Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me,” (Psalm 41:9, KJV).
By definition, betrayal cannot happen with an enemy. Betrayal can only happen within the context of a trusted relationship. Betrayal is usually a deliberate breach of trust. It’s not an “oops” within relationships by which we injure someone morally. When our closest friends, family, and peers betray our trust it is a very damaging breach that can be nearly impossible to repair. The betrayal of trust is not something that usually happens accidentally. It’s deliberate, and it has great consequence, bringing a terminable end.
There are times when relationships end. That is not necessarily wrong or bad. We can bestow peace upon those we no longer have fellowship with. Sometimes there are irreconcilable differences, and we just need to move on. We may love that person dearly, but a close relationship is not realistic or possible. And some relationships just naturally drift apart. We grow and separate. It’s very natural. But there are times when people viciously turn for reasons that are inspired by evil. That’s what we are talking about here. When someone turns on you, it’s called “the lifting of the heel”. Again, we can turn away from people for many reasons, some which are necessary and justified. But then there is betrayal.
The lifting of the heel. This is a Hebraic expression. They’ve turned on you. They’ve walked away. They’ve cast their back to you. They’ve forsaken you. They’ve put you behind them. They’ve cast you away like the dust from their shoes. They’ve broken fellowship and trust. They’ve set themselves against you as an enemy.
They have betrayed you.
Betrayal is an extraordinarily gross, evil, and grievous sin. As we will soon discover, betrayal can often incur a curse, and at times even bring a curse of death. Within this one sin so many others operate. It’s extraordinarily dark and very deceptive. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in suffering betrayal. The most godly people in the Bible suffered horrific and cruel betrayals, including our LORD Jesus Christ. These people, as we will see, were some of the most anointed and righteous individuals in God’s Kingdom. They were the cream of the crop — and they were betrayed.
Betrayal happens in various ways and to various degrees. Regardless of how it happens, it can have devastating consequences by which relationships end. People devise, plan, scheme, and plot. People stab you in the back, and they defame your character and reputation. They take action against you and speak words contrary to the love and devotion they once professed.
Get ready. We’re going to unpack this.
In this post we’re going to discuss the height, depth, and breadth of betrayal, why it happens, and how to handle it biblically. We’re also going to discuss the absolute critical importance of being faithful, loyal, and trustworthy. These virtues are the bedrock of any close relationship. Therefore, within this context it’s imperative that we cover them biblically, giving proper weight to their significance against this horrific sin.
Biblical Examples of Betrayal
Many people in the word of God were betrayed; small and great alike. In this post, we’re going to discuss some of the majors. I’m going to give you the scriptures as a reference. Some of these stories are lengthy, but are very worthwhile. I encourage you to read them when you can.
Joseph Betrayed by His Brethren | Genesis 37 – 50
Motivation & Manifestation: Offense → Jealousy → Hatred → Murder | Repentance Granted
Joseph was betrayed by his brethren and sold into Egyptian slavery because of their intense jealousy. After receiving two dreams from God, which Joseph bragged about to his brethren, they plotted to kill him. Joseph’s brothers confessed hatred for him to the degree that murder seemed the only right way to avenge themselves. However, they instead chose to sell him and lied to their father, concocting a plan that made his death entirely believable. They carefully devised a plot of great deception, dipping Joseph’s coat of many colors, by which his father Jacob favored him, into blood, producing false evidence by which Jacob was deceived. The grief Jacob bore at the hands of his sons nearly killed him.
For all practical purposes, his brethren murdered him. That was a sin they committed in their hearts unanimously. Albeit, they never spilled his actual blood. But their desire was not just to kill Joseph. They wanted to kill his dreams as well. They could have never known or conceived that their plot was precisely what God used to fulfill Joseph’s dreams. In this instance we must realize a painful and mysterious truth: God can and does use betrayal in the lives of His children to perform His will in the earth.
Joseph suffered injustice for more than a decade before he became the renowned “Savior” by whom God spared the entire region during famine and drought. In the end Joseph’s brethren wept with repentance, falling upon his neck. Joseph embraced them in the fear of God. They were forgiven, reinstated, and eventually fulfilled the promise prophesied to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Joseph’s dreams came to pass. The word of the LORD was fulfilled. The story of Joseph and his brethren is told within Genesis, accounting for the weightiest portion of the entire book. I’d reckon this story is important.
