“Trust can be rebuilt in broken relationships.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 16, 2022
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Years ago, I was asked to be a guest on a Bible answer radio program to share about my new book. When I arrived, I was happy I wouldn’t have to answer any questions from callers, as I’m not a theologian or Bible scholar. I’m just a woman living out life with the Savior the best way she can.
But, boy! Was I was surprised! Toward the end of the program, the host asked me live on-air to answer a question from a caller who wanted to know how to rebuild trust with his wife after he had betrayed her. He didn’t say how he had broken trust, only that he had deeply wounded her, and he wanted to do what he could to restore their loving relationship.
My heart went out to him as I have been the one who has hurt someone I love, and I have also been the one who has been hurt. I said a quick prayer and asked the Lord to give me words for the man.
The Lord was faithful.
I reminded the caller that trust can be rebuilt. Some people think trust either exists in a relationship and you have it, or you don’t. But that’s simply not true. Scripture shows us how we can build—and even rebuild—trust. This is what scriptures on conflict resolution are all about.
I shared that he would first need to humbly go to his wife and admit his sin if he hadn’t done so already and ask for forgiveness. (This would fulfill the Lord’s command in Matthew 5:23-24).
Then, he would need to ask her if there was any other way that he had hurt her, listen to her response, and take ownership without blame shifting, accusing, or denying. He would need to confess his sin and ask for her forgiveness for hurting her. Without taking these first steps in humility toward reconciliation, any additional efforts he would take to rebuild trust with his wife would be hindered.
I reminded him that if someone trusts me, it’s because I have done what is trustworthy and what makes them feel safe. My actions have created trust in them. Therefore, to rebuild trust with his wife, he would need to find out what she needs to feel safe and do it.
That means that if she tells him she needs him to call her whenever he goes somewhere, that he would need to humbly do that and not become defensive. If she says she needs access to his phone so she could see who he is communicating with, he would need to do that and not become defensive. He would need to consider that in doing what his wife needs to feel safe, that their trust could be rebuilt—but that it would take time.
He would also need to be understanding if there were moments when his wife became angry or still felt betrayed even after he had been doing the hard work of relational restoration. In these moments, it would be unwise to say, “You’re supposed to forgive me! That’s what the Bible says!” Forgiveness does not mean that there aren’t moments of grief that the person who has been wronged will experience. Again, reconciliation takes time and trust takes time to rebuild.
He would also need to check in with her now and then and ask how he is doing and ask if there is anything else he can do to make her feel safe.
With this kind of loving intention, it would be possible for trust to be rebuilt in his relationship with his wife if she was willing to forgive and willing to allow him to show her that he cared.
Perhaps you can relate to the man that I spoke with on air. Perhaps you have sinned against someone you love, and you’d like to right your wrong. You feel horrible for how you have treated your friend or loved one and you want them to know how sorry you are. My prayer is that the above steps will be a help as you navigate toward forgiveness and relational restoration.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord . . .” (Acts 3:19).
Lord, please help me to reconcile with the person I have wronged. Help me not to be prideful, but in humility help me know how I can best love them in action so that trust may possibly be restored. Amen.
If you have sinned against someone, go to them and implement the above actions.
Austin Stone Worship: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
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