Tag: trust (Page 2 of 2)

Taking the Bite out of Betrayal

Betrayal bites. Of all the plots Satan can work into a relationship, betrayal is the worst. At the heart of betrayal is broken trust. Whether it be in the form of an affair, lies, gossip, backstabbing, or walking away from a relationship, betrayal in essence involves the breaking of trust.  You trusted the person to be, do, or carry out something and they did not. Most of the time, betrayal has a deliberate essence to it. Sometimes it is even premeditated.

Unfortunately, trust is not as highly valued as it should be. People make all kinds of promises that they can’t or refuse to keep. They do what they want to do, when they want to do it, and how they want to do it with very little if any concern for its relational effect. Then, they expect this flippant attitude and behavior to be rewarded with trust.  We are truly a disposable, consumer minded society that has placed a high value on convenience to the point where even relationships, commitment, and trust are scene as expendable. Like a membership at a YMCA, we seem to value relationships as far as they serve our needs and a better opportunity doesn’t present itself. Once a relationship stops serving our needs, all bets are off. Not a pleasant reality, but sadly a true one.

Yet, trust takes much time and relational travel to establish, but people expect it to happen over night. Trust should be treasured and built patiently over time.  It’s not instant, nor is it disposable.  Furthermore, it is the product of a relationship going through ups and down together and passing the tests of trust.

With a growing disregard for authority, friendships, integrity, and trust, betrayal has become common place and basically expected. What God hates, Satan has made predictable… betrayal.

So, what is a person to do with this issue of betrayal? Unfortunately it can’t be completely prevented, but here is some wisdom that can guide you in taking the bite out of betrayal.

o.o1 Acknowledge the Hurt – Trying to play the tough guy (or girl) through betrayal is not healthy. Betrayal is gut-wrenching. Make sure you don’t try to bury the anger you have.  Take time to express your hurt to God and perhaps a close friend with whom you can trust. The more you stow it, the more is festers and grows.

o.o2 Retrace the Steps – Typically, betrayal doesn’t happen overnight. Furthermore, what may feel like betrayal could have a very legitimate explanation. To be sure, it will be difficult at best to put together the puzzle of events that led to the betrayal, but doing your best to understand what led to it will help you process it and move forward with appropriate emotions and actions.

o.o3 Learn to Exit Well – Betrayal sometimes occurs when people don’t know how to leave or deal with a situation or relationship. Instead of handling it with clear, direct communication, they hide in the shadows only to make their choices known through others or with no explanation at all. In some circumstances, people will find excuses to exit stage left and use blame to legitimize the guilt they feel in leaving your side. In other circumstances, they will make decisions that force your hand in confronting them and setting boundaries so that they don’t have to take responsibility for the decline or dissolving of the relationship. In essence, they make you say “no” so they don’t have to. This is of course very hurtful, but also serves as a good lesson on how not to do the same to another.

I imagine that Judas discovered early on that there became a point where he no longer supported the cause and/or claims of Christ. But rather then handle that with direct and clear communication, he betrayed Jesus. Add into the mix some greed, bitterness, and temptation and you can begin to retrace the steps of Judas’ exit stage left from the side of Jesus.

o.o4 Reenter with Caution – Betrayal doesn’t always mean the end.  For example, I have seen many couples overcome the worst of affairs and rebuild their marriage stronger than ever.  However, anytime there has been a betrayal, giving back trust and moving towards reconciliation should be done with care and caution. Forgiveness only takes one person, trust and restoration always takes two. Developing discernment and having a healthy relational radar system can go a long way at preventing betrayal.

o.o5 Let God get Justice- When we are betrayed it’s easy to desire revenge. Even when we are at no fault and justified in our anger, revenge is not a good thing.  When it comes to betrayal, trying to even the score will always end up in losing the game.  Does this mean you should not confront the person or seek measures of appropriate discipline or boundaries? No. But it does mean that any actions taken should not be authored from a spirit of revenge.  Aside from any appropriate confrontation or discipline, let God take care of the issues of justice and revenge. He can handle it, we can’t.

0.o6 Don’t Give Up on Trust- There are a lot of good, trustable people out there with whom you can have a betrayal free relationship. Take time to develop trust. Trust can’t be rushed. People who won’t take the time and do the work to build trust probably won’t value it nor protect it once you give it.  There is a difference between being careful and being distrusting. Be careful, but don’t assume that people aren’t trustable.

