The key element of any relationship (intimate or platonic) is trust. We believe that we can trust our friends and our spouses with our secrets. We trust that our parents will look out for our best interests. We trust that our spouses will remain faithful. We trust so many people in so many ways. But what happens when that trust has been broken? With valuable relationships, especially with our family and spouses, is it right for us to just give up? Here are some things that I think we should do when trust is broken:
Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do especially when someone has hurt you deeply. Colossians 3:13 says "Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you." We have wronged God in so many ways yet He still forgives us. Who then are we to hold grudges against others?
Nevertheless, we cannot neglect the fact that there are some things that are very hard to forgive. Think about a friend who has molested your child or a man who has murdered a relative. How do you really forgive those wicked acts? God is a god of justice and He never lets the wicked go unpunished. You have to allow yourself to let go of the hatred and anger you feel, give everything over to God, and trust that He will take care of it. You will never forget but you have to learn to let go in order to forgive.
Believe in Second Chances
We always think that once someone has wronged us then that's it. The friendship or relationship is over. If the relationship you share with the person is something valuable then you should not give up on it so easily. Yes, there is a saying that states "Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me", but you have to be willing to give the person the benefit of the doubt.
Lay Down the Law
The person needs to know how much what they did affected you and why it affected you. They then need to know what your ground rules are because if they slip up again then that's it. Although Jesus basically said that there should be no limit to our forgiveness (Matthew 18:22) we have to be practical. If your man cheats on you once (and you lay down the law and work on your relationship so that it doesn't happen again) and then he does it again then that is a major red flag. Clearly he is not interested in the sanctity of the relationship and the commitment it requires so why should you give him a third chance?
Be Willing to Play Your Part In Dealing With the Issues
Sometimes trust is lost because of underlying issues in the relationship. Our friends may feel neglected and begin to confide in other people or our spouses may feel that we are not putting enough effort into the relationship and therefore seek love elsewhere. We have to be willing to talk to the person and understand where he or she is coming from in the same way that we would want him or her to do the same. After the issues are outlined, you need to do your part to fix whatever needs to be fixed on your end in the same way that you expect the other person to do the same. It really goes both ways.
Measure the Value of the Relationship
Let's be honest. There are some people who really cannot be trusted. If you firmly believe that the person who has wronged you is such a person and you believe that the relationship means little, then it may be time to let go. Some people are just not worth holding on to. However, if the person is worth holding on to then both you and the person need to be willing to do whatever you can to rebuild the trust.
Trust is something that I have struggled with but as I get older I am learning how to deal with the issues. I hope that this post can help you in some way to deal with your own issues.