If you are over the age of one, something has probably been unfairly taken from you or done to you. Betrayal robs us of security and leaves us broken and lost. We trust a friend with facts that are soon twisted and grossly displayed for others to dissect. We pledge a covenant with God and man to find that the man doesn’t care to keep his part of the agreement.
Jesus understood the sting of betrayal. He was betrayed to death.
Jesus loved his disciple Judas and shared life-changing moments with him. Unfortunately, Judas surrendered to Satan, betrayed Jesus to his murderers and became one of the most hated humans in history. In John 13:18, Jesus says, “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” Jesus must have been devastated knowing someone He had loved so deeply could betray Him so cheaply. Can you relate?
Interestingly, Jesus calls Judas His “friend” in Matthew 26:50. He wasn’t bitter or angry toward Judas. He showed Him grace. How can we show grace to someone who throws away our trust like trash? The same way Jesus did. Forgive. When we do, we lay down our right to be God and let Him handle our offender.
When we trust people with our hearts only to find that they steal our trust and sell it for free, it can shut us down emotionally. How can we possibly move forward and overcome the devastation of betrayal? Here are six ways to deal with the pain of being betrayed:
It’s easy to rehearse betrayal with ourselves and others. While it’s important to acknowledge and accept that you’ve been betrayed, don’t allow yourself to re-run the scene of the betrayal through your mind more than three times. When tempted, stop and pray. Ask God to remove the thoughts of how you’ve been wronged and all of the emotions that go with those thoughts.
Unfortunately, some do not know what it looks like to be loyal and they repeat hurtful behaviors in all of their relationships. While it does not lessen the pain we feel, we can be aware of patterns in those who betray us and avoid making the same mistakes in future relationships.
This is tough. When someone has betrayed us, our hurting heart does not “feel” like praising the one who hurt us. Identifying and acknowledging positive behavior patterns will yank roots of bitterness out of our lives and allow us to heal from betrayal so that we don’t carry hurt back into that relationship or relationships that follow.
Don’t shut the book. When someone hurts us, we need to find the guts to question why the betrayal occurred. If the deception was deliberate, you will more than likely not get a direct answer from the one who’s betrayed you. Give grace, forgive and learn from the experience. If their betrayal was negligent and they wish to restore the relationship, forgive and extend restoration. Forgiveness does not mean you accept what they did or that the relationship will be restored immediately. Healing takes time. Healing may also occur in different ways and at different levels than you expected. Let God be God and take the lead on how your relationship will be restored.
Express your feelings of disappointment and hurt. Let your offender know you are choosing to give grace if you give the relationship another chance. Refuse to rehearse the offense. Remember, there is no “perfect” relationship because there are no “perfect” people. Trust God to be the vindicator and healer in every area that is damaged.
If a “friend” betrays you and refuses to acknowledge their contribution to the demise of the friendship, then your “friendship” is a one-way street. Friendship is built on honesty. When truth is absent, it’s impossible to nourish a Godly friendship because He is truth and in Him “there is no darkness.” Forgive, but walk away if the foundation of your friendship is built on lies, deception or manipulation. God has better for you. Just like my “friends” on Facebook, I love and forgive them, but I now trust others with my ideas.
If you’ve been betrayed, you can begin again. Forgive your offender, let God heal your heart, then guard your gate. Ask God to bring those who don’t just tolerate you, but celebrate you the way He does.
Photo Credit: @Thinkstock-Viktor_Gladkov
Shannon Perry is an award-winning author, speaker, TV host, and national recording artist. Her fourth and latest book is entitled “Grace and Guts: Strategies for Living a Knock-out Life.” Her weekly TV show, Grace in High Heels, broadcasts into over 100 million homes. She holds a Master’s degree in Education and Counseling and is a Certified Instructor in Parenting Classes and Crisis Counseling. Visit www.ShannonPerry.com for more information.