My son, Elijah, broke his leg this week. It was a small fracture, what the doctor called a "Toddler's Fracture," but it required a cast, nonetheless. While listening to the doctor talk about the process of healing over the next three weeks as they wrapped Elijah's leg in a neon green cast, I began to think about other types of breaks and other types of healing.
In a family, one of the greatest breaks that can ever enter the home is not a broken leg or a broken arm, but rather, broken trust.
When trust is broken, the healing process, the road to restoration, is similar to Elijah's journey with his broken leg. So using my son's break as our illustration, let us address the issue of broken trust and learn how to trust again:
Invite others to Minister to you & your Family:
When Elijah broke his leg, the first thing we did was take him to the doctor. There was a break, a great need, and he needed more than just his mom & dad. He needed a doctor. He needed someone who has seen this sort of break before and knows what the road to healing looks like. In the same way, when trust is broken in our homes, we should invite others to walk the road with us. We need those who have been there before; those who have seen reconciliation before. Those who can counsel, encourage, listen, and pray. The journey should not be taken in isolation.
Allow the Gospel to Reach the Root:
The first thing the doctor did when we got there was take xrays of Elijah's leg. He needed to look beneath the surface. He needed to see the root of the break. And this is what our trust breaks need too. When one wrongs another, the act itself is usually a symptom of a greater disease; a weed revealing a deeper root. And since only the Gospel can transform and only Christ can heal, we must allow the Gospel to reach beyond the surface, go deeper than what is easily seen, and touch the root of the problem.
Put Accountability in Place:
I've counseled families through broken trust before. It's tough. It can be heartbreaking. But it's nothing compared to the heartache that comes when the healed couple experiences another break. When trust is broken again, the pain seems to reach even deeper. So the doctor examined the x-rays and put a cast on my son's leg. A strong, firm cast to keep him from causing any further damage and to allow a safe environment where healing can take place. Our families need discipleship and accountability in place that will prevent further damage and equip us with a safe environment where healing can exist.
Understand that Time is Needed:
My son will wear his cast for three weeks. Other breaks require more time, and when trust is broken in the family, time is part of the healing process. And some breaks require more time than others. Forgiveness can come quickly, but restoration often takes more time.
But, surrounded by a community of believers, rooted in the Gospel of Christ, welcoming accountability into their homes, and patiently allowing time to be part of the process, healing can take place, restoration can be found, and we can learn to trust again.
Jonathan Williams is the founder of Gospel Family Ministries. He is also the author of Gospel Family. Jonathan enjoys this ministry alongside his wife, Jessica, and their three children, Gracie, Silas & Elijah. With a heart for families and the church, Jonathan also serves as the pastor of Wilcrest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas.