Overcoming the Pain of Betrayal

Overcoming the Pain of Betrayal

Have you ever experienced having a trusted friend, co-worker or a brother/sister in the Lord take advantage of your kindness? In every relationship that we have, trust is an important ingredient. When trust is broken, chances are, the relationship will never be the same again.

In this decade of deception, betrayal surrounds us. Divorce, child abuse, gossip, corruption, and the like bring betrayal on every home. How do we as Christians deal with it? How do we overcome the pain of betrayal?

When Friends Betray Us

Julius Caesar

Caesar, the man who brought Rome to the pinnacle of its majestic power was adored by much of Rome but despised by the powerful Roman Senate. A conspiracy to murder Caesar was developed by men who were deeply indebted to Caesar.

Decimus Brutus, a member of the senate, pretended to be Caesar’s dearest friend. When the time came to murder Caesar, the conspirators agreed that each man would stab Caesar, and the blame would be shared equally. They converged on Caesar, like vultures and began to stab him.

History records that Caesar fought fiercely against his attackers until he saw the face of Brutus. Once Caesar saw the dagger in the hand of his friend, he lost the will to fight. When Brutus plunged the dagger into his bleeding body, Julius Caesar died from betrayal.

Losing a Friend (My Story)

“I just lost a friend,” I confided to Brother Joseph, a good friend and one of our church elders. In reply, he said, “You know Alice, we don’t really lose friends; we just get to know who the real ones are.“Funny,” I said. “That’s exactly what she just posted on her Facebook wall about me.”

Almost three months ago, I had a “fall out” with my “supposed” friend and we haven’t talked since then. I mean, really talk. We do talk at work because we have to. But that’s just the extent of our conversation, no more, no less.

I’ve been going over and over in my head what really went down and wondered why things got sour between us. To be completely honest, I am not putting all the blame on her. I realized I also had my fair share of the pie. I just did not expect her to betray me the way she did.

When we were still friends (or so I thought), we’ve talked about certain things which we agreed will remain just between the two of us. Guess what? She let them all out in the open. What’s worse, she did not stick to the story. She revised them in a way that suited her own agenda (whatever that maybe). In short, there were additions and subtractions here and there.

To say I was shocked was an understatement to describe how I felt when I found out about it. Oh, did I mention that she blocked me on Facebook and Messenger?

Photo Credits : PsychologyToday.Com

I tried to keep my calm and did my very best to understand why she did what she did. She betrayed me, period! And the only reason I could think of was that we were never really friends. I told my roommate and colleague, “You wouldn’t do that to a friend, right?” And she said, “Of course not.”

As they say, “friends hurt friends.” But when you’re truly friends with someone, you will never say damaging things about her and you won’t try to ruin her reputation. Well, no matter how close you are with someone, you will always have disagreements and you will not always see eye-to-eye on certain issues.

But because you are friends and you care about each other, you will never say and do things that will have the potential of ending the relationship. As they say, a misunderstanding or disagreement could either strengthen or end the relationship.

In our case, sadly it’s the latter. Do I hate her? No. Have I forgiven her? Yes. I am open to communicating again, but I also know that things will never be the same again between us.

The Lord Jesus

Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver was one of the darkest moments in all of history and made Judas the worst traitor of all time.

On the night when Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Last Supper, Judas plotted with the religious leaders to take them to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and there he betrayed Jesus and had Him arrested.

When Friends Betray You

Although some argue that Judas is not to be blamed because it was foreordained and there was nothing he could possibly do about it, the fact remains that he betrayed Jesus and he acted on his own accord. Judas was not just a pawn or puppet in God’s hands. He betrayed Jesus because he was a thief who never really believed in Jesus as his Lord (John 12:6; 6:64).

At some point, we will all face the bitterness of betrayal so we should not think we could escape it. Even the Lord Jesus was betrayed by one of His closest disciples – Judas.

How to Overcome the Pain of Betrayal

Betrayal breaks our heart and leaves an eternal scar that only God can heal. Yes, we can overcome the disappointment of betrayal; David shows us the road to recovery in Psalm 54.

