“From time to time, I like you to hear from people who have deeply impacted my life. This week, it is Kim Pickard Dudley who is a friend like no other. Her passion for Christ is relentless and her heart is immaculate. I hope that you will be encouraged and even comforted by her insight into the horrible world of betrayal.”
To even type or say the word … well … it’s painful. If and only if you’ve been on the receiving end of this “B” word, do you understand what I mean.
Part of the human experience is walking through setbacks and pain … it’s just the nature of the fallen world in which we live. We get overwhelmed. We get our feelings hurt. We get angry, disappointed and misunderstood. We surely suffer sadness in many forms. We get bogged down with drama from every which way. The struggle list goes on infinitely.
But there’s something different about betrayal.
The pain from having been betrayed … it runs very deep because the hurt (1) involves someone with whom you have (or had) a meaningful relationship, (2) involves someone you trusted and (3) likely included an element of secrecy along the way.
Again … OUCH!
And the pain evolves … from the initial trauma upon learning about the event to gut-wrenching sadness … to incensed anger … to feelings of unfathomable loss and numbness … to perhaps mortifying humiliation, and on. And on. And on.
And then come questions like: I thought I knew this person? Do I know anyone? Did I do something so wrong? Why didn’t I see this coming? Can I ever trust anyone again? Is this what I deserve?
Often, the aftershock of betrayal leaves us in a place of sore confusion … questioning who we are, and many whats, whens, wheres and whys.
But let’s take a step back for a moment and remember a part of history … namely, Jesus’ betrayal. UGH!
So the only perfect man to ever walk this earth. A man who was blameless. Who knew nothing but love. And kindness. The one who healed. And sacrificed. Who performed life-changing miracles. And relentlessly forgave. Who fed the poor. And knew no wrong or passed no judgement.
Yet he was betrayed by one of his closest friends, Judas? You bet. And the result? Jesus’ horrifying crucifixion.
That should leave us shaking our heads, for sure.
But wait! Because the crucifixion was not the end of the story, right? After three days, Jesus rose from the grave. And as a result of that came the greatest gift in the history of the world … death itself was forever defeated!
So could it be that something good actually came from the betrayal?
It’s hard to imagine this when we’re knee deep in betrayal pain, but is there a chance that our betrayal could serve as a catalyst to something good in our lives? Could it perhaps lead to something that otherwise would have never come had the betrayal not surfaced?
For example, could a betrayal by your boss lead to a new dream future that you would have never had the courage to risk had it not occurred? Could a betrayal by your best friend lead to a more open, honest and deeper friendship?
Let me say, it’s a “YES!”
Paul says in Romans 8:28 (RKJV) that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
This is not to be confused with “all things are good," because they’re not. But all things, even hard things, work together for good when we’re aligned with God. We have to trust Him in this.
Friends, in the same way that Jesus’ death was not the final word, despite the horrifying pain and reality of betrayal, neither does the betrayal that you are facing have the final word. It’s not the end. It’s not the final word.
In fact, it could very well, in time and through a process, serve as a wonderful new beginning.
A few things:
(1) Grieve your losses. Touch your pain. And all the while know that God is near. Psalm 34:18 tells us that the Lord is close to the broken-hearted, and without a doubt, betrayal leaves us broken-hearted;
(2) You don’t have to go it alone… and as a matter of fact, you shouldn’t. Find a handful of healthy, trusted friends that can come along side and support you. The trauma that accompanies betrayal generally leaves us in a weak and an almost paralyzed state, so any kind of normal thinking, planning, processing, understanding and more … is next to impossible by yourself. II Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God’s power is perfected in weakness. Tap into His strength, and summon a few trusted prayer warriors to be close to you for awhile;
(3) Forgive the person who hurt you. We all know what the Bible says about forgiveness — despite the nature of the sin committed against us … we forgive. And while we do this because it’s commanded of us, the result is that we become free. Let the bitterness go. For again … in letting go, we become free. In George W. Bush’s eulogy at his father’s funeral, he read the quote, “bitterness poisons the vessel in which it is stored” … profound and true.
(4) Commit to turning what was one of your darkest days into something good. By “commit” I mean COMMIT. Knowing that it’s going to take some time, hard work, prayer, trust and intentionality … commit to doing whatever it takes to make this part of your story to be used God’s glory. Yes, this is a chapter in your life that you didn’t foresee. Yes, it’s a setback. Yes, your life will in some way be different now. But make a decision that no matter what, you’ll move forward and get to the other side. Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:26 that “with God, all things are possible.” Believe it!
Betrayal is UGLY! But listen … betrayal does not define us.
God Himself defines us.
We are who God says we are.
We are beloved. God’s masterpiece. His handiwork. We are chosen. Free from sin. Holy. We are joint heirs with Christ. Forgiven. And redeemed. Nothing, including betrayal, changes the promises of God regarding us.
Without a doubt, betrayal’s pain runs deep and leaves many unanswered questions. The good news is that our God is in the business of making a way when there seems to be no way. He did it for Abraham, he did it for Moses, and for Peter … and He’ll do it for us.
I encourage you, my friends, if you’ve been betrayed … don’t give up! But rather, stand up! And run … in the direction of God.
And He, in His goodness, will run … in the direction of you