Forgiveness ≠ Trust

Forgiveness ≠ Trust

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Many believers mistakenly misapply the words of Christ and find themselves in situations where they feel compelled to trust someone who has repeatedly broken their trust.


Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.”

Forgiving someone over and over again is what God expects of those who hope to do what Christ does.  But trusting that person is something entirely different.  For what reason do many believers mistakenly misapply the seventy-times-seven concept, continually trusting people who obviously cannot be trusted?  Ignorance.

ig·no·rant [ig-ner-uhnt]


  1. lacking knowledge or information as to a particular subject or fact (example – ignorant of quantum physics).
  2. uninformed; unaware.
If someone has repeatedly taken advantage of you, lied to you, or has otherwise broken your trust, what should you do?
  1. Don’t be ignorant about the difference between forgiveness and trust.
  2. Forgive, if you haven’t already.
  3. Ask God to give you direction in setting healthy boundaries that will ultimately benefit both you and the repeat offender.  These boundaries vary, depending on the severity of the offenses.
  4. Never give up hope.  We are all works in progress.
  5. Be aware that God, at some point in the future, might call you to take the emotional risk of trusting once again.

Related: 5 Responses to People Who Piss You Off

  • Mary Vanderplas June 3, 2013 at 5:55 am

    I like what you say by way of clarifying the difference between forgiveness and trust. I agree that unlike forgiveness, which can and should be practiced whether or not the offender has repented, trust requires a demonstrated commitment over time on the part of the offender to be a different person in the relationship. Absent this commitment, there can be no real reconciliation, no rebuilding of the relationship.

    Thanks for the helpful advice. I like what you say about not closing the door on the relationship being healed, about not closing the door on taking the risk of trusting again, though I think that it’s often the case that the relationship, though healed in the sense that animosity and alienation are gone, is not the same as it once was. Acceptance of this reality is, I think, a healthy thing.

  • Stephen Helbig June 3, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Deal GENTLY with the ignorant and misguided, since we also have been beset with weaknesses; We must seek the WISDON from ABOVE concearning these matters (see Alice’s final pont #3). And inddeed as Alice has expressively stated ~ “Be aware that God, at some point in the future, might call you to take the emotional risk of trusting (our offenders) once again.” ~ This is our hope in becoming one in our Lord. ~ Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
    Also another verse of scripture to keep before us is concerning these matters is found in (Galatians 6 :1) ~ Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, RESTORE such a one in a spirit of Gentelness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. (2) Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. (3) For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. (4) But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. (5) FOR EACH ONE WILL BEAR HIS OWN LOAD.

    p.s. ~ I particularly like 🙂 Patrick Strickland”s comment he posted on forgiveness in Guest Blog by John Dean: First Impressions on the Mission Field Posted: 20th May 2013

    ~ (Patrick Strickland says: June 2, 2013 at 1:51 pm) ~ “God demands that we forgive our enemies 70 X 7 for the same thing in one day”…”We need to be reconciled back to God and the way we do that is by asking God for forgiveness this is the beginning of the process of being conciliated back to him. When we ask for forgiveness we are beginning to admit that we need help and are learning to humble ourselves before Him. God has commanded all men to repent and there will be a time that all men get to follow that command…”

    p.s.s. ~ Yes I agree that forgiveness does not equal trust, ~ however ~ The FINAL outcome of God’s Grace will yield both ~ and in this I believe Alice agrees ~ He makes all things Beautiful in His Time ~ Walk in His Wisdom

    • admin June 3, 2013 at 10:25 am

      “The FINAL outcome of God’s Grace will yield both” – yes, I do agree.

  • Patrick Strickland June 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Yea I definitely agree with all of you. You are supposed to forgive but that does not mean you automatically trust the one you have forgiven.

    That would be like forgiving a rattle snake for being a poisonous snake and then picking it up and holding it close to your bosom and then getting bit because it’s fundamental nature has never changed. Forgiveness affects how you act or react towards another but it does not change how they act or from which life source they are living. Many are still living by their flesh man and continue to live from that fallen nature. That does not mean that you want to be close to them because you might get bit, when their natural fleshly carnal nature is seen for what it is.

    Forgiveness allows the love of God that is in you an opportunity to be seen through you towards the person you have forgiven. Without forgiveness then we all know the anger bitterness and resentment that can flow out of our fallen man towards the one who has offended us and the trouble that causes each of us in our relationships towards others.

    Grace and Peace Patrick

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