I was reading a passage the other day and something struck me …
The emotions of betrayal …
Have you ever experienced them?
It helps to be able to count to 12 …
See what I mean …
And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. Acts 1:13
Do you see what I saw?
Count them. There are 11 names. Eleven. Not 12.
One was missing. For three years there were 12. They had been Jesus’ disciples. His closest companions. Jesus had invested time, energy and life into them. Now there were 11. One was missing.
The betrayer …
If you don’t know the story, another named Judas betrayed Jesus. For a hefty sum of money, he handed Jesus to the authorities where He was arrested, beaten and crucified. Of course, it was used for a divine purpose, but the fact is one of the disciples betrayed the others and Jesus.
I don’t think I ever considered this before … but what were the emotions of betrayal for the remaining disciples? Did they miss their friend? In spite of his betrayal, he was a close companion on a mission. A team member. There must have been some attachment. Were there moments of bitterness, anger or rage? Were they sad? Was there one in particular who got hurt most? He was closest to the betrayer, perhaps (I don’t know … just knowing people and team dynamics, I’m asking).
But, that was then and this post is really about you.
Have you ever experienced the emotions of betrayal?
We don’t talk about it much in leadership or ministry, but maybe we should. Those emotions are real. They are heavy. And, they are common.
Have you been hurt by your own betrayer? You trusted him or her. You may have even called them friend. They let you down. Disappointed you. Betrayed you.
Anyone who has served in any leadership position has experienced betrayal at some level. It could have been the gossip started by a supposed friend or a pointed and calculated stab in the back. Either way … it hurts.
Learning to deal with, process and mature through betrayal may be one of the more important leadership issues, yet we seldom deal with the issue.
How do you handle betrayal?
Here are a few quick suggestions:
Grieve — Give yourself time to process. Be honest about the pain. Don’t pretend it didn’t matter. It does.
Forgive — As much as it hurts, refusing to forgive or holding a grudge will hurt you more than the betrayer. Embrace and extend grace. If there are realistic consequences, you can let those occur, but in your heart let it go. It may take time to do this, but the longer you delay the more you are still held captive by the betrayal.
Analyze — It is good at a time of betrayal to consider what went wrong. Was it an error in judgement? Do you need stricter guidelines? Would it have happened regardless? You can’t script morality and shouldn’t attempt to, but you should use this as a chance for a healthy review of the parameters in which the betrayal occurred.
Continue — You can’t allow a betrayal to distract you from the vision you have been called to complete. There will always be betrayers in the mix. They show up unexpectedly. Eventually you will have to take a risk on people again. It’s the only way to lead healthfully.
Have you ever been betrayed?
What would you add? How did you move forward? Or have you?