Summary: When we think of betrayal we think of people like Benedict Arnold who betrayed George Washington. We think of a spy or double agent. We understand the feelings that come with someone betraying us. It’s an emotional let down. When we’re betrayed we’re hurt
INTRODUCTION: When we think of betrayal we think of people like Benedict Arnold who betrayed George Washington. We think of a spy or double agent. We might think of reality shows like “Survivor” or “The Mole”. We’ve all experienced it on some level. We understand the feelings that come with someone betraying us. It’s an emotional let down. When we’re betrayed we’re hurt, depressed and angry. We wonder why this person did this to us. We sometimes turn it back on ourselves thinking, ‘what’s wrong with me that this person did this to me?’ This can make us feel insignificant and unimportant which lowers our self esteem. But what if it’s the other way around and we are the ones who are doing the betraying? Let’s look at both scenarios and see what we can do about them.
1) How can I heal from being betrayed?
• Take it to the Lord. Psalm 55:1-8, 12-23. David was betrayed by someone very close to him. Sometimes that’s the way it works. The one who betrays us is the one who we trusted the most. We don’t expect it from those who are closest to us. David was hurt but instead of handling it the wrong way through anger or developing a devious plan of revenge he went to the Lord about it. He expressed himself. He was real and transparent about how it made him feel. But David trusted in God’s ability so he was able to leave the matter in the Lord’s capable hands. When we are dealing with betrayal we can be like David and bring our thoughts and emotions to the Lord. And if we’re going to overcome betrayal we need to leave the matter at the throne of the Lord and let him deal with it.
• Handle it like Jesus. Where the bible is concerned, when we think of betrayal we probably think of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. The chief priests wanted Jesus. They were plotting to arrest and kill him when there wouldn’t be a crowd around. Judas helped them out by going to them and making a deal to hand Jesus over to them. Let’s see how Jesus dealt with it. John 13:1-17. How could Jesus wash the feet of the one who would betray him? Because his faithfulness did not depend on someone else’s. He was going to stay true to the Father’s will even if everyone else deserted him (which they later did at his arrest). Jesus was putting into practice the ‘love your enemy’ command. He was putting into practice the ‘bless those that persecute you’ command. He was even going beyond ‘love your enemy’. He was loving the friend who would become his enemy. If we are going to be able to overcome the pain of betrayal we need to handle it like Jesus did.
• Don’t seek revenge. Our natural tendency might be to seek revenge and hurt them worse. But we need to follow the example of David. In 2nd Samuel, we read about David being betrayed by his own son, Absalom. Absalom wanted to be king so he mustered some men and forced David to battle. Even though Absalom was against his father and wanted his throne, even though David knew his own flesh and blood sought to take his very life, he ordered his men to be gentle with Absalom. And when word came to him about Absalom’s death, he didn’t respond with, ‘well, serves him right for what he did to me’. No, he instead wept bitterly. David was also betrayed by King Saul. In 1st Samuel, David rescued Saul and his army from the Philistines when he killed Goliath. David was loyal to Saul but Saul was jealous of David so he tried numerous times to kill him. He would often subside and promise not to go after David but eventually he would go back on his word and pursue him again. On two separate occasions, David had the opportunity to take Saul out, but instead he showed mercy. David had opportunities to get back at the ones who betrayed him but instead of doing that, he showed them love. We can show our betrayer love when we show them forgiveness. That’s not easy because typically if we can get past not seeking revenge we will still vow to never forgive them. The hurt is deep, causing resentment to take root. We can’t forgive them for what they’ve done. But we need to remember that forgiveness doesn’t mean we have okayed what they’ve done. It’s not us letting them off the hook; it’s letting us off the hook. We are able to move forward when we can forgive our betrayer. But that doesn’t mean things automatically go back to the way they were. The damage caused can change the course of the relationship; it might even sever it. But, I don’t have to hold onto the hurt feelings and emotional pain caused by the betrayal. I can get past it by not seeking revenge and actually forgiving the person.