“Trust is the currency of relationships. It is the basis upon which we let people into our lives. When a person is betrayed, the greatest casualty is that trust. It is also the most difficult to get back.”- Phil Waldrep
In Chapter 10 (“Healing”), the concluding chapter of Beyond Betrayal, Phil Waldrep reminds us that the Bible tells us to forgive others. And in the Great Commandment, Jesus instructs us to love God and our neighbor. However, Phil underscores, the Bible contains no such requirement to trust anyone but God.
As a relationship forms, we build trust casually. And as that trust grows, we share more of ourselves. But when a betrayal violates that trust, the author observes, rebuilding that trust occurs more formally. Yet, Phil exhorts, don’t become skeptical about trusting anyone ever again. Because such a stance generalizes mistrust.
Instead, you must set up ground rules for restoring trust. Henry Cloud and John Townsend express it this way in their book Boundaries:
“Forgiveness has to do with the past. Reconciliation and boundaries have to do with the future. Limits guard my property until someone has repented and can be trusted to visit again.”
As a result, we must establish direct and specific ground rules. Failure to deal with them openly creates plenty of room for misrepresentation and misunderstanding. Phil explains:
“Determining good ground rules is an expression of our healing process. It gives us behaviors to observe — and behaviors to avoid — to make it safe to trust again.”
In addition, the author provides four guidelines for writing these ground rules:
- Your ground rules should be action oriented – vagueness leaves too much to interpretation.
- List everything – don’t beat around the bush.
- Your ground rules must contain verifiable data.
- Set some ground rules that free, not restrict – set healthy goals, such as getting away somewhere. But don’t handle this like a legal contract. Because then love can’t flourish.
Finally, Phil counsels:
“We must be willing to pour out our frustrations, pain, and even our anger to Him so that He can replace them with His grace and love. . . . God does have a destination in mind for us. It is a place of abundant and joyful life.”
Today’s question: How do you see trust as the currency of relationships? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of Beyond Betrayal