Forgiven but not trusted

Straight Talk

The Question

I recently had to ask an intercessor for the dance ministry I lead to step down. There were some issues of rebellion and separate agendas from the vision that God gave me for this ministry. Our pastor has fully supported my decision. This has been an ongoing conflict and I have continued to forgive and give her second chances. Where do I go from here? She is forgiven but not trusted. I have known this sister in the Lord for 20 years.

SR from Unknown City

The Answer
Part 1: Love is a given, trust isn’t

Love is a given, trust isn’t (Part 1)

I find no fault with the way you have handled a sensitive and delicate situation. In fact, I salute you. Even though you have known this sister for many years you did not look the other way to avoid conflict. You held true to the vision God has given you for the ministry. You sought the pastor’s support and he gave it to you. Hopefully you asked the woman to step down lovingly by being both direct and gentle.

The real problem is on her end and that causes further problems on your end. She probably feels humiliated, embarrassed, and has hurt pride. That prompts her to attempt to justify herself. Am I right? She may do this by soliciting support from others either directly by criticizing you behind your back or in more passive ways if she is prone to manipulation.

You say she is “forgiven but not trusted.” I think you are wise to forgive her and yet be wary going forward. In a certain sense, there is nothing more for you to do. It is she who has real work ahead and time will tell if she is willing to take correction and grow from it. The Bible tells us to “love” under all circumstances but we don’t have to trust everyone at all times. In fact we shouldn’t. Trust is earned. When trust has been broken it may take much time to repair and rebuild.

Where do you go from here? Take the high road. Treat her with courtesy and warmth no matter what you know she has said or done behind your back. Never bad mouth her or discuss the issues behind her back. Pray for her that God will use this difficult circumstance to promote her spiritual growth so that someday she will say to herself, “Wow, that was tough but it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.”

Now you can move forward in freedom. Remember, God has something in mind for your spiritual growth too. You are growing in maturity. He knows he can trust you with his ministry and that you will esteem him over men. If you handle this well you may be like the servant who handled his “talents” well (see Matthew 25:14-30) and has even more of them put into his hand.

“For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance.” (Matthew 25:29) I wish that great abundance for you and your dance ministry.