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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A Letter From God To Help You Finish The Semester

God sees your struggles and He's here to give you strength and motivation.
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My Child,

The lack of motivation towards the end of the semester is normal. You are mentally and physically tired, but you are almost at the end. Don’t stop walking down the perfect path I have for you. When you’re going along and you come upon a speedbump, I want you to go over it and keep driving. The paper you have to write and the test you have to study for are just small speedbumps I have given you to make you wiser. You can write that paper and you can gain motivation to study for that test. I am here to give you strength, and am here to open up your mind and give you motivation.

You are so loved. You have such a beautiful mind. The light of Jesus shines through your eyes and your smile brings comfort to the world. There’ll be times you feel like you’re carrying a heavy load. There’ll be times you feel like the task I have given you is impossible to perform. But remember this: I would never put anything upon your shoulders that you cannot carry. If I put you in a certain situation, it’s because I know you are strong enough to go through it.

When you feel like crying, cry to me. When you feel like a failure, remember how much I love you. You are not a failure and you are not going to give up. I will hold your hand through every second of your life. I will seek your heart through your darkest moments. I see you, I see your heart, and I see your burdens. And remember that I have your heart which means I also have your burdens. Follow my footsteps and you will be free from the doubt. Remember Mark 4:40-41: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” I have the power to calm any storm and wave. I have the power to calm YOUR storms and waves. Set your doubt, anger, and tiredness in my hands and simply be patient.

Romans 8:14-15 says,“For those who are led by the spirit of God are the children of God. The spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again, rather the spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.” Nothing can separate you from my love. Not even your lack of motivation. You have no motivation because you do not feel good enough. You are more than good enough. You were perfectly made by me and when I look down at you, I think of how proud I am of your heart.

Throughout the last few weeks of this semester, you will stumble upon speedbumps. But hold the hand of my son Jesus and you will be able to go over that speedbump with ease. Go write that paper, go study for that test, and go get an A in that class. I know you can because I have given you power.

Love,

God

Cover Image Credit: Margaret Carnes

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When You Think You Should Be Doing More, Remember These Two Things

Just love.

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I will be the first in line to admit that I am victim to comparison about 95% of the time. I constantly catch myself looking at other girls on Instagram and envying their bodies, their boyfriends, or their lives. I see other people and constantly feel worse about myself, or use other people to make me feel better about myself. And even though I know it's not right to do, I still find myself constantly in this cycle of comparison. And comparison is not something that affects only the secular world, but comparison runs rampant within Christian circles.

Whether it is comparing how many notes you've made in your Bible, how many times a week you go to Church, or how aesthetically pleasing your quiet times look on Instagram, no one is free from comparison. However, recently I've had to check myself with two truths.

1. God does not run out of goodness

Comparison believes the lie that when something good happens to someone else, that person took something from you. Whether it's a job you want, a vacation you wish you could take, or a boyfriend you wish you had -- comparison tells the lie that someone has something that you should have gotten or wished you had gotten. However, that limits the goodness of God.

God is never going to run out of good things for His children and His desire to give us what we need and then some will never fade away.

Jealousy and comparison would have us believe that someone is better off than us, but truly we are all right where we need to be and God has good things in store that are ONLY for you. Never limit the goodness of the one who literally made you and breathes life into you.

2. Just love

Recently, I was at a time of worship where the Holy Spirit was very present and people were clearly being moved. As I prayed to the Lord, I prayed "Lord, where do you want me to go? And what big thing do I need to do for the Kingdom today?" And then in the tiniest whisper, I felt the words just love wash over me. Life is not about doing big, big things but instead, life is about the little things, and it is the little things that matter the most to people. Love people where they are, hold the door open for someone, smile at a stranger, and if the opportunity presents itself share the word of God with people.

The gospel is not words, it is actions.

It is little things that show people the Love of God that radically transforms lives. I constantly beat myself up and think about all the opportunities I daily miss to tell people about God, but sometimes all we need to do is show the Lord to someone. We need to just love.

It is so easy to get caught up in things of this world and compare ourselves in every way imaginable. But comparison always disappoints because there is always going to be someone better than you at something, and at the end of the day comparison is exhausting. Remember that God has enough goodness to give out enough to all of His children, and we are so blessed with what we do have and with what you have.

Just love. It's not easy, and some days are harder than others, but you are not alone. I'm out here struggling with you and together we can just love — love others, and love ourselves.

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