Summary: Anger at betrayal can is resolved by restorative confrontation.
SENTENCE: The husband of a young woman at the church I pastored years ago had horrible spending habits.
INTRODUCTION: He was a man who seldom worked and always had an excuse for why- none of them was very convincing. He was healthy, capable and jobs were available but none suited his interests. His wife had a good job and supported them both. But, she discovered that he was applying for credit cards without her knowledge, drawing from their bank account and buying things they could not afford.
After several years of heated confrontations over the topic issue, things came to a head. She forced him out of the house and told him not to come back until he got a job and dealt with his spending problems. A few months later he had left she received a legal notice that a lien was being held against her house and she would lose it unless a massive debt she did not even know about was paid off. In time, other unknown bills were coming to her. While he was gone he was creating debt and she was liable for it because she was still married to him. She rightfully felt betrayed. The person that was supposed to provide for her, or at the very least help her, had instead ruined her credit and put her in a very difficult situation.
That feeling of betrayal is something I have seen often over the years. I have seen it in someone who discovers their spouse is having an affair. I have seen it in spouses who have been deceived. I have seen it in people whose spouses committed a criminal felony wreaking havoc on their family. There are also people who are just evil and many of them are married. We can think of drug dealers, Bernie Madoff and other embezzler’s who have cheated people out of their money- all the while married to unknowing spouses.
SENTENCE: What is a person to do in such cases?
TRANSITION: Maybe some of them could have been discovered before the marriage but you don’t want to do background checks on the person you love and we know that some people hide some of their evil traits. Others have become disillusioned in life and change during the marriage so you could not predict their betrayal it anyway. For some, it may be their bad action is the result of a short-term lapse of judgment- but the hurt is still deep.
SAY WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO SAY: Over my lifetime I have seen numerous occasions of betrayal in marriages so I know the problem is real and divorce seems to be the standard contemporary response. So this morning I want to focus on the question, “What can we learn from God about how to handle betrayal in marriage?” We will look at three responses.
What can we learn from God about how to handle betrayal in marriage?
I. God clearly understands the reality of betrayal and rejection.
A. Hosea’s marriage to Gomer symbolizes Israel’s betrayal.
One of the minor prophets of the Old Testament is Hosea. The book opens saying, “ When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” 3 So he married Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.”
God gives an astounding command to Hosea to go and marry a prostitute. The reason, we later learn, is that Hosea’s marriage will illustrate how Gods people, Israel, have betrayed Him and prostituted themselves with other Gods. He wants us to have a clear picture of what Israel, and ourselves, are doing to Him. He wants us to have a sense of what He feels and the book elaborates on this betrayal in poetic detail. The very people He loved, protected and provided for have turned away from Him to false God’s who give them nothing. He is offended and He wants them to grasp what is at stake. He knows what it is to be betrayed.
B. Judas’ shows that greed and disillusionment lead to betrayal. We see the same thing with Judas Iscariot. We are told in Luke 22, “… the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.”