How Does Forgiveness Relate to Trust?

Excerpt from page 27 of the book, The Forgiving Life by Dr. Robert Enright:

“When you forgive, you do not say, ‘Because I forgive you, I now trust you.’ No. You can forgive and still not trust. If the person is showing you that he or she is a danger to you, then mistrust of his or her behavior is warranted. At the same time, and this is stated specifically to those who have experienced trauma, be careful not to confuse a general mistrust and particular mistrust toward a particular person. In other words, many traumatized people have a pervasive mistrust that needs work. Sometimes the traumatized person meets someone who truly is a good person, reliable, and safe to be with, yet the mistrust from past relationships is so great that he or she just cannot give of oneself in the new relationship. Knowing this and working deliberately on the previous issues of mistrust will help. Forgiveness will help. Time will help. Trust is such a delicate thing and needs work if it will improve.”

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  1. Jazzy says:

    Knowing that forgiveness does not require trust is very helpful. And the point makes sense to me. Thank you.

  2. Nicka says:

    It seems to me that as a person forgives, he makes himself, in a good way, open to the other person. As the other person tries hard and behaves well, trust can be restored. So, it seems to me that the practice of forgiveness can play a part in restored trust.


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