Two powerful words. Two powerful ideas. Two powerful emotions.
Two things that I struggle with...especially within a specific relationship in my life.
The trust just isn't there. It hasn't just been shattered it's been ground down into sand and blown away. There may be a few grains that remain here and there, but by and large there is no trust.
Words come out of this person's mouth and I do not believe what is said. So many untruths and lies have fallen from those lips that it doesn't occur to me that they might be speaking the truth.
I want to believe them. I want to trust that what they are saying is real. I reach for those grains that are left only to feel them slipping through my fingers as my trust issues come raging forward like a whirlwind to whisk them away.
And then I feel guilty. Guilty because I don't believe them.
Then comes the anger because it's not my fault that they lied. It's not my fault that their actions over years and years and years and years AND YEARS have eroded that trust and their actions continue to sweep away whatever minute amount is left.
There are mitigating factors. Oh yes there are. And I work really hard at viewing those mitigating factors to put things into perspective to help me work towards that second word.
Have I extended forgiveness to them?
I ask myself this question on a regular basis.
If I have forgiven them then shouldn't trust come more easily? Is that trust then restored because of the forgiveness?
I don't know. I don't feel like that is the way it goes down. I truly don't. They haven't changed. I am the one who has changed. Not them. They are still going about their lives exactly as before.
It's kind of a cycle. They tell me something I want to trust them but then things just don't add up. And it's strange how that happens more often than not. Then comes the trust issues, the doubt, the remembrance of all the lies that have been told before, the mitigating circumstances come into play and I try to remember them. I get angry. I get sad. I feel beaten down.
I try to forgive.
But I really don't know if I have.
I often think of the stories of the Prodigal's Son and of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. Both great stories of forgiveness. Wonderful stories. Partial stories. We don't know what happened after the great feast that was held at the return of the son. Did he straighten out his life and stay on to help his father and his brother? Did he work to rebuild that trust that had been broken? Was he truly repentant or was he just saying what his father wanted to hear because he had nowhere else to go? Did Joseph ever truly trust his brothers again? Was he afraid to be around them? Was he able to forgive them completely?
These are questions that I ponder as I struggle with trust and forgiveness.