Forgiveness - Love - Trust
Posted 30 December 2004 - 03:00 PM
Can we forgive without love?
Can we love without trust?
Does God only call us to forgive and love, but not to trust?
Is trust only given once it has been earned?
If I choose to question/not trust my husband because of past issues, am I being disobdient to God?
How long does it take for trust to be earned?
Posted 31 December 2004 - 06:18 PM
Posted 02 January 2005 - 05:17 PM
[QUOTE]Can we forgive without love?
I think so. Forgiveness is for us, so we don't spend our lives in unproductive anger and resentment. I can forgive the stranger who cuts me off in traffic and drive peacfully on, rather than tail him to get "revenge." I don't love this person, obviously, but I can let go of the irritation; I can "forgive."
Forgiveness is an act of love toward ourselves, imo.
[QUOTE]Can we love without trust?
I think love and trust are intertwined in t hat one reason we love is that we trust the other person. Erosion of trust causes erosion of love. I think we all (if we're reasonably healthy emotionally) have basic trust in others; we don't autimatically assume that another is going to hurt or betray us. If that happens, though, and happens with regularity, we naturally have problems trusting that person. We may still have feelings of love, but I can't help believing, based on my personal experience, that those feelings will be lessened each time trust is betrayed.
I think that what we interpret as "love" is sometimes not really that at all. Rather, it's feelings of dependence, or wishful thinking, or hopefullness. Not that we care nothing for our abusers; it's just that the "love" we feel may not be entirely healthy.
Another thought: we can still love our abusers and set and enforce boundaries. We can love them and separate ourselves from their destructive behavior. Love doesn't mean allow ourselves to be trampled upon.
[/QUOTE]Does God only call us to forgive and love, but not to trust?
I believe that God expects us to use common sense. I f someone betrays us over and over, yet we still expect that person to behave differently, we aren't being realistic. It's human nature to shy away after being burned. In fact, I realized one day that my husband was like a hot stove: I was touching the hot burners over an d over again and being surprised each time I was burned. Why was I so surprised? Like the story about the snake who bit the girl after promising not to, my life with my H was a series of being burned and bitten over and over because I chose to trust someone who was clearly showing me who he was. I just refused to see it.
I once heard a Christian counselor on the radio tell someone to forgive but not forget, because not forgetting would protect her from being hurt again. That makes sense to me.
[/QUOTE]Is trust only given once it has been earned?
As I said earlier, I think most of us begin relationships with trust. But after that, we do, on some level, look for that trust to be validated. An abusive person certainly has to reearn the trust he broke, and skipping to the last question about how long that takes, I think it depends largely on how deeply and how frequently the trust was broken. It takes many many positives to cancel out one negative, according to psychologists. Even when there i s consistent improvemet, the experts I've read recommend a substantial amount of time pass before resuming living together.
[/QUOTE]If I choose to question/not trust my husband because of past issues, am I being disobdient to God?
I'm not sure why, but the words "false sainthood" came to mind when I thought about this question. I think we Christians have this idea of self-sacrifice pounded into us so much that we come to believe that unless we're suffering and sacrificing, we aren't pleasing God. Again, I think God expects us to use common sense and the natural self-preservation instincts he gave us.
One of th e last nails in the coffin for me was the realization that I couldn't trust my husband not to abuse me, despite his pretty words and promises to "try harder." I was burnt everytime I let my guard down, for years and years until I could no longer take the pain. I had to face facts:my H was choosing not to control his behavior; he had no reason to, as long as i continued to give him chance after chance.
I struggled with a significant load of over responsibility that I was making myself carry. I carried the full burden of saving our marriage while he sat back and let me. And why shouldn't he? Abusers typically want the easiest path to getting what they want. they would rather stick forks in their eyes than engage in self-reflection and examination. If I was willing to do all the trying in terms of therapy, reading, talking, etc. he escaped doing any work at all. How many of us here have done everything but read PE's book TO them (and yes, I confess, I tried even that) in our efforts to "help" them see the light?
I finally realized that I was treating my H like he was a helpless child, not a grown man responsible for his own life. If God was going to have chance at penetrating his hard heart, I had to get out of th e way. And if I was going to stop being damaged by abuse, i had to put my trust wher it was deserved, and my H didn't deserve it.
I hope this all makes some sense. As I said, these questions gave me a lot to think about in terms of my own experience and some things I'm going through now. I still wrestle with feeling s of love for my ex and I need to take a hard look at where they are coming from. They aren't based on reality, nor are they based on trust or any indication that our relationship, should it be resumed, would be any different. I haven't seen or talked to him since last summer and when I did I felt nothing. So, I think I'm just lonely..but that's another topic!
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