Forgiveness and Trust

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.

From the book, The Forgiving Life, APA Books, 2012.


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Categories: Our Forgiveness Blog, Trust


  1. Boise says:

    This helps me understand forgiveness better. I am willing to have a soft heart toward the one who hurt me, but trust? I don’t think so. He has a long way to go for me to do that. It is good to know that I can go ahead with forgiveness regardless of how untrustworthy he is.

  2. Tesch says:

    I wonder if a person’s trust is very damaged if this gets in the way of completing a forgiveness process. I say this because to forgive is to enter the other person’s world and if trust is damaged, this “entering the other’s world” is probably very scary to try.

  3. Marco says:

    Trust is something I struggle with. I notice that when I have been hurt then my trust takes another hit. It is good to know that forgiveness is still open to me even with damaged trust.

  4. Blane says:

    Damaged trust is itself an offense regarding the one who did the damaging. We need to forgive those who have damaged our trust so that we have a chance, a better chance, with the next person. Trust is vital to good communication and good relationships.


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