By Tal Haroni
Our lives are made up of relationships, and these dynamic connections are built over time. One fundamental cornerstone of relationships is trust. The more I trust, the more I open up. Trust develops through shared experiences, whether positive or negative. In any human relationship, there will be challenges, and each party must ask themselves questions: What now? Will this challenge bring us closer or push us apart? Am I willing to confront this trust issue, or is the cost too high?
Think about a close relationship you have now. Have there been trust issues? How did you navigate them? How did you manage to rebuild trust between you and your friend?
As a counselor, I encounter people experiencing trust issues in their lives. Sometimes they need help seeing the other’s perspective. When someone can find compassion, understanding, and forgiveness towards the other person, the relationship can rebuild and even become stronger than before. Rebuilding trust is a matter of choice.
During this time of war, we are experiencing a trust crisis between Arab and Jewish believers. Over the years, we’ve cultivated relationships and engaged in joint initiatives, and then came the trust crisis. The war stirred up old wounds for both of these members of the body of the Messiah, creating tension and disagreements. Then, an Arab church elder told to me, “Nothing can separate when love is genuine.” This statement gave me hope in the early days of the war as I witnessed the suffering of my Arab brothers and sisters while experiencing the pain of my own people. It wasn’t easy, but this statement gave me hope.
Even Jesus experienced betrayal, twice! One crisis of trust led to death, and another led to restoration and growth.
“Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, ‘What you are about to do, do quickly.'” (John 13:26-27)
Judas Iscariot chose to betray Jesus. He made a clear choice to give Jesus into the hands of the Jewish leaders. They couldn’t identify or apprehend Jesus without Judas’ help. He closed the deal, even though he had been with Jesus for three years, ate with him, witnessed miracles performed by him, and probably participated in healing others in the name of Jesus (Mark 6:7-13). Yet, he chose to betray him for a few pieces of silver.
“After Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.” (John 13:30)
Judas’ end was tragic. He realized his betrayal of Jesus, and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned, for I have betrayed innocent blood.” He threw the silver into the temple and went out and hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-5).
I wonder if he had tried to repent, what would have happened? But the disciples thought Jesus’ death was the end, so Judas took his own life. The trust crisis between Jesus and Judas led to a double death – the death of Jesus, which was a part of God’s plan, and the death of Judas Iscariot, who seemingly faced eternal death.
Another trust crisis occurred between Simon Peter and Jesus.
“Peter asked, ‘Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Then Jesus answered, ‘Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.'” (John 13:37-38)
The denial of Peter is mentioned in all the Gospels; each Gospel writer saw the importance of this story. Jesus was already arrested and facing the Sanhedrin trial, and his close disciple, one of the three who witnessed the transfiguration, claimed he didn’t know Jesus. What a pain! After denying him three times, the rooster crowed, and Peter realized he hadn’t been as careful as Jesus warned him. This was the last time the two locked eyes until the resurrection. But Peter didn’t lose faith.
“Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there, and brought Peter in.” (John 18:15-16)
After Jesus’ resurrection, Peter found himself with the disciples. He didn’t lose faith in Jesus as the Messiah or in their relationship. Despite the shame, he chose to move forward.
Jesus saw Peter’s heart and restored their relationship. After the resurrection, he met Peter, performed a miracle, and rebuilt the trust between them (John 21:6-11, 1-19). In the book of Acts, we read about the tremendous change that occurred in Peter’s life. He became one of the most well-known and active apostles. Peter’s relationship with Jesus grew even closer. He bore good fruit in his life and for the Kingdom.
When the good of the Kingdom is in front of us, we can experience restoration, a deepening of relationships, and growth that wouldn’t have been possible without the trust crisis. But if our selfish interests are the motivation in our relationship, we won’t be able to recover from the trust crisis. Are there relationships in your life that need restoration? Have you lost hope that trust can be rebuilt? With God’s help and with our humility, every relationship can be restored. I’m praying that God will help you rebuild any broken relationship, especially relationships with your family members.
The story of the restoration of the relationship between Jesus and Peter gives me hope. We can overcome trust issues between people, friends, and nations. God can and wants to restore the relationship between His Arab and Jewish children who believe in Jesus. Pray with us for a discipleship program focused on rebuilding relationships between Arab and Jewish believers in Jesus. Believe with us that God can strengthen our relationship, provide healing, and show the world that love covers all sins.