Have you ever been betrayed? I have on more than one occasion.
Being betrayed is something that usually only happens because the person was someone in our inner circle. A close friend, someone we confided something to. It is literally the feeling of being stabbed in the back. You don’t see it coming and because it is someone you know, you feel comfortable turning your back to them.
When it happens to you, you are kind of in shock. There is disbelief. You question did that just really happen? Then you get angry. You have to talk about it and tell others what this person has done to you. That is the step we fall into sin.
The first time it happened to me, I was working as an RN in a dialysis unit. There is a lot of downtime once the patients are on the machines because most run for 4 hours and this was outpatient, so these were stable patients. We talked to them, did some prep for taking them off, and monitored them. I was talking to a small group and told them I had applied for a job at a Nursing School as an instructor. They wanted to know all about it. The next thing I knew…one of them had gotten the job. I was floored. She didn’t tell me, hey, do you mind if I apply too or hey, that has always been my dream, I am going to apply. Nope, I was blind sighted by it. I had far more experience than her, she was a pretty new grad, however, I did not have my BSN, I had attended a hospital program and so she was more qualified on paper.
That hurt. It made me put up a guard around people at work.
The next time was a very dear friend. We had been daily on the phone for 9 years. She lived a difficult life. Her husband kept her homebound. No car. Not allowed to work. Eventually she divorced him and was moving out on her own. The day she was closing on her new home she came to me desperate for a loan of $1500 because she didn’t have it. I was in the middle of a concert load in and was in charge of everyone. But I left and went to the bank and got her the money. Trust me, we were not rich. I am pretty certain I took it out of our savings account. I got paid back promptly. But later she had accused a pastor of making advances on her during counseling and it got back to the head pastor. He asked to speak with her about it and she said she just couldn’t. She came to me and said would you please tell him what I told you for me? I talked to the pastor and then of course with those kind of allegations, they were approaching the accused and taking action. She told me I betrayed her by doing exactly what she asked me to. That ended probably the closest friendship I had ever had. I was blown away by it.
The last one was someone I was in leadership with in our expressive worship group. I thought we were best friends. We loved shopping, dreaming and going to conferences together. We would talk way into the night if we were ever sharing a hotel room. We were the same age. Our wedding date was the exact same and our husbands were both in the same field. Truly I thought a match made in heaven. After about 3 years, I was let in by other leadership that she had been going behind my back telling lies about me. Since they didn’t know either of us well, they were simply observing. It eventually became apparent to them that she was literally projecting what she was doing and feeling on me. It all came to a head but not until my husband and I had taken her and her husband out to one of the most expensive restaurants in St. Louis and shared our ” unlimited dollar amount gift certificates” with them enjoying probably a $600 meal and then ending the evening in a horse drawn carriage around St. Louis. Within days she finally even told me that God told her she would be taking over what I was doing in the ministry. She was delusional. She thought every church she went to she was suppose to remove the pastor and be in charge and she continued that practice for quite a while. I just had no idea that she would turn on me, but I should have known by what she was doing becoming friends with pastors and then turning on them.
The common denominator in all of these is they were friends. I miss the last one more than I can say. I ran into her in a store this past year and told her how much I missed her because we had so much fun together and as I said we had so much in common we could have had a life-long friendship, but she didn’t reciprocate the feeling. She talked to me, but only about herself. She didn’t have one thing to say about me…not you are looking great, how are your kids…nothing. This shows that lack of empathy, probably a type of narcissism. There is nothing you can do to about it.
I remember our last meeting as we were separating. I was pleading with her to simply own what she had done. Tears falling from my eyes and she was cold as ice, not mean, just blank. I was getting to stay in leadership, she was being cast out. She was the one losing here, I was tearful losing her because I loved her despite what she had done and I still do to this day. I believe if she came to me and told me she wanted to be friends again, there is a high chance I would say “yes.” I would just be more guarded this time.
So what about you? You may not have to think too hard for these especially if you have gone through a divorce. That kind of betrayal is probably the worst. Someone you have completely shared your life with leaves you, stops loving you or falls in love with someone else.
Betrayal costs us. We stop trusting as easily. We can grow bitter about that person or the situation. We feel rejected. It has an encompassing negative impact on us the closer that person was to us.
This week we see Jesus betrayed by one of His inner circle. Judas.
This is one of the most disturbing things I ever had to deal with in the Bible. I hated that Judas chose money over his relationship with the One he knew to be the Messiah. I even more hated that he committed suicide. That is the only time I believe we read about suicide in the Bible. If you have ever known someone who has committed suicide, it is its own kind of betrayal. You are left wondering why and would anything you would have said or done prevented it.
