Forgiveness is Given, Trust is Earned

Anonymous asked:

Hi. Do you have any strategies on how to change relationships? I was never close to my (earthly) father growing up, and though I am now an adult, I still feel a void when it comes to our relationship. I know that I can count on my father who is in heaven, but I still feel as though I am missing out in this relationship, and I am also nervous about how that will affect relationships that I have with other men. I would like to rekindle our relationship, but I would like some advice. Thank you!

I answered:

This is a tricky situation. You should be very proud of yourself for looking to take active steps to better your relationship this way, few people have the courage to take those steps.

The first thing to know is that you can’t make someone want to reconcile a relationship. There is no amount of logical or emotional appeal that can convince someone who isn’t into it. A lot of people open themselves up to hurt all over again by thinking that if they just convince the other person who awesome they are, that person will want to get to know them better. If he doesn’t want to have a relationship with you, that says something him, not you, and it is his loss.

One key thing to remember, especially in the early stages, is this: forgiveness is given, but trust is earned. You need to forgive in order to start the new relationship off on a good foot, and because forgiveness is good for your own heart. Trust is different though. Trust needs to be built up over time, and it is prudent to only give as much trust as the other person has proved themselves to deserve. Jesus says to forgive as you want God to forgive you (and I know I prefer free forgiveness to what I have earned, which is none), but trust should be earned.

Rebuilding a relationship is one of many situations in which worrying about acting Christian is the worst thing to do. It seems like the Christian thing to do to be a doormat and to never cut the cord no matter what the other person does, but that is not the case.  You should look after yourself as you move forward. Having a destructive relationship is worse than having no relationship. 

Good luck in your efforts. Going slowly and keeping expectations in check will help the process in the long run.


-Matt from The Bridge

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