In my weekly blog series on “Answering Life’s Tough Questions,” Charity asked: How do you let go of the fear and begin to trust again when you still feel so nervous after he cheated? I’ve reconciled with him and I love him but things just aren’t the same.”
Assuming this question is in the context of marriage, I applaud you, Charity, for reconciling. God expects us to freely forgive (as you have done) just as He has freely forgiven us. But God does not command us to trust immediately after being betrayed. Perhaps God knew that would be something we would have to ease back into, after the one who betrayed us has earned our trust again.
First of all, Charity, it takes time for a broken heart to mend. So don’t expect to be able to trust again overnight. Fear is a natural consequence of pain and heartache. We fear being hurt again. And we fear the next time it happens it will hurt even more.
Since your question is about letting go of the fear in order to trust again, I want to share with you what I have found is the best way to let go of fear, especially in light of relational heartbreak. Philippians 4:8 tells us that we are to focus on “whatever is true…” So, this is an opportunity to practice what I often write about: Focus on the facts, not your feelings. For instance, in a situation like yours where you’ve been betrayed, to focus on the facts, rather than your feelings, would look like this:
Is he truly repentant for his betrayal? If so, focus on the fact that he has repented, not on your fear that he may hurt you again.
Is he seeking accountability so that he doesn’t repeat the offense? If so, focus on the fact that he is doing what he can to keep from hurting you again, rather than on your fear that he might lie to his accountability partner.
Is he taking the steps you have required of him so that he can earn your trust again? If so, focus on the fact that he is fulfilling his part and ask God for the grace to see him as God does.
Shortly after I was engaged to be married, a teenage girl, who had been hurt many times in dating relationships, asked me “How could you ever trust one person to be faithful to you your whole life?” I found myself responding: “My trust is not solely in him, but in his relationship with his God.” I would amend that answer, today, to say “My trust is in God, not a man.” No matter whom we marry, we marry sinners, capable of letting us down. And God is the Only One who will never let us down in any way.
Today, when it gets difficult to trust the man you married, trust the One whom you still believe brought the two of you together. Trust that God will hold your heart, give you wisdom in dealing with your husband and give you grace to see him as God sees you both, sinners saved by grace who are still capable of letting one another down and totally dependent on God’s grace and enabling.
My prayers are with you, Charity. Draw close to the Lover of Your Soul who will never let you down and wait for His healing of your heart and His power, working through you, that will enable you to trust again.
Do you have some encouragement for Charity? If so, please leave it in the comments below. Do you have a question you’d like me to address in an upcoming blog? Let me know here, as well, or email me at Cindi@StrengthforTheSoul.com and write “blog question” in the subject line.