We know Jesus knew about it.
“When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” Matthew 26 : 20 – 21
The disciples can’t believe what they are hearing and start asking Jesus, surely it is not I?
“Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Matthew 26 : 23 – 24
Then Judas, who has already made the deal with the high priests to hand Jesus over to them arrogantly says:
“Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Matthew 26 : 25
Jesus does not fool around, He simply replies:
“Jesus answered, “You have said so.” Matthew 26 : 25
You would think that having been exposed, Judas would have run out of the gathering. This is really a clue into the mindset of those who betray friends. They do not feel guilt at that time. Watch interviews on shows where they are searching for the killer of someone. The killer likes to put themselves into the situation as one who can help. They deny, deny, deny until the mounting evidence is undeniable…and even then some still deny. But there is a reason beyond human understanding that has helped me with the disturbing feelings I had had about this situation in the past.
“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.” Luke 22 : 3 – 4
It does not tell us whether Judas was greedy or what was going on with him prior to “Satan entering” so that still leaves a mystery but as we have learned in many of the previous devotions there are things we do against God that gives Satan license to influence us.
Jesus goes to Gethsemane to pray with a few of the 12, but they keep falling asleep instead of keeping watch and praying with Him.
“Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26 : 45 – 46
Can you imagine knowing what was coming and that it was going to happen because one of your trusted companions was going to set the ball rolling? Jesus could not run away. He could not start screaming at Judas. It was meant to unfold this way and Jesus had to endure ever painful moment.
“While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.” Matthew 26 : 47 – 49
Surely there was a sting that pierced Judas as Jesus said to him:
“Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Matthew 26 : 50
Betrayal seems to present itself as a one-sided sin. Someone does something against us so they are sinning. And it should end as a one-sided sin, however, our response to those who sin against us is equally important. Being deeply hurt by those we love is a wound that can truly plant seeds for sin to grow and spread in us turning us into something unrecognizable to those who love us.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4 : 30 – 32
In our Devotion One Word, we were reminded over and over through Scripture that we are to forgive, that we are to even love our enemies. That is truly the only way to avoid the trap of stooping down to another person’s level which makes us just as much a sinner in the situation as they are.
We can’t gossip about them. We can’t destroy their reputation. We can simply have no more to do with them and pray for them but move on.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5 : 3 – 5
We want to take down those who wrong us. We want to have our vengeance against them. We want to let the world know, we were right and they were wrong. But God says no.
“Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence;I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeanceseven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” Genesis 4 : 14 – 16
Through the most difficult week of Jesus life, knowing every second that lie before Him, He had to deal with betrayal from a friend. This is the kind of pain that can derail us from what we are about to accomplish. Jesus had to accept it, receive it, forgive it and keep His eyes on what He was here to accomplish.
If you have suffered betrayal and I am sure that you have. Examine your heart in regards to it and forgive. Let it go and heal. Anything we hold on to that is evil bears a deeper wound. There is nothing that evil can do against love. Love heals and cannot be moved.
*Write down any betrayals you have had in your life. What did it do to you?
*How have you dealt with the betrayals?
*Have you forgiven those who have betrayed you or are you harboring a grudge?
*Take time now to truly repent for your unforgiveness if you have held a grudge. Pray and ask for God to help you through each of the wounds that you have suffered and teach you how to move forward.
*Prepare yourself for the next time betrayal comes your way, because there is a high likelihood that it will. How will you react? What will be your response? Will it distract you from what you are doing and derail your progress?
Dearest Lord Jesus, we know You endured every temptation that we will ever face during your time on earth. Yet You did not sin. Our flesh is far too weak for that without Your strength and grace to guide us along each hurdle we will face. Help us to realize the opportunity to forgive and move forward and help us also to realize the moment we internalize a wound so we can stop right then and there and begin the process of healing it. Thank You for the cross, for the pain, for the torture You endured on our behalf. We would never have been able to handle it and without You doing it we would be forever separated from You. But because of Your love and obedience even unto death, we have the joy of knowing we have been bought back through Your redemptive blood spilled for us and we will live for an eternity in heaven with You. We worship You, we love and adore You Mighty to Save, Jesus. Amen.
Just a few more days and we will not be meeting here daily for this time with the Lord. I hope you will re-read and share these devotions as you are led to. I also hope you will continue to find the time to spend on your own with God’s Word, prayer, reflection and write down what He speaks to you through that time. I would love to hear about it. You can always email me, message me, or simply open any devotion and write a comment for years to come. Blessings,