All of us have been betrayed. A spouse who walked out, cheated. A parent who left. A child who hurt us. It might be someone you work with or a member of your church. It could be someone who changed the details of a deal that you agreed to.
All of us have been been betrayed.
And when it happens, it hurts.
The reason is simple. The only way to betray someone means you have to be close to someone. While you can feel let down by a national leader or role model, betrayal only happens in close proximity.
The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.
Ministry is a major place for betrayal, and when it happens in a church context, it hurts.
Last week I spoke at Exponential West, and at each of my breakouts I talked to several people who were in the midst of betrayal or just walked through it. Here are some things I reminded them that may prove helpful to you when you find yourself betrayed:
- Jesus was betrayed. While this sounds trite and Christianese when you have been betrayed, it should provide us comfort. Jesus knows what it is like to be betrayed. He knows what it is like to have friends fail him, walk out on him, lie and abandon him. This has helped me to walk through betrayal and misplaced trust.
- Their true colors will be seen. Our first inclination when we’ve been hurt or betrayed is to get back at someone. We want people to know that we are hurt, that they lied to us, we want to ruin their lives and name in the way they’ve ruined our lives. In the end, if someone doesn’t have character, it eventually comes out. If someone is lazy, eventually everyone knows. While they may not know as quickly as you’d like, everything comes out.
- It’s for your good. If Romans 8 is true, and I believe it is. Then when we are betrayed, God is and will use it for our good. In the moment, this does not always provide the comfort that it should; that’s more about us than God though. It is true and it does bring comfort for us. When you are betrayed, it is an opportunity for you to grow. You are able to see blind spots, or places you didn’t pull boundaries, or situations you didn’t give enough oversight to. Regardless, when you are betrayed, it can be a wake up call to get better at something, and this is good.
- Take the high road; your true colors will be seen. In the same way that their true colors will be seen, so will yours. Again, not as quickly as you’d like, especially if you are in the right, but they will. If you have character, that will be shown, if not, that will as well.
- Don’t be bitter. Bitterness is waiting for you when you are betrayed. Don’t give in to it. While God is working in all things, pray against bitterness, let go of the person and situation as quickly as you can (even though this may take months or years). Start. Ask people to pray with you against a hard heart. For Katie and I, when betrayal happens we pray Ezekiel 36:26 for our hearts, that God would replace our heart of stone so that it does not become hard.