Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Pain of Betrayal & What to Do About It

Betrayal. What a word. It conjures up images of deception, whispers, behind-the-back conversations, and intent to injure. Have you ever experienced it? Sure you have.

Betrayal can only happen by a friend or loved one. If there is a Judas sitting at your table, he’s close enough to kiss you. Your greatest danger does not come from an enemy – because you know where he/she stands. Your greatest danger comes from the person who is 95% with you – because you can’t see the five-percent that’s working in the dark behind the scenes.

Betrayal is often fueled by envy or jealously. Joseph had his brothers. David had Absalom. Paul had Demas who deserted him and Alexander the coppersmith who “has done me much harm.” Jesus had Judas Iscariot who gave the kiss of betrayal.

What makes betrayal so painful is that it comes from someone who knows your heart – who knows your longings, character, and dreams – and then turns that against you.

All is not bad, though, when betrayal occurs. In church work, or in your friendships, one of the benefits of betrayal is this – YOU DISCOVER WHO YOUR TRUE ALLIES (and friends) ARE. Betrayal separates your friends from the posers and enables you to see what you didn’t see before. You discover who's who by simply watching and observing those who believe the rumors being told about you, and those who do not believe them. When the dust settles, what you have left is a group of people who have STUCK WITH YOU THROUGH THICK and THIN – and that counts for something!

Okay, all that sounds good but it still hurts - right? So what do I do about it now?


1. Don’t fancy yourself a martyr. Yes, betrayal hurts. But Jesus was betrayed by the very guy who managed His money and was murdered by the people He came to save. That puts “poor, poor me” in perspective.

2. Don’t punish the loyal people in your life by becoming stone cold, and holding your relationships at arms length. That’s not fair. Paranoia is not a road to recovery; rather, it leads to collapse.

3. Don't embrace the pain. Move on.
The Puritans used to have a phrase - "Hugging the Pain" - that decsribed people who could never let go. These people defined themselves by their pain, sicknesses, or misfortune. Their very idenity was found in their misery, and they never let go.

4. Don’t miss the blessing of God that is sure to be found in betrayal. Because of betrayal, Joseph was able to save a nation. Because of betrayal, Jesus saved the world. If you walk in integrity and process your pain Biblically, your biggest betrayal could become the delivery system for your greatest blessing. Only God knows what is going to happen next – and it’s bound to be good!

Let’s end on a positive note:

Isaiah 54:17 - No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” says the Lord.