A Matter of Trust

There’s a well-known story involving Dutch holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom (pictured here) about the power of forgiveness.  Shortly after being freed from a Nazi concentration camp, Corrie spoke about her experience at a church in Munich, Germany.  A former camp guard that Corrie recognized approached her, extended his hand, and asked for her forgiveness.  Corrie struggled at first while she stood face-to-face with one of her former captors.  Finally Corrie shook the man’s hand and in her own words, “I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then.”

A few days ago I experienced a forgiveness test at a revival meeting in the Minneapolis area.  Around the time the preacher talked about forgiving others, I noticed a familiar looking man leaning up against the wall.  It turned out to be my former best friend who I hadn’t seen in over a decade.  “Stephen” betrayed me by getting into an adulterous relationship with my then-wife who had separated from me and subsequently filed for divorce.  Immediately I reminded the Lord I already forgave Stephen but had a feeling I would end up talking to him that night.

After responding to an altar call and doing some “carpet time”, I went to use the bathroom.  Sure enough, Stephen was also in there.  He asked to speak with me and we eventually talked outside the sanctuary for about 10-15 minutes.  After a few minutes passed without him mentioning my ex-wife, I went ahead and told Stephen I had forgiven him for betraying me.  He thanked me but didn’t apologize or say anything that sounded like genuine remorse.  In fact, Stephen said something about contacting my ex-wife’s father again.

Stephen also stated a couple times that he wanted to stay in touch with me through the Internet.  Although I later showed him my web site on my laptop, I didn’t have peace about giving him my email address.  Sometimes boundaries need to be set especially when a professing Christian breaches their trust.  Even Jesus didn’t put blind faith into people.  John 2:24 (NLT) says, “But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew human nature.”

We are to believe the best of every person (1 Corinthians 13:7).  Still it’s unfortunate that a person’s trust built over a lifetime can be broken in a matter of seconds.

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” - Psalm 118:8


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