The Right Way To Deal With Betrayal Is Forgiveness

The Right Way To Deal With Betrayal Is Forgiveness

I say to the betrayers in my life this: I know you only did what you thought was right, but I forgive you, and our lives will go on.

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If there has been a subtheme in my life the past couple months, it has been betrayal. Some people I loved, trusted, and confided in have put knives in my back, which I understood at the time, but those same people tried to be secretive about it and cover their tracks. I understand it is uncomfortable to put a knife in your friend's back, and the instant reflex is to cower away when that person gets wind that you were behind the betrayal. But I also felt that those people misunderstood me profoundly and jumped to premature conclusions.

"Forget them," a close friend told me. "They were never your real friends anyway."

As much as I would like to believe that real-life advice, and as much as it may be true, I want to believe there's another way, a better way to deal with betrayal. I loved the people who betrayed me for a reason earlier, and I recognized the need to wallow, for a little bit. I recognized the need to allow myself to let the tears roll and get heated with anger before proceeding with further action.

So what is a proper way to deal with betrayal? I do not believe cutting those people out of my life entirely is the answer, as much as that being the most likely outcome in the near future. I could rest easy knowing that people who don't like me do and say things against me. I respect that, and wouldn't expect anything less. But, as David wrote in Psalm 55, "For it not the enemy who taunts me -- then I could bear it;... But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend." David's first act was to feel the betrayal and not reject it. That is the first step: to realize that we hurt, to realize that the betrayal has given us pain.

What would Jesus do? Did Jesus forgive Judas? I ask these questions sometimes in the midst of my struggle these days, to see how I should proceed these days. Jesus prophesized and foretold Judas betrayal of Jesus to the local religious officials in Matthew 26:14: "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." Yet despite knowing that Judas would turn against Jesus, Jesus did not stop Judas, and did not stop loving him. He even openly let it happen in Matthew 26:50, saying to Judas "Friend, do what you came to." He accepted his chastening graciously and kindly, and it's a lesson for us all to do so, too.

So, in dealing with betrayal, it's incredibly important, at least to me, to not pay back betrayal with betrayal, and not pay it back with anger and resentment. I can let those emotions flow in my private life, with people I know that won't ever betray me and have no personal stake in doing so.

And it doesn't make the betrayal hurt any more in my heart, but I know and am well aware none of the betrayers in my life acted with ill-intent. There is a scene in "The Wire," late in season 5, where one detective exposes a cover-up scheme of two of her friends who are also detectives to their superior officer. The two officers are aggressively asked to resign and retire from the force, and the detective who snitched on her co-detectives admits her betrayal of them later, and the betrayed says to the betrayer:

"Detective, if you think it needed doing, then I guess it did."

As such, on a reasonable level, I know that people in my life who have betrayed me are just doing what they believe to be right. It's not like I'm going to be buddy-buddy friends with those people for a long time, but I respect the decisions people chose to make in their lives to stand by their personal values and what they believe to be justice, even if I personally disagree with their decisions.

And then there's the issue of forgiveness. How do I say "I forgive you," and truly mean it to the people involved? Ultimately, it is my choice when or how I choose to forgive, even whether I choose to do so in the first place, but it's not like I am a saint. I have never been. It's a mistake for me to believe I didn't deserve betrayal. But an unforgiving heart leads to resentment, bitterness, and usually just significantly more pain. I do not help myself through a lack of forgiveness, and so I must find ways to forgive so those emotions of anguish do not fester.

Ephesians 4:32 tells us to "be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." No one can decide whether my forgiveness is genuine or not, whether I choose to forgive the people I perceive to have betrayed me or not. Only I can decide those things for myself. But I choose to do so not for them and not because it's what I'm supposed to do, but I do for myself and for God.

I say to the betrayers in my life this: I know you only did what you thought was right, but I forgive you, and our lives will go on.

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When God Says, “Not Right Now.”

“God give me faith to wait and not manipulate. To trust You fully, no matter how my circumstances may appear." — Lynn Cowell

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One of the most frustrating yet beautiful things is when God tells us “no" or “not right now."

At the time, you may have agony or desperation for this one thing to work out in your life, but it slips away from you. You may ask God why. Why does He want you to be unhappy? Why does He want to take away your dreams?

At the time, you cannot see how much God truly is working in your life, but He is. In my life, every time that I was disappointed that a plan or dream didn't work out, I was devastated. I didn't want to be in a position where I was challenged and tested. I wanted all the blessings to flow and to fulfill what I thought was my plan in life. But that's exactly what it was: my plan.

