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When you search for trust quotes you will find many popular ones. I’ve chosen two quotes to illustrate the best way to repair trust. The first quote is more helpful than the other because it is balanced and therefore more emotionally healthy.
Trust but verify.Ronald Reagan
At first glance, you might think the “verify” part cancels the “trust” part. But, when you verify something, you test it to make sure it is doing what it claims to be doing. The more you test and determine its claims are valid, the more your trust will increase. The opposite is true, too. The more you find that the claims are false, the less you will trust.
The more you verify claims as upheld, the more you will trust. Then, after a certain amount of trust develops, you reach the point where it becomes akward and unnecessary to continue to verify so frequently.
Reputation Can Destroy Trust
Unfortunately, it’s possible to have tested encounters with other people and developed a general lack of trust. Instead of “Trust but verify,” your motto might be “Distrust and always verify” or even “Never trust again.” Broken trust can be so destructive that the people in your life today can pay for the lack of trustworthiness of the people from your past. If this sounds like you, then you might appreciate this second quote:
Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.Unknown
This quote makes a good point (that trust doesn’t automatically repair with only time) but it comes at the cost of being overly pessimistic. More accurate is: Trust requires integrity to build and it can be repaired with repentance. It is relatively easy for two motivated people to restore confidence in each other. It doesn’t have to take forever.
More than likely the person who came up with the forever-to-repair quote is dealing with a person who either refuses to repent or at least isn’t very good at it. If you’ve been burned a lot, trust won’t be easy. Trust shouldn’t be cheap. Trust should be given to people who prove themselves to be trustworthy. Verifying someone is trustworthy keeps them accountable. It’s part of the trust-building process.
A Swing Can Help You Repair Trust
Imagine you are visiting a friend’s house and they invite you to play on their swing. You generally trust your friend, but the swing looks rickety. Do you:
(a) Sit down with your full weight and swing as high as you can?
(b) Refuse to play on the swing?
(c) Attack your friend for suggesting that you use a broken swing?
(d) Gingerly sit down with half your weight?
Depending on your risk tolerance, you might be comfortable with any of the above. However, the best answer, at least with respect to trust, is (d). The other three have definite flaws. (a) could result in a serious injury. (b) communicates distrust and a lack of interest in pursuing trust. (c) communicates disrespect. (d) is superior because it pursues trust but it also attempts to verify your friend’s claims.
Option (d) works best because it is God’s definition of trust. A loving person is always willing to forgive, giving others the benefit of the doubt. That’s possible when the person sees the good, redeeming qualities in the other. Although waiting for a person to get their life in order can be painful and even take a long time, whatever makes them awesome is worth the wait.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
Trusting, or having confidence in another person, means you believe in them and therefore you’re never going to give up on them. Because God is love, this means God will never give up on you! He will keep testing you to improve your integrity (James 1:2-4).
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.