Every year Charlie Brown is faced with the same challenge: Should he trust Lucy to hold the football in place for him to kick, knowing her record of pulling it away? All of us face similar challenges regularly, though not with a football, but with our hearts. Should we trust someone again who has hurt and wronged us?
Some believe that if we truly forgive a person who has wronged us we should also trust them. This view is provocative but not really biblical. David forgave but did not trust King Saul (I Samuel 19). Jesus forgave but did not trust men (John 2:23-25). Paul forgave but did not trust Alexander the metal worker (II Timothy 4:14-15).
When I forgive, I choose not to collect the price I have had to pay for their actions, nor will I seek their punishment. But I also will not offer them my heart until they become trustworthy, or God prompts me to do so (Matt 7:6). Yet to trust again and experience the joy from a restored relationship that has security and closeness is very important and worth pursuing. What are the biblical components that can help us know how and when to trust again?
Understanding: The one who has wronged me must understand how they have wronged me and the impact it has had upon me. This will help them provide me with true comfort and reassurance and it will also allow them to experience true sorrow for their actions. The Bible explains that godly sorrow leads to repentance or change (II Corinthians 7:10). If the one who has wronged me can not communicate to me that he “gets it,” then I cannot assume that he is yet in a trustworthy place.
Change: Trustworthy change with a person is a change that takes place in the core of a person not just certain adjustments of behavior. Repentance, which is a prerequisite for an intimate relationship that has been estranged, means “a change of direction.”
If an unfaithful person has truly changed so that I can begin the trust process with them, I will see other favorable changes with them. These changes will reveal a good change has taken place in the core of who they are. They are changing into a trustworthy person.
Faith: The ability to trust and be open again with one who has been untrustworthy is a spiritual ability. Jesus told his disciples that they were to love those who had been unkind to them. This ability to love would come by faith from Him (Matthew 5:43-48)
Having a close relationship with Christ gives me the courage and skill to trust again He meets my deepest personal needs and reassures me of his protection so that even if someone should fail me, I won’t be hurled head-long, or be destroyed (Psalm 37:24).
My motivation to trust again, is not that I need the relationship, but that I want the relationship restored because God did that for me. Revisiting the hurt to pursue a restored relationship is truly worth it. It will bring blessings to many and glory to God.
Thank you for your friendship and partnership with us at Lighthouse. Together, we are bringing Christ’s restoration to individuals and families. We appreciate your considering Lighthouse with your year-end giving. Your gifts are tax deductible and are a huge encouragement to us and a blessing to many.
Debbie’s Wednesday evening study will be on David Jeremiah’s workbook, What in the World is Going On? It will begin January 7th.