7 Crucial Helps in Rebuilding Trust in a Relationship

Your friend tells you, “I make 200 grand a year,” but the next day he is asking to borrow money.  You asked him about the 200 grand and he said he was just joking. The next day your friend says, “I can fix any car with any problem,” but then you see him at the auto repair shop in town.  You ask him, “why are you fixing this yourself.”  He says, “I don’t know how.  When I said I could fix any car any problem I was speaking with wishful thinking.”

Next week you ask your friend if he can help you with a project at the house.  He says, “sure!”  However, he never shows up and then you find out on social media that night that he was playing baseball with friends instead.  You ask him about it and he claims he never said that.

 What does lying do to a relationship?  It tears apart the trust of a relationship.  Lack of trust builds rapidly for many people!  Some are better known for lies than they are the truth.  What are you known by among those who know you or are familiar with you?  The believer must be known for what is truth!


Exodus 20:16 declares this helpful and important relationship command —“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”


This command is repeated throughout the Bible:

1.      Eph. 4:15 – “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”


2.      Eph. 4:25 – “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.”


3.      Col. 3:9 – Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;”


The scriptures give examples of those who did not tell the truth…

  • Satan as the serpent in the garden (Gen. 3:1-5)

  • Abram saying Sarai is his sister (Gen. 12)

  • Jacob saying he is Esau (Gen. 27)

  • Ananias and Sapphira claiming to have given more money than they did

    Please consider taking moment to turn to Acts 5:1-11 and read the account of Ananias and Sapphira in the Bible.

Consider the direction & devastation of lying. Acts 5:3 says, “Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost.”

In the autumn months, the leaves fall.  If you rake them up, they will still continue to fall.  Raking the leaves doesn’t get to the source of all the leaves.  The tree will either have to have all the leaves gone or cut down for the leaves to be completely gone.

Or think about the dandelions in the summer…they are not removed by mowing them down.  You have to dig up the roots or spray an agent on them to kill the roots for dandelions to be completely gone.


To take care of lying -- you need to go to the source!  The source is Satan himself!  LYING IS CONNECTED TO SATAN.


  • Lying has its roots in Satan. Satan is the father of lies. (Jn. 8:44) It is God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18; Num. 23:19; I Jn. 2:27).

  • Lying has its reflection in Satan. Satan is a deceiver. (II Cor. 11:14-15)

  • Lying has its readiness in Satan. Satan is always ready for self-preservation at the cost of truth. Remember, Peter said that Satan filled their heart to lie. (Acts 5)


You might be thinking — So, what if I have blown it?  I have lied.  I have been lying. I have lied in what I call a “small way” for years…or I have been lying or lied in what I know is a “big way.” I need to come clean or I have already been caught in the lie…and I need to reestablish trust in a relationship.  What do I do?

First, let me say, praise the Lord — you are looking for good counsel to get back on track! Praise the Lord that you now want to do the right thing and make it right with others. This is a big step. Celebrate this victory!

Second, please know I truly want to help…and so I need to correct one crucial area of terminology. There is no such thing as lying in a “small way.” Lying breaks trust in a relationship. Anytime a relationship begins to be torn apart by our own actions — it is a big deal! It is important we understand that truth and own it.

Consider these 7 Crucial Helps in Rebuilding Trust:

1. Prov. 28:13 - Take ownership of your wrong without casting blame on another person. No one made you lie. Without listing justifying causes, acknowledge your sin of lying (yes, lying is sin…it is a command and disobeying the command is sin). Use the words, “I was wrong, will you please forgive me?” Then repent . Don’t keep on embracing the sinful habit of lying!  Your choice of lying has/is destroying the relationships around you…destroying your reputation and the testimony of Jesus Christ…even destroying your own credibility. So, confess it and turn from it!