1) Call on the Name of the Lord.

David’s life was in danger as “strangers” were attacking him (Psalm 54:3; 1 Samuel 23:15) and he called on God to save him and vindicate his cause (1 Samuel 24:15). By the way “strangers” doesn’t suggest that his enemies were Gentiles, for the Ziphites belonged to the tribe of Judah, David’s own tribe.

The word is also used in Job 19:13 to describe Job’s family and friends, and David used it in a similar way in Psalm 69:8. It can describe anybody who has turned his or her back on someone, which the Ziphites certainly did to David their king. David was betrayed by his own people. And he reacted to betrayal by appealing to the power of the name of God.

When friends or loved ones betray us, we do not have be depressed or seek revenge. Instead, let us call on God for He commands us to call on Him in times of trouble, seek His will and guidance and He will answer us, show us what we need to do, be with us and deliver us (Jeremiah 33:3; Psalm 50:15).

How to Overcome the Pain of Betrayal

2) Get your emotions in check.

David’s first reaction to betrayal was to be proactive and to assume responsibility for his life (Psalm 54:1). Although he knew that the God who created the galaxies can handle his enemies, yet he recognized that he needed to do something for himself.

When he asked God to vindicate him, he acknowledged that some of his actions or decisions must have rubbed people the wrong way and that is why they were after him. But instead of seeking to destroy his enemies, he got his emotions in check and asked God to prove him right and his enemies wrong.

Twice David had an opportunity to slay Saul but refrained from doing so, for he knew that God would one day deal with the rebellious king (see 1 Samuel 26:8-11). We too need to take control of our emotions, decisions, and behavior. We must stop being controlled by circumstances and conditions and take control of our choices.

3) Trust God completely.

David relied on God to handle his enemies. He said, “Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is with those who uphold my life “(Psalm 54:4). This central verse of the psalm records the turning point in David’s experience.

The Word translated “help” or “helper” is related to “Ebenezer in 1 Samuel 7:12 and it means “Up to this point the LORD has helped us!” It is a word David often used in his prayers (Psalm 10:14; 30:10; 33:20).

*Read here: Trusting God with All Your Heart

David also recognized that God would settle the score and he chose to be happy and praise the name of the Lord (Psalm 54:5-6). He was confident that God will deliver him out of all troubles (Psalm 54:7). Praise is the appropriate response of a grateful heart to the goodness and faithfulness of God.

David’s words revealed his faith, for he spoke of his deliverance as already completed as he looked calmly at his enemies (Psalm 22:17; 59:10; 118:7). David had more suffering and peril to experience before he would ascend the throne, but he was confident that the Lord would see him through – and He did.

Closing Thoughts

When we have been betrayed, when lying lips assassinate the truth, when justice is delayed, we need to remember that God is faithful. Betrayal can either make us bitter or better.

We cannot overcome the pain of betrayal until we discover the power in the name of the Lord, for He will deliver us out of all trouble.

Laura Story says in her song Blessings, “When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win, we know that pain reminds this heart that this is not our home.”

True indeed, this is not our home. We’re just pilgrims on this earth (1 Peter 2:11-12); we are just passing through this life journeying toward heaven – our final destination (Philippians 3:20).

Have you experienced betrayal? How did you deal with it? Please do share your story in the comment section below.


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8 Replies to “Overcoming the Pain of Betrayal”

  1. Thanks for this inspirational article. 

    One way or the other I’ve dealt with betrayal from both close and far relations;  it was one of the most confused state I have ever found myself. I actually held grudges for a long time till now but after reading this I guess it’s time I let go and let God heal me through the ways you have made mention on your post.  I’ll follow it up every step. 

    Thanks.

    1. You’re right, Seun, anyone has the potential to betray us. But it sure is a lot more painful coming from the people we’re closest to. And when this happens, the natural response is to be mad and hold it against that person for as long as we can. But here’s the thing, holding on to hurt and pain won’t do us any good.

