It is bad enough when a stranger or enemy betrays you, but when it is someone you believed to be a close and trusted friend, partner, or spouse, it is especially hurtful. It might feel like you were taken advantage of, deceived, humiliated, despised, cheated, or stabbed in the back. Oftentimes it comes as a surprise. That is why it is so painful. You would not expect to be hurt so badly from someone you thought you could trust. So you are left in disbelief and unbelievable pain.
In Psalm 55 King David deals with what can be one of the more painful experiences that people endure in life. David is dealing with the betrayal of a close friend. But David has not been betrayed by just any close friend, but by someone “with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God” (Psalm 55:14). It is an extremely emotionally painful experience to have someone with whom you put your trust break that trust and turn against you. It is even more painful when it is one of our brothers or sisters in Christ who breaks this trust. David has been betrayed by another child of God, with whom he had shared worshipping the Lord.
Just as David, anyone who has experienced betrayal in a relationship knows how difficult it is to recover from such an experience. The person you thought you could trust and count on is no longer the person you believed them to be. So you wonder what happened. Were you just wrong about them all along or did something change? Maybe your relationship changed and so did their loyalty to you. Maybe something in either or both of your lives has changed and they became insensitive to you. Or, maybe you both grew apart and in different directions.
There are many reasons that cause people to betray one another. Sometimes they are very deliberate and intended to hurt the other person. And sometimes they are consequences of choices that are made with no intention of doing any harm to anyone. Looking out for one’s own best interests can cause some people to disregard relationships they once valued. They may feel the relationship is in the way or not as important anymore. Feelings change. And as feelings change so do one’s actions and choices. An individual that feels their needs are not being met in a relationship might feel that the relationship is no longer important or worth investing in. Therefore, they might seek to get their needs met elsewhere. This changes the relationship. Eventually, it grows apart and opportunities for betrayal emerge.
When you're hurt by someone you love and trust, you might become angry, sad or confused. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance and hostility can take root. If you allow negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice.
Betrayal is a destructive force that leaves many ruins in its path. Betrayal changes everything. Relationships and all those affected will never be the same again. The damage done can be irreparable. Trust is lost. Wounds run deep. Anger persists. Hearts are broken. Self-protective walls are erected. Pain is long and lasting. And we wonder…. Can trust ever be restored? Do wounds ever heal? Will anger cease to exist? Can hearts be repaired? Will the self-protective walls ever come down? Does the pain ever go away?
Not only does betrayal change relationships, it changes individuals. Something happens inside of you. You might find it difficult to ever trust again. You might be more guarded and protective for fear of being vulnerable again. You might learn to be more discerning and less naïve. Your expectations of others may change.
The pain of betrayal is very real and has a significant impact on the lives of all those who have experienced it. It is one of those painful life experiences that have the power to change people’s hearts and lives forever. In one season of my life it seemed everyone I loved and cared for was doing something or saying something to cut me deep in my heart. I remember how the betrayals wounded me deeply and I would get down on our knees and began to tell God all the pain I felt. It felt like my life was caving in on me. In one of those moments of supernatural impartation God gave me one of the greatest spiritual survival gifts I had ever received. He gave me the gift of praise and blessing in the face of betrayal. I would begin to praise God for who He is, thank Him for this opportunity to trust Him in our helplessness. I thanked Jesus for this hurtful moment because it was taking me deeper into my dependence on Him. Then I begin to bless my betrayers. Over the next few months it became more real to me that the relationships had changed and every time I thought of my betrayers I made the choice to bless instead of curse. God has allowed me the opportunity to look some of them in the eye and show them love and kindness. And this is when the true healing began and I have moved into a greater place in God. He cleansed and released me from relationships that were not meant for the next season of my life. But most of all I learned how to truly do as my father said to me, "Depend on no one but Jesus".
Another important life lesson learned is, how we choose to respond to the pain of betrayal will determine the direction our lives and ministries will take. Betrayal can be a beginning or it can be an end. There are many gifted and called people who have been betrayed, but are now lying in the enemy's gutter of bitterness and it is breaking the Father's heart. God is calling both the betrayers and the betrayed out of the dark places where the pain and sorrow of betrayal has led them. He is calling people out with His voice of hope and restoration. If you have suffered through a place of betrayal, now is the time to begin to follow His voice. In the end, you will experience the same resurrection power and new life that followed the Lord in His betrayal. Remember: Embedded somewhere, in each act of betrayal, is the purpose of God waiting to be discovered.
Jesus was betrayed by a close friend, Judas and his betrayal led Jesus to His purpose of the Cross. So, He knows our pain. Today pray that God heals our hearts so that we don't have to pay the price repeatedly by bringing anger and bitterness into every relationship and new experience and that His purpose is revealed through our pain of betrayal.
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