I did not see at the time that that is not what God intended for me and that He actually had far greater plans than I did for myself. He needed to mold me into who I am supposed to be today. Along the way I have met the most amazing people that have had a huge impact on my life, have gone through the most amazing experiences with God, and I wouldn't trade going through all the trials because it has truly made me into the woman I am today.

“What God does in us while we wait is as important as what we are waiting for." – John Ortberg

God is continually, endlessly, working in our lives.

We may not see it, but He is. We may blame God for all the things that are going wrong in our lives, but we never see that in the end, we were supposed to go through the low valleys to get to the high, amazing, and beautiful mountains in our lives.

I truly believe that it's when you're at the bottom of the darkest pit in your life that you can actually see the light of God shining brightly upon you. During these times, pray to Him to lead you to understanding that this is all a part of His plan for you.

It hurts God to see that His child is suffering, but in order to carve out just the person that you are supposed to be, you must go through challenges. Where you are today is no accident. God is using the challenge you are in to shape you and prepare you for the place He wants you tomorrow. When it comes to God's plan, timing is absolutely everything.

Looking back on all the events that I had to endure before getting to where I am now, I know that I had to go through the trials in order to be just who I am today, which is happier than I have ever been because I know God and His plan for me. Waiting is the most difficult job of hope, but you must remain faithful and know that God is guiding you.

“When I wait, you strengthen my heart." Psalm 27:14

When you are waiting for God's righteous plan, don't lose faith in His goodness. He only wants the best for you, and in the end, you will look back and see just how much He truly was working in your life. Be patient and the blessings will flow.

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How To Trust When You Feel Reluctant

How my sweet niece taught me the ropes of trust.

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What does it exactly mean to "trust"? I'm not too sure. I think that trust has so many different levels, and manifests differently given the scenario. The general definition is something like this.

The firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength in something or someone.

Which makes sense, but how trust materializes can be a really interesting, malleable thing. Yesterday, I was sitting on my couch staring out the window, all curled up in a blanket. I heard a little knock at the door, my niece and her Mimi poked their heads in. Little girl had just woken up from her nap, and Mimi was seeing if I might want to get some snuggles.

Oh, I just couldn't help but love her even more with those sleepy, little, quiet eyes and slow movements. Mimi placed her in my arms, but when she did, I could see some tension move into that little one's shoulders. She was a little more rigid. Still sitting with me, but stiff, not quite sure if I was safe. Then, she looked up at me and studied my face for a few small moments. She gave me her sweet smile and then she snuggled her shoulders and leaned in. There it was, trust in the sweetest of ways.

We were both just tucked in for 10 minutes or so, exchanging peeking smiles, and looking at each other's hands and fingers. All the while, my little niece was reminding me of myself.

Just 15 minutes before she came in, I was feeling that same stiffness in my shoulders, the tension of the day and my agenda. A rigid discomfort, and unsureness of where I was. I felt questions rising up in me. I was sitting in what I knew was right at the moment, but stiffly. Just like my little niece, still sitting and accepting the situation, but not eagerly.

It's a bummer, but I think I actually do this pretty often. I will accept the current that I'm swimming in and agree, yes, I'm in the right lane, but I'm not exactly embracing it. In this world, flavors change and we are called to adapt. That adaptation doesn't always come within a flicker or a blink. We might do so a little reluctantly, hesitantly, and cautiously. My niece taught me something so dear and so beloved yesterday. She taught me the exact answer of what to do when that stiffness starts to crumble your trust.

She reminded herself who was holding her. She studied my face and recalled where she had seen it before. And then she determined me safe.

Bring on the snuggles.

I found myself taking my nieces advice, and practicing this same remembrance. I needed to behold the face of my Father and study it, seek it. I had to remind myself of whose I am and where I am, how carefully I am held, how beloved I am, and how His Truth is the only certainty that I need.

"You have said, 'Seek My face.' My heart says to you, 'Your face, Lord, do I seek.'" (Psalm 27:8)

We must remind ourselves of those moments we came to know Him better, a wrinkle of His face, or a tender commonality that we've seen in His kindness. Take note of each encounter, and hold the things you learn as treasure with full trust and assurance. Allow yourself to really weigh into Him. Give every piece of yourself, because in His truth are the delights of trust, of reassurance, of quietness, and peace.

My little niece reminded me that far greater than anything can we behold on earth, is beholding Jesus' face.

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