      I know it’s easier said than done but we can actually overcome the pain of betrayal by following the steps that King David has modeled for us. We must get our emotions in check, lest, we might say and do things we will later regret. And then we give it all to God and allow Him to heal us.

      Our Lord knows and understands our pain resulting from someone betraying us because He Himself experienced it from one of His closest followers.

      Thank you for sharing your experience, God bless you.

  2. Hi Alice, 

    My parents always taught me that if I can’t think of something good to say about someone, then say nothing at all. You see I have been betrayed by someone who was very close to me and I was devastated at the time. My parents aren’t with us anymore but their words are still with me and as you can imagine, I can’t say anything good about the ex-friend who betrayed me, so I say nothing at all.

    I’m not really a religious person but in times of trouble we do turn to God. Thank you for sharing this post Alice, it’s been quite an eye opener for me.   

    1. Hey Russ, thanks for chiming in.

      Keeping our mouth shut when we have nothing good to say about others is sound advice. And it’s something we should always remember before opening our mouth in any situation. Lest. we could be spilling out things that have the potential of hurting others. As the saying goes, “words once spoken can never be taken back.”

      Betrayal from the very people we’re closest to could be one of the most devastating experiences we would ever have to deal with. But holding on to the pain will never do us any good either. It may take some time for us to heal from the pain of betrayal and that’s okay. What matters most is that we are willing to forgive and let go.

      This is pretty hard to do on our own but it’s comforting to know that we can always go to God for strength and guidance.

      Blessings!

  3. Hurting people hurt people. A colleague said that to me once and I never forgot it. 

    I think that when betrayal happens it’s really important to keep those emotions in check. If that does not happen, then there is the risk of doing and saying something that might bring some regret. What’s also important is to do some self examination. 

    When we are exposed to these types of situations, it can often expose what’s in our heart as well. So it’s important to learn from these situations when they happen. I say when they happen because betrayal will come, that’s a guarantee and it hurts more when it comes from someone close to you.

    If it did not come fromm someone close, it may not have had the same level of significance (Prov 27:11). I think it’s all about shaping our character for the better. 

     As a Christian, the key thing about dealing with betrayal when it happens, is to handle it in such a manner that it brings honor and glory to God. You also want to learn from it and move on and more importantly forgive the person who hurt you. 

    But you also want to remember that you are blessed (Matt 5:11, Luke 6: 22).

    1. Hi Vanessa,

      Thank you for taking the time to not only read the article but also to share your personal take in regards to the issue of betrayal.

      What your colleague said about hurting people wanting to hurt other people is generally true that’s because revenge is part of our human nature. We think that inflicting pain on others will somehow ease the pain we’re experiencing. And this is where we’re wrong.

      The only way we will heal and move on is if we forgive our offender which is possible only by the grace of our Lord.

      Yes, betrayal is something we would all experience at some point and the sad reality is that it often comes from the people we love and care about. Question is, how do we deal with it? Our Lord Jesus who was betrayed by one of His closest disciples has shown us how we, His followers, should handle it and be able to overcome the pain resulting from betrayal.

      Thanks again Vanessa, God bless you.

  4. Betrayal is one of the hardest experiences to endure. Unfortunately, most of us will feel the sting of this experience at some point in life. 

    When you have put your trust and faith in a person it can be overwhelming to find a way to open up again.  One has to find a way to learn from the experience and move on, as holding a grudge will not bring any resolution, in fact, it will only prolong the pain of betrayal. 

    1. That’s so true Aly, when trust gets broken it will be very difficult to open up and trust again. But as you said, holding a grudge will do us more damage than good. Often times we find ourselves buried in bitterness and pain as a result of someone betraying us only to realize later on that our offender has already moved on.

      Yes, it may take time for us to heal and move on but the important thing is that we are willing to let go. We may not be able to do this on our own but if we would just let God work things out, I’m sure He will enable us to forgive and heal.

      Thanks.

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