Without question, one of the most difficult parts of recovering from intimate betrayal is learning how and when to start allowing trust to be rebuilt. This becomes especially difficult when there have been multiple betrayals strung out over long periods of time, with periods of believed sobriety in between. How can we ever know what’s true when life has been one huge lie after another? How can we ever believe that the evidences of change are real this time when they’ve been nothing more than a mirage so many times before? While things are going very well for us right now, I’d be lying if I said this isn’t still a huge (HUGE) struggle for me. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 13 that love always trusts; and the life of a Christian is supposed to be defined by love, so, it’s vital that I learn how to find truth and who, what, why, when, and how to trust.
Who to Trust?
I had a dream several months ago that I had died and to my dismay, found myself in hell. The receptionist (I guess hell is run like a Doctor’s office in my subconscious?) informed me that I would need to report to her office at the same time each day at which point I would have to ride an elevator down to Satan’s office. At that point Satan would have one hour to do whatever he pleased to me and then I would be free to leave and do whatever I wanted the rest of the time. As I stepped onto the elevator for my first trip down to Satan’s pit I was thinking, “Well this isn’t so bad, seems pretty similar to life – and I survived that.” Then the elevator started moving. It moved just a little faster than me so that the floor of the elevator was about 2 inches below my feet the whole time. Of course, this made it feel like I was falling out of control, and as it took off I began desperately grasping about for something to hold onto – but there was nothing. The secretary’s feet (she was accompanying me for this first trip) were somehow able to stay firmly planted on the floor, and when I looked at her in desperation she just smirked at me – clearly amused by my horror. The elevator fell and fell for what seemed like hours. It was absolutely terrifying! I remember thinking that the feeling of falling and having nothing to hold on to was so familiar, but far more petrifying when it was a literal fall. I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to do it every day for all of eternity – this really was hell!
Of course, this was just a dream, but when I woke up I remember still feeling that sinking, falling feeling in my stomach. I realized that it was very much how I felt about our relationship at the time: As if I was stuck in this situation that was out of my control, and no matter how I scrambled, I just couldn’t find anything to cling to that would give me a firm footing. Then I remembered TRUTH:
Psalms 125:1 – Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they will not be defeated but will endure forever.
Hebrews 6:18-19 – So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to Him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls…
I DID have something solid beneath my feet. I was standing upon the firm foundation of Jesus Christ – my solid Rock. No matter how out of hand my life felt, my God was still in control; my soul securely anchored to the hope that is found in knowing that He is Truth. No matter how untrustworthy my husband had become, God could still be trusted. As I had so many times before, I cried out to Him and asked Him to give me peace; His peace, that passes all understanding. And like the good Father that He is, He gave it freely. Now, each time I find myself wondering, “Who should I trust?” The simple answer is always this: Trust God alone.
What to Trust?
If you’ve ever loved an addict, you know that a tactic often used to minimize bad behavior is something called gaslighting. More or less, the addict manipulates facts in a way that makes us feel like we’re the ones who are crazy. This often manifests in the form of convincing us that we’ve created drama out of a situation that they insist is nothing even close to what we’ve made it out to be. For us, this was often around the idea of telling the truth. I would try to convey what a big deal the lying was; not just to me, but to God. I was genuinely concerned for his soul. But he would act like I was over-reacting. Like I was putting words in God’s mouth by making it into such a big deal. This is when it was so important for me to know what the Bible says, and why it can be trusted.
John 17:17 – Make them holy by Your truth; teach them Your Word, which is Truth.
Psalms 111:7-8 – All He does is just and good, and all His commands are trustworthy. They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.
Psalms 19:7 – The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple
The Bible makes it perfectly clear that its words are true – completely trustworthy. It also makes it clear that we are to hold firmly to its commands. If the Bible says that something is a big deal, it’s a big deal. Period. If the Bible demands obedience in any area, nothing less should ever be acceptable! We are called to a life of integrity! Fortunately, I did trust in the truth of Scripture and I had plenty of verses to back up what I was saying; so, the gaslighting tactic didn’t work too well in this particular case. God takes lying very seriously. It’s a very big deal to Him.
Proverbs 12:22 – The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in those who tell the truth.
Revelation 21:8 – But cowards, unbelievers, the corrupt, murderers, the immoral, those who practice witchcraft, idol worshipers, and all liars – their fate is in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
Proverbs 19:9 – A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed.
Proverbs 19:22 – Loyalty makes a person prosperous. It is better to be poor than dishonest.
John 8:44 – For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
So, what can I trust? I can always, always, ALWAYS trust the Word of God. It is Truth. I can know that God hates lies and will not tolerate them. I can believe that He desires truth as much as (probably more than) I do. So, when He reveals truths to me, I can trust those truths.
