When Trust Is Broken
I love that God gives us earthly relationships to bring us joy, comfort, and companionship. I could not be more thankful that we have this gift here and now as we wait for our eternal home. Yet sometimes these relationships don’t go as planned. Trust is often broken, and when we lose trust in someone, it rocks us. We literally feel like we’ve lost our footing and have no idea where the next step is. Especially when it’s someone close to us.
Trust is often broken, and when we lose trust in someone, it rocks us.
I’m sure you agree it would be so nice if we didn’t have to ever worry about our trust being broken. But since we are all far from perfect, we will all have to deal with this issue. Yes, I mean all of us. At some point in our lives, we will break the trust of someone we love, and someone will break our trust in them. It could be done in a huge way, like betraying one’s marriage vows. It could also unfold in frequent, small ways.
For example, the friend who says she will do something for you and then doesn’t come through. She contacts you with a sincere apology and even has a legitimate excuse. Because you want that same grace extended to you when you make a mistake, you forgive her without hesitation. But then you see it becomes a cycle for her, a way of life. In fact, you really can’t count on her to do what she says. Has she betrayed you in a devastating way? Not really. But her continued, regular, relational hiccups have chipped away at your trust in her word. You know she loves you and cares for you, but you don’t trust her to be there for you when you need her.
Regardless, if losing trust is due to a huge mishap or numerous small ones, it is difficult to endure and restore—but not impossible. I know this well. I’ve been living it for 14 years.
I have discovered that trust is restored with humility, honor, and consistent assurance. But I also know this: providing that assurance often feels inconvenient, embarrassing, uncomfortable, annoying, and difficult.
One of the most common things I see in couples who have experienced some type of betrayal is a lack of humility. This comes into play when the offender gets frustrated that his spouse still questions, still doubts, still fears that his word isn’t true. I can’t tell you how many spouses I’ve talked to, mostly women, who have said, “He told me he is sorry and he never wants to talk about this again. He said he has changed, and I need to just believe him.” In this case, the husband’s attitude is the extreme opposite of what it takes to restore trust.
It is incredibly humbling and definitely awkward for Chris to have someone call me when he’s out late at night. It almost seems a little absurd that I would even need that type of reassurance. And most days, I don’t. But some days, I do. Chances are strong that I’m not the only spouse who needs reassurance. Yes, our reassurance must come from God, but it is vital that we also do our part to help restore what our choices may have destroyed.
Where Is Your Confidence?
Our senses are a blessing from God. They allow us to experience our world with the people we love in a plethora of ways. Our sense of touch allows us to feel how smooth our little boy’s cheeks are just before he enters puberty. We have ears to hear sounds in nature and favorite harmonious chords in music. Having the ability to taste sweet, salty, and sour sends our taste buds into overdrive on any given day. We have a nose, albeit often one bigger than we’d like, that makes the world come alive by bringing in smells that jar our memories and cause our stomachs to rumble. Our eyes take in beauty that can’t be explained, whether it’s waves crashing on a shore or the sight of a bride on her wedding day.
While it is terrific having all these senses, we often put our confidence in the things they allow us to experience instead of in God.
We lean on our spouses. Understandably so. But we go too far when we place our full trust in them. And while it is important to be trusting and to have people in our lives whom we can trust, people are not a replacement for God.
People are not a replacement for God.
I recognize this is a difficult line to draw, the line between knowing you can trust people and placing our full confidence in them. We so want to be able to say, “I have complete trust in my husband” or “I know my mother will never let me down.” But those statements are setting us up to be disappointed. (I will discuss this issue later in the chapter.)
God’s Word is chock-full of verses that talk about trusting God and putting our complete confidence in Him. Here are some of my favorites:
In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. (Psalm 25:1)
When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8)
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans. (Psalm 118:8)
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. (Psalm 145:13)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:7-9)
One of my favorite parts of the Bible where a person trusted God wholeheartedly is the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Imagine the scene with me from Luke, chapter 1. Mary is pledged to be married to a great guy named Joseph. The Bible refers to Mary as a virgin, which was absolutely essential in the Hebrew culture, especially when a girl was pledged to be married to a descendant of King David.
The angel Gabriel came to see Mary in Nazareth. Scripture says that Mary was troubled at what Gabriel told her and she wondered why he came to visit. And rightly so. He told her she was highly favored and that God was with her. He knew she was nervous about his presence and what he’d said, so he spoke again to her: “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end” (Luke 1:30-33).
Upon hearing this, Mary asked, “How will this be… since I am a virgin?” (verse 34). Now Mary had just heard the most shocking and alarming news of her young life, and she asked only one question. I’m pretty sure my jaw would have been on the floor when he said I would conceive and give birth to a son while I’m still a virgin. But to hear that the Holy Spirit would come on me and that my child would be the Son of God? The Messiah? The promised Savior of the world? I would have surely passed out or at least have come up with a long list of questions and requests that demanded explanation. But Mary humbly asked that one question, to which the angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” (verse 35).
Mary did not use that moment either to break out her list of questions. She simply said, “I am the Lord’s servant… May your word to me be fulfilled” (verse 38).
Wow. Such trust this young girl had in her Lord. And she had to have known the ridicule she would receive from everyone who knew her. She had to be anxious about what Joseph would say and do when he found out she was expecting a child that wasn’t his. He would be heartbroken, humiliated, and everything in his human nature would compel him to dump her on the spot. Thankfully, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him not to be afraid and to take Mary as his wife, because the son she would birth would save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:20-21).
Taken from Rebuilding a Marriage Better Than New. Copyright © 2016 by Cindy Beall. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402. harvesthousepublishers.com