The Faithful Pacesetters

Learning leadership from those who led in the Bible

What Does a Leader Do With Broken Trust?

Bible Character:  Joseph (Genesis 37)

Trust could possibly be the most important part of any relationship.  Joseph’s brothers betrayed his trust in a large way.   By throwing him into a hole and then selling him to the Egyptians, Joseph’s feelings of betrayal had to be strong.

As you may know, Joseph’s brothers reappeared in his life many years later, but he did not freely give trust back to them.

What can we learn from Joseph?

  1. He did not give up on his brothers.  This is a tough one for leaders, when is enough….enough?  There is no clear answer, sometimes we have to part ways, but Joseph chose to try again.
  2. He tested them.  He did not just quickly let them back close to his heart; he made them earn his trust back.  In our current society, many think that they are entitled to trust, instead of earning it, even after breaking it!
  3. Joseph did not take revenge on his brothers.  Most of us don’t take revenge either, but sometimes we work in more subtle ways, and continue to hold that broken trust over the people we lead on a daily basis.

If a leader is going to have a well-functioning team they will need to be able to get the team to work through feelings in a positive way.  If we don’t know how to work through resentment ourselves, we won’t be able to help others.

Joseph had risen to the top of leadership in Egypt by the time he was re-united with his brothers.  They needed Joseph to survive, because he controlled all of the grain in Egypt during the seven years of famine.  It was not easy, but Joseph was able to reestablish his trust, and move forward with his family.



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4 thoughts on “What Does a Leader Do With Broken Trust?

  1. Great insight by the author on entitlement of trust, many people think that their positions in life give them this entitlement as a politician, educators, etc. Trust as well as respect is earned through time and developing a relationship. This is at the very core of following Christ, the longer we follow Him and trust Him the greater the love He instills in us for Him, which deepens our faith due to this trust.

  2. “the longer we follow Him and trust Him the greater love He instills in us”

    I think this can be applied to other relationships too, that is why it is so important.


  3. Jeff,
    This is an area of many struggles for many people. Forgiveness and trust get interconnected and blurrs many of our attitudes and actions. It truly takes an intervention from God to help each of us through such difficult times. Joseph certainly displayed an awesome example of Gods love and grace.

  4. Good point Roland. Forgiveness is really a crucial part of working through broken trust. Truly moving past the infraction is something all of us need help with.


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