. Wilson


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  1. pat waggoner

    Thank you Debbie for your faithfulness.

  2. Marianne Clements


    I agree that forgiveness and trust are two separate issues. Forgiveness is a necessary prerequisite for trust, but trust is not a necessary prerequisite for forgiveness.

    Have a Victorious Day!

    • Debbie

      Marianne, you summed it up well. You can’t have trust without forgiveness, but you can have forgiveness without trust. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ann Musico

    Deborah this was one of the best posts I’ve ever read on forgiveness and reconciliation – so much insight, wisdom and common sense! Sometimes I think people feel to be “spiritual” or good Christians we have to lose all common sense. We are to forgive – send the sin or offense away and allow Jesus to deal with the person. As for the person, we can treat them with mercy, but tempered with wisdom. You said it perfectly, “If change is genuine, it will become evident. Patiently watch and wait.”


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