Please do not misunderstand what I’m saying. It’s not that your behavior doesn’t matter. The kind of person you are becoming is more important than any individual action. You can develop lists and boundaries of the appropriate behaviors that can regain the trust of a spouse or anyone else. However, it is far more important that they see you transforming into a trustworthy person. The crucial issue in rebuilding trust is that you become a trustworthy, that is, Christ-like person.
It can be very liberating to focus on becoming the right kind of person. We trust God, because we believe He is trustworthy. It is not because He did everything as we expected or wanted. The disciple Peter learned to trust God by knowing who He is. Jesus told him that he would have a significant role, and He even spoke of Peter in reference to the rock (Matthew 16). Peter was a leader in the building of the church, although he denied knowing Jesus on three separate occasions. His identity came from Jesus who forgave him and empowered him to change (John 21).
[tweetthis]Rebuilding trust has more to do with being the right kind of person and less with our behavior.[/tweetthis]
The only way we can really find freedom is to know the love of God through Jesus Christ. In Him, we learn of our great worth and the power of His love! Brennan Manning put it this way, “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.” Rebuilding trust isn’t a matter of doing the correct behaviors; rather it is having faith in the grace of God.
Our identity is now found in Jesus Christ. He is the source of our victory. Nothing is more important than realizing what God has done for you in Christ and who you are as His child. Your actions and responses to life’s circumstances are greatly influenced by what you believe about yourself. If you see yourself as a helpless victim of life or Satan, you will be in bondage to lies. But if you see yourself as a dearly loved and accepted child of God, you will find hope to live a pure life.
Is this identity at the center of your life? People use many things to define themselves: their wife, children, career, money, or a number of things. But they will never be enough. With these things at the center, you will become untrustworthy. You won’t be able to avoid it. You were made for an identity, and that identity has already been given to you in Christ. You need to pursue that place where who you are (your identity) is founded in Christ.
This is a place you need to rest knowing that the Heavenly Father’s love you with a deep, inescapable love. He made you, and He knows who you truly are and is waiting for you to trust Him. Making this choice frees you to live life fully. Having accepted this gift of your identity in faith allows you to receive each day as a gift.
Nothing is more important than realizing what God has done for you in Christ and who you are as His child.
What does all of this have to do with lust, pornography, and sexual sin? These behaviors are more than just what destroys trust. These are behaviors we gravitate toward because of broken trust. You may have heard that sexual addiction is an intimacy disorder. This means that our acting out sexually is basically a relational breakdown. We fail to experience the trust and satisfaction of a real relationship, so we give into the base promises of false ones.
You know very well that trust takes time and hard work. The most reliable and lasting way to rebuild trust is to know yourself in relationship to God. When we don’t trust Him, we run. It is then that various forms of sexuality stand ready to receive us and offer us a false sense of intimacy, worth, and victory. But none of this lasts. St. Augustine put it well, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in you.”