How To Recover From Betrayal
Betrayal. An abandonment or violation of trust by someone close to you. A husband or wife betrayed by their spouse. An employee passed over for a promised promotion. A secret between friends brought to light for all to see. Betrayal; it happens.
Our typical response to betrayal is anger. We dwell on the circumstances. We seethe over the wrong done to us. We may even want our betrayers to suffer intensely for how they’ve wronged us (at least a little bit!).
It’s worse when it happens in the church. As Christians, we’re supposed be better than that. And when it does happen, there’s the expectation on the person who was betrayed to forgive the betrayer. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.
But if you’ve been betrayed, you’re not alone.
Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus into the hands of the Jewish religious leaders, and the end result was his death on the cross.
I can’t help but think of the last supper, the gang sitting around, eating the Passover meal, and Jesus saying:
“Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” – Matthew 26:21
Judas, his betrayer, replied:
“Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” – Matthew 26:25
It’s often overlooked how Jesus must have felt at that moment. Sure he was God and knew what was going to happen. But Jesus was also human, and he had human emotions. Jesus had invested in Judas. He loved Judas. He cared intensely for Judas. I’m sure he was discouraged, even hurt. After all he had done, and was about to do for Judas, Judas was going to sell him out. Pretty cheaply at that.
What encourages me the most was Jesus gracious response. Not only did he not rake Judas over the coals, he told him: “What you are about to do, do quickly.” (John 13:27).
No judgment. No challenge of “Why?” Not even a snarky comment. Just “go, do what you must do.” That tells us how Jesus responded to betrayal – He chose to rise above the infraction, to pray, to continue on his mission, and to trust God to be his vindicator.
That’s a lesson for all of us, because at some point in our lives we will be betrayed by someone. How can we recover and heal?
- Don’t react. Resist the urge to hit back. That means no texts. No emails. No snarky Instagram posts. Instead – PRAY “Pray for those who hurt you…” (Luke 6:28).
- Don’t dwell on the circumstances. I’ve found that the more I replay a situation in my mind, the more worked up I get over it. Instead dwell on things that are true, noble, right, and pure (Phil 4:8)
- Take your hurt to God. “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.“ (Ps 55:22)
- Ask God to give you the grace to forgive. When Peter asked how many times he had to forgive his brother, Jesus told him 70×7 (Matt 18:22). And, KEEP forgiving. Every time the matter comes to your mind, pray a prayer of forgiveness.
- Trust that God will vindicate you in due season. “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you” (1 Thessalonians 2:6)
Above all, remember that “all things work together for good” in God’s kingdom (Rom 8:28)! Judas betrayal may have been the mother of all betrayals, but God used it to birth the mother of all blessings – salvation!
“We should never forget that redemption, the worlds greatest blessing, was the fruit of the world’s greatest sorrow.” (unknown)