Have you ever had anyone violate your trust or break a commitment or confidence? I mean not just anyone, but one you’ve invested a lot of trust in. I’m sure you have. We all have a portfolio that reflects who, and how much, trust we invest in people. The pain of betrayal can be measured then by the amount of our investment.
Some people have lots of friends and if they lose one, it’s not enough to sink their emotional boat. But, if one or more close friends turns on them, it can be devastating. If a brother, sister, parent, or spouse betrays us, the potential for long term bitterness is even greater if we are depending on our own strength to hold us up. Nothing shakes us more than being betrayed by the person we put all our trust in. Jesus knows this about us so He asks us to trust in Him.
When trust is broken at the highest level, we don’t only question all other relationships. We may also wonder about our own character. Jesus will allow us to experience betrayal as He did so that all we trust in, even ourselves, is exposed as flawed. Did you ever wonder why Jesus would choose Judas to be one of the 12 disciples? Jesus always did what the Father asked of Him (John 8:28), so we know that His choice was the will of the Father. Jesus poured Himself into the 12, including Judas. We don’t know if Jesus knew Judas would betray Him when He chose him, but He certainly knew when His betrayer approached Him in the garden like a snake, and chose to finalize his offense with a kiss. (Luke 22:47)
So, how should we respond when we are betrayed? In Matthew 26:50, Jesus addresses Judas as “friend” and asks him a piercing question, “Why have you come?” With all that Jesus was facing, He still was invested in this relationship. Jesus knew He would be betrayed by all men, including Judas. His response to betrayal was to have compassion on the one who succumbed to temptation. In Matthew 26:23, when making reference to the man who would betray Him, Jesus says, “It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” Jesus’ heart was broken for Judas. Sure, betrayal is ugly, but it is the betrayer that pays a greater price than the betrayed, and Jesus found no comfort in that. His trust was wholly in His Father, alone.
It’s not always easy to forgive, to rise above our hurt, and find compassion for the one who has betrayed us. We are stung when we are betrayed, no doubt about it, but if we see as Jesus did, that it is the betrayer that pays the bigger price, then compassion is easier to give. Because He knows us so well, our King is faithful to help us. In Matthew 5:44-46 Jesus says, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven. If you love those who love you, what reward do you have”?
If you are struggling with forgiving the one who turned on you, let the Holy Spirit soothe your heart, tender your thoughts, and help you to pray for them. You may soon find your heart filled with forgiveness and compassion and free to give His love. The power of His love is a bitterness neutralizer!
Carol Tirondola: Carol Tirondola is on staff with the Partner Care team at America’s Keswick. She and her best friend, Mario, have been married for 35 years. They have 2 sons and 2 daughters-in-law that they call their “BFFs.” They also have 7 precious gems called grandchildren. Her family has savored many memories of the heart made at Keswick over the last 35+ years and she is thrilled to serve on staff!