King David Betrayed by Saul and Absalom | 1 & 2 Samuel
Motivation & Manifestation: Jealousy → Fear → Hatred → Rage → Insanity → Curse of Death | No repentance
David suffered at the hands of several betrayers during his lifetime, hence our opening scripture, of whom two are most notable: Saul, and his own son Absalom. Both were motivated by intense jealousy.
By the time David slew Goliath as a young shepherd boy God had already removed the Holy Spirit from Saul and anointed David as King. Saul was given an evil spirit from the LORD which tormented him. But David received accolades of praise, gaining a great following in Israel. Saul’s betrayal of David was motivated by fear and jealousy. These emotions were so fierce and intense he devised to kill David. Saul became increasingly tormented, seeking David’s ministry for relief. But his hand quickly turned, hunting David like a dog for more than a decade.
Saul was cursed by God. The kingdom was taken from him, along with the Holy Spirit, and in the end he fell upon his own sword. David wept for Saul, and having had numerous opportunities to avenge himself, he never touched the one whom he termed “God’s anointed”.
David’s son Absalom also betrayed him. Absalom was David’s third and most favored son who contended for the right to inherit the kingdom. Absalom understood the promise of God to David, and David bestowed upon him great favor. He was incredibly handsome, vain, and openly enjoyed the royal privileges bestowed upon him by his father. To Absalom’s demise, Solomon was to inherit the throne of David instead. In rabid jealousy Absalom plotted against his father with his own army of men. This was in fulfillment of God’s curse upon David’s house for his sin against Uriah and adultery with Bathsheba. God said the sword would not depart from David’s house. David was so grieved he found it impossible to fight against Absalom, giving command to his men not to touch him. But God took matters into His own hands in David’s stead. Absalom was hung by his own hair — a symbol of his vanity — in the midst of battle, being entangled in a tree. As such, Joab took opportunity and settled the score, striking Absalom in the heart three times. David never slew his son, but grieved for him so deeply it deposed him of kingdom duties for a season. David suffered betrayal indeed, and as a just punishment he lost his most beloved son whom God made his archenemy. But Absalom, who contented for the kingdom, was also cursed by God in striving against his father David who was God’s chosen servant whom He called after His very own heart.
By the time Absalom died, David was entering his golden years. David never sinned against God again and faithfully passed the kingdom into Solomon’s hands. But the sword did not depart from his house — even unto the piercing of Jesus Christ our Messiah upon His cross.
Apostle Paul Betrayed by the Church in Asia | The Epistles
Motivation & Manifestation: Deception → Hatred → Heresy → Cursed | No repentance
Paul, who was chosen and appointed by Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus became the twelfth official apostle. By the LORD’s sovereign choosing he filled the vacant seat of Judas Iscariot, referencing himself as the apostle who was one “untimely born”. In this manner Paul fulfilled the prophecy as the one who took his office in Psalm 109:8. It took three years for the apostles to receive him, confirm him as such, granting irrevocable trust in his call to the ministry, mainly due to the fact that Paul persecuted the church so vehemently and violently. In all this Paul understood his own betrayal and had repented, esteeming himself as the “chief of sinners” for persecuting the church of God.
One of the most notable betrayals Paul suffered came at the end of his ministry after years of intense and tedious labor in Asia. We can only imagine the depth of pain this kind of betrayal must have brought after Paul’s investment. He speaks to Timothy of this plight:
14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well,” (2 Timothy 1:14-18, KJV).
This betrayal is unfortunate and shocking considering what Paul had previously declared here in 1 Corinthians:
19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
20 All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.
21 The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.
22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.
23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen. (The first epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi by Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus and Timotheus.)” (1 Corinthians 16:19-24, KJV).
Here we see brotherly affection, kindness, and a kindred spirit with which Paul fondly saluted and expressly greeted the Corinthian church on behalf of his brethren in Asia. How did such a betrayal happen?
Through Phygellus and Hermogenes. They were heretics who led all the people astray — the entire church.
This is a lesson on impact and influence. Just one or two rogue people can bring about devastating effects within the Body of Christ, which is why Paul expressly taught the churches the critical necessity of bringing rebuke, reproof, and correction to believers when sin and error are known or evident. Heresy can spread like cancer in the Body of Christ if it’s not biblically halted. In this manner Paul discipled his son Timothy, who would continue the work in his stead. Paul trained him well. He knew his time had come to depart, for his offering was at hand. One of the most critical parts of discipleship is the rebuke of sin and the reproof of error. We must learn to bring biblical correction, exposing sin and error in the Body of Christ in a biblical manner. We are obligated to expose darkness with light. And we must learn how to properly disciple others with the Word of God.
