When trust is broken how is it restored? The news this week of yet another high profile marriage in crisis because of infidelity raises this and many related questions. Could such a breach of trust have been avoided in the first place? How do people even begin to rebuild their lives?
These revelations fuel the ratings of the likes of TMZ and the late night comedians. And they could make a self-righteous Pharisees out of us all if we’re not careful. I have to admit that it raises my ire at the sheer incredulity of it all but it doesn’t unnerve God. He’s been warning his creation about the perils of broken covenants for ages.
Covenant trust is sacred and violations carry serious consequences. Proverbs 6:32-33 could not issue a warning more pointedly. “But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself. He will be wounded and disgraced. His shame will never be erased.” Now that is very sobering.
Certain sins like adultery in measure do carry a lifelong stigma. People just don’t forget. But how do we balance that with the mercy and redemption of God promised to those who confess their transgressions and turn from a wayward life of sin? Forgiveness is a non-negotiable. That is why Christ came and died. Although all have sinned, the promise of God in Christ is that those who confess and repent find an abundance of his mercy.
But what about restoring trust? Trust is not a gift like faith, it is a fruit It has to be grown over time. Growing trust is also like building a house. When the earthquake of sin reduces a house to rubble, rebuilding it is a piece by piece project. And then only if it is determined that clearing the debris and rebuilding is worth the effort.
All of us have experienced varying degrees of loss of trust in relationships. We’ve been betrayed and we’ve been the betrayer. Seeking to heal the breach and rebuild trust is always worth it. (Romans 12:18 & 14:19) But how?
Trust is rebuilt through faithful behavior. Imagine everyone having a bank of trust. Here’s how the bank of trust works. There are deposits and withdrawals. Every faithful word and deed is a deposit in the bank of trust. Erratic and sinful behaviors cause withdrawals from your account. You can imagine that huge withdrawals are very costly and will take a while to replenish.
But here’s the good news. The biggest depositor and underwriter of your account is God. He is committed to you to more than compensate for your losses. No matter how great your trust withdrawals may be and loss of trust in others, you’ll get no insufficient funds when it comes to trusting God.