Justin Bieber is Sorry: How to Earn Back Trust

Justin Bieber’s song “Sorry” has been hanging around the top of the charts for weeks and keeps growing in popularity. I gotta say, although I’m no Bieber fan, it’s definitely catchy and this video is fantastic!

Besides… who hasn’t needed to plead with someone to forgive them?! We’ve all felt like we lost someone we cared about because of something we’ve said or done – friend, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a potential boyfriend/girlfriend. But what needs to come after “I’m sorry” in order to regain trust?

If you haven’t yet, give the video a watch.

Sometimes we’re tempted to think about forgiveness as an easy thing, but it isn’t. In reality, forgiveness is really difficult and takes a lot of work. A few weeks ago we wrapped up a series in youth group focused on conflict resolution and forgiveness, those lesson summaries could be helpful if you’re looking to dig deeper into each of the Four G’s summarized below.

Glory God
This is the first step towards forgiveness and conflict resolution simply because we don’t know when conflict is coming and we need to live with a constant attitude of grace. If we are Christians who live with a daily commitment to honor God in all we do, then we should be well prepared to respond to conflict in a way that will end in forgiveness and grace.

Broken Robot Heart.jpegGet the Log Out of Your Own Eye
Next, we need to see how much of this conflict is our fault. Do you cast all the blame on the other person, or are you brave enough to prayerfully consider, “God, show me where I need to change.” At this stage, it would be helpful for you to get away on your own, or maybe with only one or two friends who know you well enough to speak honestly to you about where you might share in the blame for the conflict.

Gently Restore
Remember, the goal here isn’t to “win” the fight… the goal is to restore the relationship. If you are the one at fault, then you need to humbly and honestly admit what you did and then do everything you can do make it right. If you spread a rumor, and then apologize, then you need to do everything you can to kill that rumor and replace it with the truth. Can you really mean it when you say “I’m sorry” if you’re not willing to make it right? On the other hand, if you’re the one who’s been hurt then you need to be honest with the other person about whether or not you’re willing to be restored.

Go Be Reconciled 
This is where it gets more complicated. It’s “easy” to say, “I forgive you.” But what’s that look like? Forgiveness is given, trust is earned… and “forgive and forget” isn’t really biblical. We need to forgive while giving people the opportunity to re-earn our trust. Especially if the offense was serious (abuse, violence, theft, etc.) the relationship might just need to take a break. Maybe the conflict happened because that’s a person you simply shouldn’t be around!

Bieber’s song, “Sorry” is catchy and has a great video. One thing is for sure – saying “sorry” is the start of reconciliation, but more than an apology is needed to regain someone’s trust. Following the steps outlined above will demonstrate that you mean it when you say sorry, and they’ll show that you’re someone who can be trusted.

I’d love to hear stories from you readers about times when you’ve seen relationships restored (and what you think made the difference)! Please share in the comments below.

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