Building Trust

One of the most important factors in any relationship is trust. The closer the relationship the higher the level of trust required. Trust is a kind of glue in a relationship that strengthens it and holds it together. In the Bible we see both the value of giving trust and withholding trust in our personal relationships. Additionally, we see there are levels of trust, each based on certain dynamics of the relationship. In simple terms, when it comes to trust, one size nor amount fits all.  To one group, we observe in scripture “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.” Yet in another place, we read the words of Jesus “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”   Trust is a sacred treasure that, like all things God gives us to share, should be stewarded carefully.  “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”

Typically, most of us fall into one of two categories… we either withhold appropriate levels of trust even when it’s safe, or we give too much trust prematurely.  To be sure, the giving of trust into a relationship is an art and balance that is forever learned.  Regardless of which side you tend to err on, here are some principals that have served me well as I seek to be better at building trust in my relationships.

1) Give trust in steps–  For those who are hyper-sensitive to giving trust, if you learn you don’t have to give all your trust at once, it will help you to feel safe in giving a little bit at a time. Instead of never trusting, warming up to the waters of trust one step at a time can be very helpful and healthy.  God operates under this same principal as His word says, “Those who are faithful with a little will be faithful much.”  God first starts with a “little” before He ever gets to “much.” In fact, people who expect you to quickly trust them and become offended when you don’t, are typically people who aren’t very trustworthy anyways. There are some who may want you to prematurely give them all your trust at once (or lots of it) because they know, if you don’t,  you might figure it out that you probably shouldn’t give them any of it.  People who pressure you for trust (especially early on) are typically people who won’t respect it when it is given. When it comes to giving trust, sometimes less is more.  Small steps overtime are much better than no steps at all. Yet, small steps overtime are also better then one immediate big step. For those who are too free with your trust, taking steps will help you to have the self-control that doesn’t pile on more trust into the relationship than it can handle.  This is contra-productive. The relationship could have handled a smaller amount of trust and grown to build more, but instead too much was given prematurely, the trust was not honored, you are disappointed, and the relationship is worse off than if trust had been allowed to grow over time. Giving too much trust too soon might feel like it builds relationships and makes you a loving person, but in fact, it can make the relationship into a house of cards that easily falls down in ruin.

2) Go out of your way to show yourself to be trustworthy-  I am often amazed at how we expect people to trust us while at the same time we aren’t willing to earn it , intentionally show we are trustworthy, and give trust time to grow. Rather, sometimes we display behaviors and attitudes that erode trust and expect trust to be given in return.  The Bible contradicts this thinking saying, “A man reaps what he sows.” It’s unfair and unrealistic to expect or demand trust from another while either untrustworthiness is being displayed or you are not extending yourself and showing yourself to be trustworthy.  Don’t expect trust to be the outcome given from poor communication, withheld  feelings, flattery, manipulation, violated boundaries, hidden agendas, selfishness, lies, gossip, or division.  These are a few among the definite trust busters of relationships.  Instead, if you want to build trust, take the initiative to do your part in preventing the person or group from having any real reason to withhold the giving of trust over time.  If it’s with your boss, show up on time to work, go the extra mile, don’t participate in the office gossip. If it’s with your spouse, be open and honest, be emotionally available, communicate consistently and frequently,  explain your decisions, resolve conflict promptly and completely, and communicate your activities.  If it’s with a friend, show your devotion, communicate your heart, don’t let assumption go without clarification or confirmation.  In all relationships, ask the trust building kind of questions, “How are we doing?” “Are we okay” “Anything we need to talk about?” “Are we on the same page?” “How are you feeling about things?” “Help me understand, why did you do ________?

3) Put your ultimate trust in Jesus- All our relationships with people  are to be an extension from our relationship with Jesus. The trust we have with Jesus first and foremost is to be carefully extended into our relationships not replaced by our relationships. I find it staggeringly profound that Jesus entrusted himself to no one, that special level of trust was reserved for His heavenly Father.  When people fail us, Jesus does not, will not, and cannot. With this anchor to our soul and well-being firmly secure, we are able to extend portions of that trust we have found in Christ into our relationships so that the work of God can be done in and through them.


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