When someone you know and love breaks your trust, it can be earth shattering. You may feel like years of your life were wasted or that you never understood a person you were deeply involved with. So what do we do when a fellow believer in Christ does this to us? Do we treat that situation different other relationships? What does the Bible have to say about it?

Christians are not perfect by any means, but since we treat the church and our brethren as a safe haven, sometimes we forget that and get hurt. Jesus taught us that forgiveness is a must (Matt. 18:21-22), but what comes after forgiveness? Do we act like nothing happened and move on? Should we be more cautious with our trust?

This tug of war is inherent in all human relationships. Of course, if we were perfect, God’s greatest redemptive processes wouldn’t take place.

So what can we do to try to let redemption occur? Here are some guidelines:

Step 1: Ask the offender to acknowledge and accept responsibility for their broken trust. They cannot expect to be trusted as before, even after giving an apology. They must look beyond their pride and realize that it is up to them to make amends. Forgiveness does not immediately negate the consequences of one’s actions, and any further efforts to justify these actions only deepens the wedge between an offender and whomever they have hurt. Just as we would not try to rationalize or justify our sinful actions before God, they cannot expect to do so with those we have failed.

Step 2: Ask for help from the Lord to restore unity in the body of Christ. The adversary, who is the accuser of the brethren, will take every opportunity to divide the body of Christ. Jesus commands us to love one another as He loves us (John 13:34), and unity is crucial for that to happen. Asking for help is a humbling experience and reminds us of our desperate need for God’s grace.

Step 3: Find someone of mutual spiritual authority. A neutral third party advisor of strong character can guide, teach, and help all parties understand and learn from their wrongdoings. This will restore the value placed in their character and invites their community to be a part of the healing journey.

Both parties must remember to trust that God will work all things together for His glory:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28)

Jesus Christ is the only person that will never fail us or give us cause to question God’s character. We can be assured that trust in Him will help us navigate every circumstance. He sees everyone as renewed opportunities of unconditional love. We are all still in the process of being molded by the Great Potter, and there are some things that are still in process (Jer. 18:1-6), yet as long we seek Him above all things (Matt. 6:33), He will show us redemption can bring us closer to each other and to Him.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. (John 13:34)

– Eszter Willard, Staff Writer

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