The persecutions and tribulations of Paul were many and varied. He spoke of and expounded upon them often in his many epistles. Such betrayal is to be expected in the life of any true believer. Christ promised persecution and tribulation for His followers. But Paul was frequently betrayed in ministry by those who worked closely with him in the Gospel and was no stranger to the pain, grief, and vast damage it caused. He suffered horribly — not only at the hands of his persecutors, but by those whom he intimately trusted and served — his own brethren. There are numerous individuals mentioned in his letters of whom he deftly warned others, telling them God would repay them justly, and recompense him as well. Paul trusted God in all his betrayals to see justice served. He never took it upon himself to act. He did however, warn others of the threats and dangers of such individuals, and was transparent in his dealings with them. He both disclosed what had been done and also dropped their names. Paul was faithful to warn and expose darkness with light.
What is to be noted with even greater severity is that Paul openly spoke of the curse — the anathema that would befall those who betrayed the Gospel and the LORD whom he served. He was so absolute in the matter that he spoke it twice. This holds an even greater significance biblically. When something is spoken twice, it is assured. When it is spoken three times, it bears God’s signature upon it.
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed,” (Galatians 1:6-9, KJV).
Jesus Christ Betrayed by Judas, the Son of Perdition | Matthew 27, Luke 22, John 13
Motivation & Manifestation: Lust → Greed → Curse of Death | No repentance
Of all the betrayals in the Bible, none stands taller than that of Judas Iscariot. What makes Judas’ betrayal so gross is that he walked with Jesus Christ, knew Him intimately, and was loved by Him as a trusted friend. Jesus called him ‘friend’, and Judas betrayed him with a kiss.
Judas Iscariot was born for a purpose. He was prophesied and therefore, required fulfillment:
2 For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.
3 They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.
4 For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.
5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
6 Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.
7 When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.
8 Let his days be few; and let another take his office,” (Psalm 109:2-8, KJV).
12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD,” (Zechariah 11:12-13, KJV).
When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed the following:
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled,” (John 17:12, KJV).
This is significant. Jesus Christ could have fallen into the hands of the Pharisees by any number of ways. But God saw it fit to deliver His own Son by betrayal — and not just any betrayal, but betrayal by one of His very own — one of His chosen. Jesus knew from the beginning who would believe and who would betray Him.
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him,” (John 6:64, KJV).
Judas was the one in charge of the funds that came into the ministry of our Messiah, Jesus Christ. We are told he kept the moneybag and was a thief who stole from it (see John 12:3-6). Judas railed against the lavish anointing of Mary of Bethany, not because he was concerned with waste, but because he was a thief filled with greed.
One of the most prominent characteristics by which betrayal is enacted is deception. Those who betray inherently deceive others. Their hearts are dark. They do not speak the truth to the person with whom they have a trusted relationship. They hide. They lie. They manipulate. They deceive. They divide. They devise things in darkness and in secret. When you see this kind of secretive behavior, and it’s inappropriate to issues of genuine privacy, beware of these people. When considering this context, we often wonder why Judas would be chosen by Jesus as a disciple. But when we study him, he was the one predestined specifically for that purpose. Therefore, he is known as the son of perdition — a term Jesus used when referencing him in prayer.
On the night of His betrayal our LORD said the following during the last supper (Passover):
18 I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me.
19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
22 Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.
23 Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.
24 Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.
25 He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?
26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly,” (John 13:18-27, KJV, emphasis mine).
48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast.
49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.
50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him,” (Matthew 26:48-50, KJV).
In the very hour of His betrayal we see Jesus echoing the very words of David in Psalm 41:9. It’s not a mistake. This was prophecy being fulfilled. Judas was considered a trusted friend who betrayed him with a kiss who fulfilled an integral part of our Messiah’s suffering and death. Jesus indeed calls him ‘friend’ in verse 50. The fact that this betrayal took place in the very breaking of bread, which was Messiah’s flesh and blood, on the Passover, made the betrayal all the more significant. Jesus Christ suffered a brutal betrayal. We all wonder how Judas could have done such a thing — until we understand that it was for this purpose he was destined.
How fearful it is to be chosen and predestined of the LORD for such evil
as to betray His only begotten Son unto death.
