If we deserved forgiveness, it wouldn't be called grace. If we could earn it, it wouldn't be real love. That type of radical forgiveness doesn’t seem humanly possible, but it is possible through the grace Christ has extended to each of us. Forgiveness sets you free and makes healing possible in the relationship. It’s been said, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and then hoping the other person dies.” Some couples get stuck in a cycle of grudges and mistrust, because they wrongly assume that forgiveness and trust are the same thing. It’s vital that we understand their distinctions. Forgiveness can’t be earned; it can only be given freely. That’s why it’s called grace. Trust, however, can’t be given freely; it can only be earned.
When your spouse breaks your trust, you should give your forgiveness instantly, but give your trust slowly as it is earned through consistency of actions. During this period of rebuilding, fight the urge to punish or retaliate. Those actions won’t do anything to promote healing, and healing always needs to be our ultimate objective. Love, after all, is a healing force.
You don’t have to trust someone in order to forgive, but you do have to forgive someone in order to make trust possible again.
The process of rebuilding trust might be slow and it might be painful, but it’s worth it! Once you worked through your issues and reestablished trust, your relationship can actually become stronger and more vibrant than it ever was before.
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