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Heart to Heart with Pastor Mike

Dear Pastor Mike: What Should I Do When a Trusted Friend Breaks My Trust?

I recently had a close friend break my trust in a way that left me feeling deeply hurt and confused. We've shared so much over the years, and now I don't know how to move forward. How can I handle this situation that both feels just and faithful?

Sincerely, Betrayed Bill

Dear Betrayed Bill,

First off, let me say I'm genuinely sorry you're going through this. When someone we care about betrays our trust, it cuts deep. I have been there, and so have most of the people around you. But I want to encourage you to remember—there's hope and healing available, even in the midst of this pain. Let’s navigate this together, step by step, grounded in our faith while leaning on God's wisdom.

1. Pray and Reflect

Start by bringing your pain to God in prayer. This is the best place to start. Cry out to God. He’s not distant from your hurt; He cares deeply for you and for justice. Ask Him for wisdom, peace, and guidance in this situation.

James 1:5 reminds us, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

Spend time reflecting on Scriptures that speak to forgiveness, healing, and God’s faithfulness—Ephesians 4:32 and Proverbs 3:5-6 are great places to start. Prayer doesn't change the situation, it changes you.

2. Process Your Emotions

It's vital to acknowledge and process your feelings.

Psychologists often note that unprocessed emotions can lead to long-term mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

It’s okay to feel hurt, angry, or betrayed. These emotions are real and valid. Emotions have a very real impact on your outlook and energy. Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor and expert on vulnerability, says, "

We can only love others as much as we love ourselves."

This means giving yourself the space and grace to feel and heal. Find a trusted mentor, friend or even a pastor like me to talk to; they can offer a listening ear and godly counsel. Venting to someone who understands and cares can be incredibly healing.

3. Communicate Honestly

When you're ready and the situation allows, have an honest conversation with your "friend". Let them know how their actions affected you and others. This isn't about beating them or attacking them but about honestly expressing your hurt in a healthy way. Listening to their side of the story might or might not bring clarity and facilitate healing. It’s essential to approach this conversation with a spirit of humility and a desire for reconciliation, rather than retribution.

It is important to squeeze out the venom that this betrayal has poisoned you with.

4. Choose to Forgive

Forgiveness is tough, especially when the wound is fresh.

Remember, forgiving someone doesn’t mean you're saying what they did was okay. It’s about releasing the hold that anger and bitterness have on your heart. RC Sproul once said,

“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”

Jesus calls us to forgive, as He has forgiven us (Matthew 18:21-22). It’s a process and a choice you might need to make daily.

5. Evaluate the Relationship

Take some time to assess whether reconciliation is possible or wise. Is your friend repentant? Are they willing to work on rebuilding trust? Reconciliation requires effort from both sides. If they are genuinely sorry and committed to change, it might be worth the journey to rebuild. If not, it’s okay to set boundaries to protect your heart. Dr. Henry Cloud, psychologist and author, emphasizes the importance of boundaries in maintaining healthy relationships. He says,

“We change our behavior when the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.”

6. Seek Healing

God promises to bring good out of even the most painful situations (Romans 8:28). Lean into His promises and allow Him to heal your heart. Stay connected with your church community—they can offer support, encouragement, and prayer. Healing often comes through community and the loving care of others. RC Sproul also noted, “We are all theologians. The question is whether what we know about God is true.” Trust in His goodness and His perfect plan for your life.

7. Move Forward

Use this experience as an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth. Learn from it, grow through it, and let it draw you closer to God. While it’s essential to be cautious moving forward, try to remain open to new relationships and trust. God created us for community, and healthy, trusting relationships are a significant part of that.

Betrayed Bill, I know this road isn't easy, but you're not walking it alone. God is with you every step of the way, and His love for you is unchanging. Keep leaning on Him, seeking His wisdom, and trusting in His perfect plan for your life.

God's Love is Always True,

Pastor Mike


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