Psalm 55:12-15; Jeremiah 20:10; Psalm 55:13-14
Have you ever experienced an abandonment or violation of trust by someone close to you? A husband betrayed by his wife. An employee passed over for a promotion by an employer who had promised it. A secret between friends brought to light for all to see. A promise made to a child so easily broken by a parent. How do we deal with that inevitable betrayal that will affect us in our everyday lives?
Betrayal leaves us at a fork in the road. Faith or doubt. In certain circumstances we can’t even tell doubt and faith apart, or we may feel consumed by both at the same time.
I was rejected and abandoned by someone very close to me, someone I trusted closely with secrets, struggles, and victories in life. The pain of the betrayal was intense, and I longed to be understood by colleagues and others close to me. A painstaking experience, betrayal is felt by all in time. But whether we remain trapped in the emotions of betrayal or we break through its barriers becomes our choice. Personally, these are choices I am making…
- I trust the people in my life fully; I have faith that they act with respect and genuine intentions towards me.
- I am free from the wrongdoings of others; I am unaffected by their behavior.
- I trust in the good will of others and I know that kindness will prevail.
Betrayed by a Friend
Matthew 26:14-16; Psalm 55:15; Jeremiah 20:11
Betrayal by a close friend is devastating. It produces a feeling of worthlessness for having trusted an untrustworthy person. It foments anger and depression. It raises questions about our judgment. Because of the intimate friend’s knowledge of our situation, such betrayal has great potential for further damage.
We often respond to abandonment or betrayal in anger, by dwelling on the circumstances. We often seek to get even or make our betrayers suffer intensely for how they’ve wronged us. Through Jesus’ example, though, we see a proper model of how to handle betrayal.
Jesus understands all that we encounter and are tempted with yet did not sin in his own temptations. He pressed on to the task that he was called to by the Father.
Though Jesus’ internal struggle with Judas’ betrayal is not recorded, we can assume that it was difficult for him emotionally. We know that he instructed Judas to do what he’d set his mind to. He didn’t stop him or throw a fit. We also know that Jesus responded to Judas graciously. He washed the feet of the one who would betray him, he framed his response to Judas’ betrayal with kindness and graciousness.
If we have been betrayed by someone close to us—and eventually we all will—our first response should be to cry out to Jesus who loves us, pursues us, and intimately understands the reality of that betrayal.
Matthew 6:14, Matthew 6:15; Mark 11:25; 1 John 4:20
Can we do better, even in the extremity of betrayal by a friend?
We can perhaps not rid ourselves of our negative emotions, but we can keep in mind that revenge is counterproductive.
The word “forgiveness” in New Testament Greek means to “let go” — not necessarily to have a change of emotion. If we can let go of such experiences we can move beyond our betrayal.
Have you ever heard these words before?
- Help me, Lord God, to let go of the hurts that have come my way. Amen.
- “Forgive them? I can’t. “
- “They make me so mad.”
- “You just don’t know what they did to me.”
Forgiveness is hard to do, but with God’s help, we can forgive.
The definition of forgive is to pardon or excuse. It means that we no longer blame others or are angry at those who did us wrong.
God tells us that forgiveness is not an option if we want God to forgive us. We are not perfect; we all make mistakes. We will not all agree on everything all the time. We must understand that and learn to forgive those who intentionally or unintentionally hurt us. Yes, we may have a moment of anger, but we must not become slaves to anger. We need to repent for harboring bad feelings against others so that we can be set free.
Honesty and Humility
1 Samuel 16:7; Psalm 51:10; John 18:28-19:16
The Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 16:7 that the Lord looks at the heart. What does He see when He looks at our hearts? We want to have clean hearts and hands when we stand before God. Look at what the psalmist David said: “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10, KJV).
So, what must we do? Colossians 3:12 tells us to “clothe yourselves with compassion.” Philippians 2:4 says to “not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others.” Galatians 6:2 instructs us to “carry each other’s burdens.”
Ephesians 4:32 declares, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The lines are drawn. The Word is clear. We must forgive! While we must be honest, we must be humble as well. No matter the offense, no matter how much pain we feel, we must forgive. We can’t take revenge or even gloat when our enemy falls (Romans 12:19-21; Proverbs 24:17).
Let’s ask God to fill us with His love for those who have offended us. Let’s learn to walk in love and peace, honesty and humility. We will be glad we did.
God meant it for Good
We remember the poignant meeting between Joseph and his brothers, when the brothers feared recriminations from their powerful brother for the treachery they had committed against him. But Joseph saw a remarkable concurrence at work between proximate and remote intentions. He said, ” You meant it for evil; God meant it for good.”
The divine intention was the exact opposite of the human intention. Joseph’s brothers had one goal; God had a different one.
The amazing truth here is that the remote purpose was served by the proximate one. This does not diminish the culpability of the brothers. Their intent and their actions were evil. Yet it seemed good to God to let it happen that His purpose might be fulfilled.