Welcome to the first instillation of the Independent’s new Sunday column, “Southern Utah Spiritual Round Table.” This is a project that I’ve wanted to start for over a year now, so it’s exciting to see it finally happening.
Every week, a group of four southern Utah spiritual leaders pulled from the Interfaith Counsel will answer a question. That way you get multiple perspectives and potential answers to mull over in regards to the question of the week.
This week’s question is “What should I do when someone close to me betrays my trust?”
From Community of Christ pastor Emily Rose
The betrayal of trust can be a very painful experience, especially depending on the nature of that betrayal. Without knowing the fullness of the situation, I can still offer principles of relationship that are upheld in Community of Christ.
One of the sacred texts in Community of Christ is the Doctrine and Covenants, and in a recent passage that was added in 2010, we were given this counsel: “As revealed in Christ, God, the Creator of all, ultimately is concerned about behaviors and relationships that uphold the worth and giftedness of all people and that protect the most vulnerable. Such relationships are to be rooted in the principles of Christ-like love, mutual respect, responsibility, justice, covenant, and faithfulness, against which there is no law” (D&C 164:6a).
These words of counsel came to us specifically when we were working toward full inclusion of LGBTQIA individuals in both priesthood and the sacrament of marriage, but the principles apply to all relationships. We seek to be grounded in Christ-like love, mutual respect, responsibility, justice, covenant, and faithfulness. When trust is broken, these principles can be guideposts along the road to reconciliation.
When someone close to you betrays your trust, I would recommend vulnerability and honesty in conversation about it. Open, mutual conversation is essential for healing. Sometimes healing can take many forms. In some cases, healing of the relationship can bring a deeper and stronger bond. In other cases, effective boundaries between both parties are key, and healing can take place separately.
Community of Christ also upholds a priesthood structure that offers different kinds of blessings in times of crisis or stress. One such priesthood office is that of teacher. In Community of Christ, teachers “represent Christ primarily as ministers of presence who model Jesus as Peacemaker through interpersonal (one-to-one) reconciliation and peacemaking. [They] especially proclaim and promote the Worth of All Persons and create an environment that is ready to listen and slow to criticize with individuals and in congregations.” In a case of betrayal of trust, it might be helpful to invite a teacher to be a third party of reconciliation and peacemaking.
From Free Spirit Community spiritual leader Cynthia Cashin
That is a very difficult situation to be in, and I truly feel for you.
One of the first things I believe you should do is to allow yourself time to grieve. Yes, you are experiencing grief and loss — the loss of the aspect of your relationship with this person that allowed you to trust, your innocence in this relationship and with this person. Be very gentle with yourself, and allow yourself to absorb the shock and grief you are naturally feeling.
Forgive yourself and them. You may be tempted to feel, “How could I have been so stupid?” or “How could I not see what they were really like?” Forgive yourself for your belief that your innocence, your trust and your vulnerability were misplaced. You allowed yourself to love or care for this person and that is strength and a blessing, so forgive yourself.
Forgive them for their breach of your trust, as when you forgive them you do so for your own peace of mind. Do not become bitter and close your heart, for giving and receiving love is the most important experience in our lives.
Do not seek revenge or retaliate, as this will break your own trust in yourself. Two wrongs never make a right.
Re-evaluate your relationship with this person. Reset, or set for the first time, healthy boundaries. Your relationship with them has changed. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. This does not mean you can’t have a relationship with them, but do not be in denial or make excuses for their behavior as that enables a dysfunctional relationship.
If you decide to continue to be in a relationship with them, determine the extent of the relationship you want and the boundaries you need to establish to ensure the relationship is a healthy one. Then communicate that with them clearly as to what is acceptable and not acceptable to you, and follow through with this practice for your own self-respect and peace of mind. You can grow stronger through this experience and still maintain an open heart.
From Unity Center of Positive Living’s Carmella Fitzpatrick
Breathe! Honor your feelings of betrayal. Take a walk to contemplate this situation. Begin to ask yourself some questions in order to explore what happened. Could it be this person did not realize that this was a trust to not be exploited? Often people only look from their own nose.
I’m not sure what this trust was, so let me explain a bit. For example, if you told someone close something that you knew would hurt them when they got to work or ran into someone who was going to do something, yet wanted them to know so they wouldn’t be hurt or blunder more. It might be natural to assume they would honor what you told them to be confidential. Not everyone, though, even close ones, consider this, and sometimes feel they are now privy to this information because you are their backbone force and feel they can explode this newfound information in a way where they can be self-righteous about it not realizing that they have now put you in an uncomfortable situation. Sometimes, this is why people are where they are, though, and may want to then reconsider how to approach this again.
Or if it truly was some private information about yourself. Did you make it clear this was private? Again, people look from their own nose of experience, and even though you may be close to them, they may not always be as thoughtful as you may have hoped to your feelings and may not have considered the consequences of blah, blah, blah. If so, then consider a way to speak with this person in a way where they can understand how they hurt you where it won’t be an emotional explosion.
If none of the above is the case, then it may be time to realize that this is a lesson learned, and no matter how close you may be to this person, they obviously are not spiritually evolved enough to consider the consequences of their actions and can no longer be privy to such a trust.
Jesus said to forgive 70 times seven. He did not mean you were meant to walk off and recite a mantra of “I forgive” 70 times seven times to brainwash yourself. It is meant to be where you take a walk, and consider the ways to forgive … I forgive myself for assuming … I forgive this person for their foolishness … I forgive myself for being so foolish … I forgive because I care for myself … and this person … I forgive, because I have learned from this situation who now to trust … etc. till finally you are at peace. Blessings be to you.