Tips  on spiritual growth, emotional health, and relational healing.


Do I Have to Trust the Person Who Hurt Me Again?

Jan 27, 2019

One of the biggest challenges with forgiveness is what to do when you’re done forgiving.

The title of this post is one of the most common questions I get about forgiveness.

Do you reconcile?

Do you trust the person again?

Or do you put them on some sort of probation until they “prove” themselves?

I don’t know about you, but I often feel foolish when I consider trusting someone after they’ve disappointed me. I wonder if I’m just asking to get hurt again or if I’m not living in reality.

I’ve extended trust to people after they’ve hurt me…only to watch them hurt me again.

I thought I was doing the noble, even “Christian” thing. But then they showed me their true colors again. They were who I thought they were and that meant I had another wound in my soul.

I’m sure you know the experience of feeling like you got duped, which left you thinking it was your fault because you should’ve seen it coming

The “Never Trust Again” Option

One way to avoid such a feeling is to never trust people. Don’t let them in and they’ll never get close enough to hurt you. This idea sounds great in theory but it leads us to isolation and disconnection.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this path in his book, The Four Loves. He said,

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”

So that doesn’t sound like a great option.

The Boundary Option

Another way is to tell people the truth about our lack of trust and put up a boundary. Over the last 20 years, the book Boundaries by Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend has sold millions of copies, helping people protect themselves from unnecessary abuse and pain.

Dr. Cloud wrote about this challenge we face with trust after a wound. He said, “Many relationship problems come from one of these two errors: being loving without truth and limits or being truthful without being loving.”

We are deceived when we think putting up a boundary is an unloving thing. When in fact, through boundaries, we love someone else by bringing the truth to them so they can see it. They may feel hurt in this process, but our goal isn’t to harm them. Our goal is to make it more difficult for them to harm us.

Erecting a boundary may be painful and hurt momentarily, but it ensures that the other person faces their harmful behavior. We’re allowing them to make a change or adjustment, leaving the door open for a different future.

This is why I included Lie #7 in my new guide, It’s Not What You Think: 11 Lies You’ve Been Told About Forgiveness.

Forgiveness and reconciliation are, in fact, different things. You cannot and should not reconcile without forgiveness on all sides and real discernible change. Otherwise, you will experience a repeat of the past in the future.

There will always be a risk of hurt and wounds in any relationship. To experience love, as Lewis said, we open ourselves up to pain and disappointment.

But we can make that risk a more calculated and intentional one. It’s not foolish to offer someone a second chance; it is brazen and entitled for them to require one.

Trust is extended, never demanded. Loyalty is earned, not required. When someone is demanding your trust without apology or repentance, be careful.

Love without truth or limits isn’t real love. It’s just unwise.

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