I recently participated in a remarkable online conference called, “Renew: the Disclosure, Separation & Divorce Recovery Virtual Summit” hosted by BraveHearts, where I discussed the principles that drive Redemptive Divorce. The conference will go live May 2-11, 2021.
In response to founder Michael Leahy’s questions, I referenced a few articles I thought might be helpful. To make them easier to find for conference participants, I assembled an annotated bibliography of several articles related to betrayal, confrontation, forgiveness, restoration, and the redemptive divorce process.
Helpful Articles on Relationship Restoration
Just because someone has said, “I’m sorry” with tears, he or she may not have repented. Not really. Dr. Bryce Klabunde offers six observable behaviors that accompany genuine repentance.
The lingering pain of betrayal can be confusing and distressing. Does it mean I haven’t forgiven my offender? Not necessarily. Forgiveness is not a feeling; forgiveness is a decision. Understanding the interrelated yet different issues of forgiveness, healing, and trust will bring much needed clarity to the process of relationship restoration.
Everyone has taken a moral tumble. While the damage done to relationships can vary, depending upon the severity of the fallout, the recovery process is not complicated. Difficult, but not complicated. And God has promised that restoration is possible if we take specific actions.
Looking betrayal in the face can be difficult. Too difficult. Sometimes, it feels easier to minimize, rationalize, or excuse sin rather than acknowledge the loss of a trusted relationship. However, the relationship remains doomed until we accept the ugly truth.
What is forgiveness? Author, Neil Anderson, clarifies what God does–and does not–expect from us in response to betrayal.
When we have destroyed a relationship through betrayal, the recovery of that relationship is not within our realm of control. Some make the mistake of trying to influence the choices of the person they have betrayed, hoping to recover the relationship through control or manipulation. Unfortunately, this merely compounds the hurt and drives the offended person further away. What, then, should we do instead?
Conflict is inevitable. Escalation of that conflict is not. Relationships can actually grow stronger if the people involved choose to respond productively rather than destructively.
Confrontation is neither pleasant nor easy, but it’s necessary to bring about genuine repentance. Only then can a couple can begin the process of rebuilding trust and restoring intimacy. Unfortunately, the forgiving party may actually discourage repentance by becoming too eager for reconciliation. For confrontation to achieve the desired outcome, we must stand firm.
A sudden and devastating betrayal can be bewildering. So bewildering, paralysis can set in. Quite often the betrayed person timidly trusts that the best response is no response. Passivity in response to betrayal, however, is the most effective way to destroy any chance of reconciliation. Tough love–real love–is proactive, not passive.
Earnest Christians desperately trying to resolve impossible situations frequently do everything possible to avoid the legal system, usually because they believe that seeking an attorney’s help is somehow wrong. Unfortunately, the sinning spouse is all too willing to use any means necessary to retain control and to preserve his or her pattern of sin. Sooner or later, though, the matter nearly always lands before a judge, who typically hands the short end of justice to the least prepared spouse. And no one suffers more than the children.
Jesus commanded us to be “shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matt. 10:16). Therefore, we must study the divorce process from a legal standpoint and then prepare to stand strong for what is right as we submit to the authority of Scripture.