Yesterday I posted about trust . . . it takes years to build . . . and shared ideas on how to build trust with the children, parents, grandparents, and volunteers in your ministry. Today I want to think about how to repair broken trust.
We are people. We are imperfect. We say and do things which hurt others and breaks trust. So, what do we do when we have “broken” trust with someone else? Consider the following . . .
- Be accountable: immediately and sincerely admit what you have done and ask for forgiveness as soon as you realize you have hurt another person. Jesus said in Matthew 5:23, 24 – “So if you are about to place your gift on the altar and remember that someone is angry with you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. Make peace with that person, then come back and offer your gift to God.” (CEV) Far too often – more than we might like to admit – we are careless with our words, we jump to conclusions, and misjudge others. These things can cause great pain. Jesus said when we do this to stop everything and go make peace with the person we offended. Be accountable immediately.
- Do NOT gossip. I found this definition on-line; “The Hebrew word translated ‘gossip’ in the Old Testament is defined as ‘one who reveals secrets, one who goes about as a talebearer or scandal-monger.’ A gossiper is a person who has privileged information about people and proceeds to reveal this information to those who have no business knowing it. Gossip is distinguished from sharing information in two ways:
1. Intent. Gossipers often have the goal of building themselves up by making others look bad and exalting themselves as some kind of repositories of knowledge.
2. The type of information shared. Gossipers speak of the faults and failings of others, or reveal potentially embarrassing or shameful details regarding the lives of others without their knowledge or approval. Even if they mean no harm, it is still gossip.” Proverbs 20:19 says, “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man [or woman] who talks too much.” Look at Proverbs 11:12, 13; “A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” Do NOT gossip. Do not “share” with anyone else what is going on – go to the person and make things right, right away!
- Pray with and for the person. James 5:16 says, “If you have sinned, you should tell each other what you have done. Then you can pray for one another” In Ephesians 5:8-10, Paul said we belong to Jesus, “So act like people of the light and make your light shine. Be good and honest and truthful, as you try to please the Lord.” (CEV) Pray with and for the person – this will help them see you are sincerely sorry and truly want to rebuild and repair the broken trust.
- Do as God does and let love be your guide. In Ephesians 5:1,2 Paul said, “ Do as God does. After all, you are his dear children. Let love be your guide. Christ loved us and offered his life for us as a sacrifice that pleases God.” (CEV) In Ephesians 4, Paul said, “Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace.” And, “Don’t get so angry that you sin. Don’t go to bed angry and don’t give the devil a chance . . . Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don’t yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.” Do as God does and let love be your guide!
It may take forever . . . or at least some time . . . to repair broken trust, but when it comes to your Children’s Ministry, there is nothing more important for you to do when trust has been broken than to do all you can possibly do to repair the broken trust.