1 Corinthians 6:8 (KJV 1900)
8  Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.

Today was a tough day. A Christian friend and business colleague betrayed a trust. We are not meant to cheat, lie, or do each other wrong. Yet it occurs and we must forgive—not for their sakes, but for ours.

The details of this person’s actions do not matter as much as the lesson. The main point: Actions taken in secret, and then hidden will inevitably be discovered. Such actions without upfront disclosure usually indicate that the person knows the wrong being done or perhaps even worse, sees no wrong in having a “me first” perspective.

Ephesians 5:11–13 (KJV 1900)
11  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

It is inevitable in our lives that circumstances change, priorities shift, and relationships transform because of life stage or situation. When things change, then the right thing to do is speak up, be upfront and communicate with the other person or organization. Do not act without taking into consideration the other party and extending the courtesy of notice and discussion. Your decision may not change, but it will be done in the light, and not darkness to be discovered down the road.

Trust is a precious thing that we give to our friends, family, and business associates. It is one of the most valuable gifts we can give. It is also one of the most fragile.

Our lives are hectic. We have many things to do and places to go. We cannot be all places at once. We cannot do everything ourselves, so giving our trust to another person and relying on that person to act ethically is part of our daily lives. Sometimes the things we entrust someone with or to do are small. Sometimes they are big and impact how we make a living.

As a Christian, I must forgive this person whether the person who has harmed me “deserves” it or not, because God forgives each of us and we cannot by any means or method “deserve” the grace and salvation that comes to us through Christ.

Matthew 6:12 (KJV 1900)
12  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Yet, forgiveness does not mean inaction or allowing bad behavior to continue, especially if the other person sees nothing wrong in his or her actions.

What grieves me most today is the loss of someone I considered a friend. I can deal with the damage a theft of intellectual property or other action can cause. I can deal with, and recover businesswise, from almost anything someone can do. If necessary, with God’s grace and purpose I can start completely from scratch. However, broken trust in a relationship is not easily mended. I cannot recover the same quality of a relationship, even when I forgive. Broken trust requires a lot of work to move beyond and it takes action on both sides of the relationship.

Fallible we all are. Fallen we have been, yet we can be better than that. The temptations of materialism and getting “ahead,” not to mention pressure to pay the bills and more challenge our ability to make the right decisions. Sometimes those we trust make the wrong decision. It may cost us money, but that isn’t the largest cost. The largest cost is the loss of the quality of the relationship and perhaps the entire relationship. Broken trust can be forgiven, but it is not easily forgotten.

 

Author:  Lea A. Strickland, MBA CMA CFM CBM GMC
Copyright ©2012 Lea A. Strickland
All Rights Reserved

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