2. Prov. 17:28; I Pet. 5:6 - Do NOT supply the person, with whom you are attempting to rebuild trust, a list of reasons why they should trust you!  

o   They have heard enough. 

o   It is time to consistently, genuinely show them

o   “Show them” in your choices involving them AND others

o   If you are found lying to another…but not them… it is a still a big deal to them.  They then believe – “he hasn’t changed at all…” “…if he is lying to that person…I wonder if he/she is still lying to me too!”


3. Prov. 18:13 - Understand where the area of least trust lies in that relationship and ask what you can do to BEGIN to rebuild that trust.  Realize the one you ask may not have an answer for you immediately. They may not even know what to say at that point. Their head (and heart) may still be swirling from the hurt. It will take time. Expect this process to take a lot of time. Also, don’t forget about the Biblical rules for communication! Ephesians 4 talks about being honest, about being quick to make things right (don’t hold onto personal offenses), focus your attentions on attacking the sin problem - not the person, take initiative to choose right even when you think no one will know.


4. Prov. 11:13; 14:22 – Recognize that forgiveness is freely given, but trust is earned.   Forgiveness ought to come quickly…not because you deserve it. Jesus stands ready to forgive us and shower mercy on all those who ask (Psalm 86:5). Some have said, “Why don’t you trust me? I thought you forgave me?” Trust is not an automatic outcome. Trust is earned…it is a gift to be guarded carefully. Trust comes with experience and having demonstrated trustworthiness. You earn trust and respect from others over time with making right choices. 


5. Ps. 27:14 -  Be patient.  It will take time.  The amount of time it takes to rebuild trust is dependent on the person and on the offense. You do not have the right to tell a person when they must trust you again. Rebuilding trust will take longer the more you insist for trust to be regained in a certain time constraint. A delay in the offended person’s heart to give trust again is not necessarily bitterness…it could simply be the well-earned lack of trust.

Of course, with all that said, the offended person needs to trust that God will take care of the wrong and God will (if needed) expose wrong in the future – just like He will do if the offended person does wrong as well! (HELPFUL HINT: if you are the offender, the breaker of trust — do yourself a favor and don’t tell the one with whom you are endeavoring to rebuild trust, that they need to trust God to take care of your wrongs and start trusting you again…that is a work God will do in their heart, in His time.)


6. James 4:10 - Defensive responses only elongate the healing process. Once again, you need to be patient, take care of your side of the wedge of the conflict you created with lies (it usually is more than one lie…covering up the original lie), pray for strength of consistency on your part, and pray for the healing of the offended person’s heart.


7. Luke 16:15; Rom. 16:18 - Manipulation or Intimidation helps you get your way for the short term…but they also cause greater doubt in the relationship for the long term. You may think the relationship is better because you employed your old friends, manipulation and intimidation, to help out. The one who uses these old friends is used to “making things happen,” “fixing problems,” and “doing what it takes to resolve the issue quickly,” …etc…. The reality check is that these two “friends” will destroy the trust and strength of your relationship. There is no quick fix to this trust issue in a relationship. Do you really want to rebuild trust in the relationship you deeply hurt with lies? Kick these “friends” to the curb for good!


In 1899, four journalists from separate news organizations ended up together in a coffee shop.  It was a slow news day and they had no big headline for tomorrow’s newspapers. Desperate for a headline, they decided to come up with a headline of their own making – a lie – and submit it to their separate editors. They were careful to be consistent with the details.  The story decided upon would be about China.  The journalists thought China would never hear about this false news story so far away. After all, it was 1899. Communication systems were nothing close to the computer systems we have today.  Well, one news wire picked up the riveting story and then another …and then China did hear about it and they were ANGRY! This lie was what directed the beginning of the Boxer Rebellion in China! 

There is no such thing as a “small white lie.”  Our words have consequences — for good or for bad. Lying is a big deal. Do all those who know you, know you for truth or for lies? Consider the pathway to rebuild trust in your relationships today.

Author: Gary Holloway

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