What a great day to get out in the garden and do some weeding and planting. We continue our Relationship Devotions with some more weeds to pull up and feeds to put down.
The Weed – Mistrust
Trust is the bonding agent of every relationship. It is relationship glue. The depth and strength of a relationship is inextricably linked to the trust between the people in it. As trust builds so does the relationship. As trust declines, so does the relationship. It is that simple. That is why Jesus taught us to be trustworthy in dealing with everyone. He modeled transparent honesty in all his relationships and encouraged us to do the same by letting “our yes be yes and our no be no” (Matthew 5 v 37)
Trust can take a long time to build. That’s why we must protect it once we have it and work hard to do nothing that would undermine people’s trust in us. We must therefore be ruthless with the smallest weed of mistrust. I believe that we where the weed of mistrust takes significant root, we are potentially always just one lie away from its root seriously cracking the building of our relationship.
The Feed – Being Trustworthy
The answer to mistrust is not found in promising, “I will never do it again” or “you can trust me from now on”. The only answer is to BE trustworthy over a protracted period of time. Words are meaningless when trust is eroded. Your partner has to learn to trust you again and that will take some time. The fact is that what was lost is a series of half-truths, lies or deception always takes much longer to repair that it took to cause the damage.
The answer to mistrust is not a “love” issue. It is no good saying, “If you really loved me you would trust me again”. That will never remove the weed of mistrust. We all love people we do not trust – like our children for example! As people demonstrate trustworthiness over time will trust be recovered.
The answer to mistrust is not a “forgiveness” issue. Where the weed of mistrust has taken root the guilty party is often heard to say, “If you had really forgiven me, you would trust me again”. But this is also faulty thinking. Forgiveness dose not immediately take the relationship back to where it once was. A willingness to forgive is absolutely crucial to the health of any relationship, but just as someone can love someone and still not completely trust them, so you can forgive a person and not trust them. The only true remedy for mistrust is to BE trustworthy.