Hi! So this is new for me. I love to talk, but hate to write. In fact, I chose my major in college partially based on how much (or rather, little) writing I thought I would have to do. God keeps bringing this up to me though, so I guess it will have to be written.
Being a pastor’s daughter my whole life and a leader in my church in different capacities for almost 10 years, I have had my fair share of betrayal. Being a human, woman, daughter, sister, and friend, I have had my fair share of hurt. It happens. It’s life. We were created for a perfect world, but unfortunately sin now mars us, other people, and our relationships with them. So even though hurt and betrayal are to be expected in this life on earth, our hearts and emotions rebel against it. Our mind may tell us that we should expect it, but our heart continues to yearn for perfection with Jesus, where there is no pain or tears. That is the contradiction that we live with. We can live completely according to Scripture, but that will not protect us from being betrayed. And sometimes by those closest to us.
If we can’t stop it, then what are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to respond and react when the inevitable happens? In my experience, there are many characters in a situation like this and your view of and reaction to each one is important: The betrayer, the betrayal, yourself, Satan, and God. And no, that was not a typo. The betrayer and the betrayal are separate, and it’s important that you deal with each of them. It can be hard to separate the five characters, for they all influence each other in some way, but I will do my best.
No matter how close or how distant they are to you, they betrayed you. And it hurts. It could be the pain of a minor scratch or the pain of agonizing heartbreak, but either way, the most important steps are to admit to the Lord that you are hurt and ask Him to heal you and to help you to forgive. God says that He is close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). Your pain is not too small or too big for our God. Go to Him, before going to anyone else, and pour out your heart to Him. You don’t need to be “strong” and pull yourself up by your bootstraps, but you do need to be honest with God. Hold Him to His Word to be close to you and to heal your hurt, because He cannot lie.
For the believer, it is also imperative that we forgive the betrayer. God says that He will not forgive us if we do not forgive others (Matthew 6:15). That is not figurative or rhetorical. It’s plain and simple—we must forgive others if we want God to forgive us. Why? Because no matter what evil has been done to us, it cannot compare to our sin against an infinitely holy God. That can be hard to understand, but the truth of it can forever change how you view life.
Forgiveness Is a Choice
As I sit here writing, I am walking through these steps. A close friend did not believe the best about me in a situation and it hurt. My initial reaction was to sweep it under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen, since it isn’t a big betrayal. But it is still painful and if I do not admit my hurt to the Lord and ask Him to help me forgive, this tiny scratch may build up into bitterness towards this friend and create disunity between us. That is not OK. Forgiveness does not mean sweeping things under the carpet and pretending like it didn’t happen, but rather it is cancelling a debt (Matthew 18:21-35). It is saying that they no longer owe you anything (except in cases where restitution needs to be made). Forgiveness is also not a feeling, but a decision.
This friend owed me the benefit of the doubt and to believe the best about me, but I have chosen to cancel that debt and forgive them. As I have been praying for forgiveness this morning, the Lord has filled me with love for them in a way that I know it cannot be from me but must be from Him.
Forgiveness Is Not Forgetting
The Lord can forgive and forget our sins, but because we are not Him we can’t immediately forget. Just because you are still hurt or still remember the betrayal, does not mean you have not forgiven the person. Forgiveness is a day-to-day decision. With a larger or repeated betrayal, forgiving once will most likely not be enough. Every morning you will have to choose to forgive by asking God to help you and allowing His grace to enable you to forgive. God is faithful and he will give you feelings of forgiveness, but that follows the decision and not the other way around.
If you have allowed unforgiveness in your heart, bitter thoughts towards someone, or hatred in your life, you will also need to repent to the Lord as you ask Him to help you forgive. Remember that He promises to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, when we confess to Him (1 John 1:9). God has more experience at forgiveness than any other being in all of history; so don’t be afraid to go Him for help with it.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the next character in this scene: The Betrayal Itself.
Julianna Curtis, a homeschool grad, graduated from Stetson University in 2011, Summa Cum Laude, with a degree in Accounting Information Systems. She is now a technical analyst at Verizon, a L.I.F.E. group leader and worship team singer at Powerline Church, and vendor coordinator and speaker for the Finish Well Conference.