Some time ago, a colleague of mine experienced a devastating loss when his company was taken over by an unscrupulous group of investors. Under the guise of a round of venture capital funding, the investors wrested control of the board of directors, firing him and his wife from the company they both founded. As he recounted the painful episode to me, I was surprised by his relatively calm demeanor.
“You know, I have always known you to be very level-headed, calm when chaos is happening all around you. Does your wife feel the same way about everything that has happened?”
My colleague’s lips pursed. “If anything, she is even more level-headed.”
“What do you mean?”
“She thinks that if we are able to resolve this with our attorneys, we may even be able to work together with them.”
I was stunned by this admission. “And what do you think?”
My colleague was tentative, but out of respect to his wife he said, “I don’t think I can do that.”
“Because the trust is gone.”
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:7-8 (ESV)
God calls all believers to forgive one another for sins they have committed or that have been inflicted upon ourselves or upon others. In relationships broken by sinful behavior, we are commanded to forgive the perpetrator but we do not naively continue to place ourselves in the same path of danger. Forgiveness is unconditional but it is not equivalent to trust. Trust is earned when the forgiven person demonstrates contrition, and this takes time, sometimes a lifetime.
However long it takes to restore trust, our responsibility as believers and followers of Jesus Christ is to pray for the one who sinned against us. We do this because of the example Jesus Christ gave to us. When we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He forgave our sins even when we rejected His initial offer of salvation and nailed Him to the Cross. His sacrifice for us demonstrated the trustworthiness of His Word.
Forgiveness is unconditional. Trust is earned.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.