How Do I Know When I Should Trust Again?

Remember Charles Shultz’s Peanut Cartoon? With Lucy’s record of yanking away the football at the last minute, should Charlie Brown trust her to hold it in place for him to kick? Here’s a more pertinent question. Should we trust again after being betrayed?

First, it’s worth noting that love, trust, forgiveness, and reconciliation are separate issues. Heaping them together keeps people from forgiving. We’re called to love everyone, even our enemies. We are to forgive as Christ forgave us. Thankfully, forgiveness is between us and God. It doesn’t depend on the recipient’s knowledge or cooperation. But it takes two to restore trust.

Three Biblical Examples of Forgiving Without Trusting

  • David forgave King Saul—but did not trust him (I Samuel 19).
  • Jesus offered forgiveness to all—but did not trust people (John 2:23-25).
  • Paul forgave—but did not trust the Judaizers or Alexander the metal worker (Galatians 4:17; 2 Timothy 4:14-15).

When we forgive, we cancel the debt someone owes us. I picture turning them over to the bill collector—God. They become His problem, not ours. In forgiving, I’m saying, “This is what they did and what it cost me. I release them and what they did to You to deal with appropriately. And I look to You to meet my needs.”

God calls us to forgive because He’s forgiven us (Colossians 3:13). But forgiveness doesn’t necessarily lead to restored trust.

Trust is the “firm belief in the reliability … of someone or something.” Once broken, it can only be restored when dependability is rebuilt. A chair that crumbles when sat on is not fit for seating. A person who repeatedly proves unreliable has no right to demand trust.

We know godly sorrow leads to repentance or change (2 Corinthians 7:10). If the one who wronged me denies his wrongdoing, blames others for it, or minimizes the damage, then I cannot assume that he is trustworthy.

A chair that crumbles when sat on is not fit for seating. A person who repeatedly proves unreliable has no right to demand #trust. #Wisdom Share on X

Biblical Examples of Restored Trust

Should a woman ever trust the man who took advantage of her and had her husband killed (2 Samuel 12)? When the prophet Nathan confronted King David about his hideous sin, David confessed and took responsibility for his actions. He penned Psalms admitting his sin and acknowledging God’s cleansing. Bathsheba could trust David after he turned from his sin and returned to God.

Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37-50). When they appeared in Egypt needing food, Joseph put them through an elaborate series of tests to expose their true character. Only after they passed the tests did he reveal his identity to them.

Before You Trust Again—Watch and Wait

Our actions reveal our hearts. Don’t coach an unfaithful person on the change you’re looking for. Some want the benefits of a restored relationship without the work of transformation. True heart change will show in attitudes and actions.

Being the recipient of God’s mercy and grace reminds us to show compassion even to those that don’t deserve it. What they owe us can’t compare with what we owe Jesus who suffered the hell we deserved so that we could have His heaven.

Because Jesus meets all my needs, I no longer need to collect debts or force relationships that are unhealthy. The motivation to restore trust, comes not from a need for this relationship, but from a desire to honor Christ.

Should we forgive that person who hurt us? Absolutely. Should we trust them? That depends on them. Have they shown repentance and change like King David and Joseph’s brothers? Or are they behaving like Lucy with Charlie Brown?

Comment here.


Sometimes I link with these great sites:

#InspireMeMonday, #InstaEncouraements, #TellHisStory and here , #Let’sHaveCoffee#Recharge Wednesday, #Grace&Truth,

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  1. Nancy E. Head

    This message is much needed today. There are so many wolves in sheep’s clothing today, and many of us don’t have the wherewithal to resist an invitation to kick the ball again. God bless, Debbie!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Nancy, you’re right. We want to trust, and it feels mean and judgmental to question. But God applauds discernment.

    • Jane

      Powerful wise message. Thank you.

      • Debbie Wilson

        Thank you, Jane.

  2. Meagan

    The part where you said, “[L]ove, trust, forgiveness, and reconciliation are separate issues. Heaping them together keeps people from forgiving” brought a great moment of clarity to me. Thank you!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Meagan, I think that trips a lot of people. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Marilyn Butler

    Debbie, Your words brought strength to my day (and always, I hope!)… I must remember that forgiveness is between God and me, not always the wrongdoer. You put it so clearly and has given me strength and peace today…. God Bless You!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Marilyn. God bless you!

  4. J.D. Wininger

    How very true Ms. Debbie. We are to forgive, but trust is something earned rather than given. There are many that I’ve forgiven but will never trust again. If God (the “bill collector”, I loved that analogy) is able to guide them to repentance and a restored/right relationship with Him, then I am apt to give them the opportunity to once again earn my trust. Until I see that change in them, I’ll be cordial but cautious. So appreciated this post ma’am. A much needed lesson indeed!

    • Debbie Wilson

      “Cordial but cautious,” Very well said, J.D.! God applauds discernment.

  5. Tammy Kennington

    Debbie, you’ve presented such a clear, well-thought differentiation between forgiveness, trust, and reconciliation. This is too often muddled in Christian circles and can lead to people endangering themselves in abusive family situations, for example.

    Your examples from scripture are spot on! Thanks for this great post.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Tammy. Yes, people are encouraged to forgive and forget the character of the person. That leaves many people vulnerable to harm.

  6. Barbara Latta

    There is so much wisdom in what you said. We don’t often think about restored trust because we hear so much about needing to forgive. Trust does take time to be reinstated.

    • Debbie Wilson

      In my years of working as a counselor I saw this confusion a lot. And it caused a lot of emotional angst. Thanks, Barbara.

  7. Ann Musico

    Such wise words. Beautifully explained and the distinctions are clear.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann.

  8. Joanne Viola

    A very wise post, Debbie. Trust is most difficult once it is broken. It’s restoration depends upon the actions of the one who broke it and it usually happens over time. We can forgive freely and be cautious to trust. You explained this well and in a most practical and useful manner.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Broken trust is hard to restore. Genuine regret and change make all the difference. Thanks, Joanne.

  9. Donna

    Excellent post, Debbie. I needed these words today as I am going through a difficult season in a relationship right now. Broken trust again and again, and many “second” chances given, but no change.
    Time to let the consequences of their behavior teach the much-needed lesson. Thank you for the encouragement today.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Donna, I’m so sorry. That is never fun. I’m thankful you found encouragement today. God bless you.

  10. Suzette

    This is refreshing to me, and I’m thankful for the examples you provided. While I forgave those who hurt me, trust hasn’t returned, and maybe that is because it isn’t supposed to. I’m accepting that it’s ok to move on. Forgiveness is the important part. I believe God will restore what He wants to be restored. Thanks.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Suzette, I like how you said, ” I believe God will restore what He wants to be restored.” I agree. When we trust Him, He guides us. His timing isn’t always ours.

  11. Yvonne Morgan

    Trusting a person after they betrayed me is the hardest type of forgiveness for me. Thanks for sharing some great wisdom on forgiveness as I work to do better. Thanks Debbie

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Yvonne.

  12. Lisa notes

    I think these are reminders we all need because of broken trust. Forgiveness is one thing; rebuilding trust is another. Great post, Debbie!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Lisa.

  13. Annie Yorty

    Debbie, this is such an important topic. Your explanations are clear with practical examples. I often see people mix issues of love, forgiveness, trust, etc. It often leads them to rationalize putting trust in untrustworthy people. I will be sharing your message.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Annie. Yes, I have seen people swing to both sides. Some won’t forgive because they think that means they’re obligated to trust. Others feel they must throw out their discernment.

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