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When Trust is Broken

Trust is hard to build and all too easy to break.  When trust is broken, the feelings of hurt, betrayal, and potential loss are real.  That's why we all need to be ready to choose to trust again.  But how do you do it?

  1. Give yourself time and space to heal.  Broken people break things so fight the urge to respond in anger seeking revenge.  Take the teaching of Proverbs 19:11 to heart:  "A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense."  Be wise and patient as you respond and decide if this is an offense you can overlook.  If you can, overlook it and move forward.

  2. Move beyond anger toward forgiveness.  Forgiveness feels so impossible at times, so unfair, and even wrong.  But forgiveness is your only path to freedom.  Even when others don't deserve it, follow the model of Jesus.  Read what Paul wrote about Jesus's love for us and work to forgive us in Romans 5:8:  "8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."  It only takes one person to forgive.

  3. Consider what you really want.  What is the best-case scenario after trust is broken?  Mapping out the best-case scenario gives you room and permission to trust again even if that means you could be hurt again.   You may feel stuck because of what others have done to you, but you aren't.

  4. See if reconciliation is possible.  Here is where their response to betraying you comes into play.  If they own their stuff, seek forgiveness, and commit to change, then trust can be rebuilt.  If they blame you, deflect ownership, and demand you trust them, then the walk back toward trust should be a slow one.  You can't control their response so do your part to seek peace and trust God along the way.  ROMANS 12:18 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

  5. Look for evidence of life change.  When someone says, trust me, do you typically trust them?  Likely not.  When someone lives, trust me, do you typically trust them?  You bet you do.  Track record.  Why do we struggle to trust when people say trust me, it’s because they have just betrayed us or are about to betray us.  But when someone shows their commitment to live differently, they can be trusted and at some point, the past can and should be left in the past.

Choosing to trust again isn't always as neat and tidy as this process suggests, but these principles can and do guide you to God-honoring ways of responding to broken trust.
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