Why to Trust
In the book, Your Sexually Addicted Spouse, the authors discuss how being married to a sex addict often causes a PTSD-like anxiety disorder. Much of this trauma is caused by that state of constant uncertainty – never knowing what’s true and what isn’t. It will literally drive a person crazy! Our minds become stuck in a constant state of fight-or-flight which often results in a “freeze” state. We lose the ability to discern reality from fear, truth from lies, and what can be substantiated from what we imagine. Life becomes a waking nightmare. For this reason, it is so important that we learn why the truths that God will reveal to us can and should be trusted.
Luke 8:17 – For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.
Jeremiah 33:2-3 – This is what the Lord says – the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord: Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.
Luke 12:2-3 – The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear! Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, He’s the One to fear.
Proverbs 17: 3-4 – Fire tests the purity of gold, but the Lord tests the heart. Wrongdoers eagerly listen to gossip; liars pay close attention to slander.
Why can I trust God? Because the truth matters to Him! He is the One who can see our hearts. He is the One who knows all truth. And He is the One who will bring what is hidden out into the open for all to see. Not only can I trust that what He reveals is true, I can cry out to Him in my desperation and ask Him to act on my behalf. I can pray these verses over my situation and then wait on God to show me what’s true. He comes through without fail! It’s not always in the timing that I hoped for, and it’s certainly not always what I wanted the truth to be! But it’s always, always, ALWAYS right. Why can I trust? Because God is trustworthy!
When to Trust?
Of course, when true recovery is happening, eventually, trust needs to be restored to the marriage. I’ll be honest, I’m not far enough into this to be able to tell you what that will look like. I know that even then, my real faith needs to stay in Christ alone. I don’t think I’ll ever be depending on my husband; but rather, I’ll be believing that as God shows me that my love is being trustworthy, I’ll find the confidence to believe that as truth. The question then becomes, what does trustworthy look like?
Proverbs 13:5-6 – The godly hate lies; the wicked cause shame and disgrace. Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin.
John 3:20 & 21 – All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.
A person who is trustworthy is a person who is willingly coming into the light. A person who is trustworthy won’t get defensive when asked questions, but will instead volunteer information without even having to be asked. A person who is trustworthy will be placing himself in submission to God and to the Biblical council of others. A person who is trustworthy will make the verse below the cry of his heart, and it will be obvious to all.
When should I trust that our marriage is finally being built upon a foundation of truth? When should I believe that my husband is worthy of my trust? When his heart consistently reflects the heart of God, which will spill over into everything he does! While I am seeing significant evidence of that already, if somehow that day never comes, then I can trust that I will know because God will do this instead:
Romans 1:24-26 – So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires.
How to Trust?
Honestly the biggest obstacle to trust right now, is me! I’m still scared to death to let myself be vulnerable again. Even though my love is doing so well, I’ve thought that so many times before. On days when I’m trusting God, and keeping my heart focused on truths, it’s obvious that this time is nothing like the others. This time he is a whole different person. Everything changed! But it’s really, really hard to stay focused on that you guys! I’m a regular person and I’ve been deeply hurt. I want to be this shining light for Jesus, and get it all right, all the time, for His glory. But trusting God when life has hurt so bad is HARD! How can I let go of that stubborn instinct to protect myself and instead willingly place my heart into the hands of my Lord? I’m still figuring that out. But I can allow these verses to get me started and I can pray with all my heart, asking God to help me. Won’t you join me?
John 14:15-18 – If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans – I will come to you.
1 Corinthians 2:10-12 – But it was to us that God revealed these things by His Spirit. For His Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
Daniel 2:20-23 – He said, “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for He has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though He is surrounded by light. I thank and praise You, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of You and revealed to us what the king demanded.”
James 1:5-6 – If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waiver, for a person with divided loyalties is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank-you God, that You can be trusted! Thank-you that you are Truth! Thank-you that we can know Your will through Your Word! Thank-you that You are a God who cares about truth, who knows truth, and who reveals truth! Please help me to trust You! You know my heart, Lord. You see what’s hidden in secret, deep inside there. You know that I’m scared to death. I’m sorry for not trusting You enough to let go of that fear. You’ve been so faithful in revealing to me what I needed to know, when I needed to know it. Help me to remember that, and trust Your perfect timing. If there are things being hidden that I need to know, please show that to me God; and give me the strength to face it, and the wisdom to know what You want me to do next. But if things really are as right as they seem right now, give me the strength to believe it; and that peace that can come only from You. God, I’m trusting You, and You alone as we move forward. Protect me Daddy. I love you. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.”