As followers of Jesus Christ we will suffer betrayal as well. But when we know the LORD intimately He can and will guide us in our relationships if we let Him. Just as He knew who would betray Him from the beginning, so we we can know as well. We can be spared. We can know people by the Holy Spirit through the discerning of spirits. He can reveal to us the hearts of men with whom we yoke — who will be faithful to us and who will betray us. If we listen closely and follow Him, He will spare us great suffering. But in the instance that He allows us to experience betrayal, we need to know how to navigate this issue biblically. There is no one better to teach us than our LORD Jesus Christ who was so cruelly betrayed.
What should be most worthily noted is that Judas experienced grief at his end. Once the deed was done, his eyes were opened. Satan had accomplished through him the task at hand. Surprisingly he did not have a completely hardened or seared conscience. He was still tender enough to experience contrition and show remorse for his actions by which he openly confessed his sins. But he confessed to the wrong people — the Pharisees who plotted with him. He even cast away the silver. But He never showed the same remorse toward God.
Here’s the key: In Judas Iscariot we see remorse and even contrition. But he was never granted repentance. He killed himself by hanging and suffered a gruesome end.
Judas was cursed. The anathema Paul speaks of had fallen upon him.
In these biblical examples of betrayal, God used these evil men to perform His will in the lives of His elect, many times for the greater good of mankind. Although these betrayers were filled with a lust for power, influence, money, and greed, God used them as instruments to fulfill His divine purpose and will in the earth. How fearful it is to be used of God for evil. Rest assured: His reward for sin never changes. It always brings the curse of death.
What is Betrayal and Why Does It Happen?
There are seven things to be succinctly noted about betrayal:
1.) It’s intentional — not accidental. It comes with deliberate action, ready will, full knowledge, and clear intent.
2.) There is always deception at play. It lurks deep within the hearts and devices of those who betray. There are schemes, plots, and plans devised skillfully in secret. Those things which are devised in darkness are intentionally hidden. Betrayers might lie. But more commonly they withhold information.
3.) In every instance we see betrayal is driven by lust of some kind. There is a lust for power, influence, greed, and the like.
4.) Betrayal is predicated by offense and operates by jealousy, hatred, rage, and fear (often this is a fear of the loss of power or influence). Any one of these can motivate or instigate an act of betrayal.
5.) In several instances the betrayer was directly influenced by Satan (Saul and Judas both had been taken captive by Satan to do his will). Evil spirits always operate in betrayal, whether or not they are known or acknowledged.
6.) In nearly every instance (with the exception of Joseph) relationships end irrevocably and the betrayer suffers a horrible end, often justly enacted by God Himself. In several instances that end meant a gruesome death where no repentance was offered.
7.) Betrayal can ultimately bring a curse unless there is repentance.
Betrayal is not new. It’s been going on for generations. However, it will escalate as we grow closer to the return of Christ. This is what He says of the end times:
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved,” (Matthew 24:9-13, KJV, emphasis mine).
Offense often plays a key part in betrayal. Let’s talk about this element for a moment. As the Day approaches we need to be more on guard against offense and betrayal than ever before. It is becoming rampant right now, and it’s even infecting the Body of Christ. Let’s understand that offense usually precedes betrayal, which gives way to hatred. When hatred is mature, love is no longer evident. It has waxed cold. When love grows cold people will inevitably fall away. They will not be able to endure unto the end. And if they can’t endure unto the end, they’re not going to be saved. Therefore, we must guard against offense and preserve love. We must learn to abide in God’s love at all costs (see John 15:10). God will never wink at offense, and He will never endorse betrayal. These are not trite matters. They are extraordinarily serious having very grave consequences.
If someone is not mature enough in the LORD to know how to navigate an offense or betrayal with forgiveness, the offense can actually plunge someone into a deprived state whereby they are ensnared by unforgiveness. Anyone who remains in unforgiveness cannot be forgiven. That is a critical spiritual state we are all called to remedy with urgency. This is why God calls the offender to seek out the offended with the goal of restoration (see Matthew 5:23-24). We absolutely cannot diminish someone’s offense against us — regardless of how small or insignificant it may seem. We must hearken. We must respond — with sensitive hearts toward God and pursue peace with that individual as much as it depends upon us.
The LORD is very protective of His young. When we fail to respond to an offense (which can lead to hatred and betrayal), we give opportunity for unforgiveness to take root in that individual. Those who offend God’s lambs and His sheep will suffer grave consequences. He makes that clear in Matthew 18:1-7 by setting the little child in their midst. Christ was giving us a very clear image of how seriously He takes the care of His lambs. He is not speaking about mere earthly children, but the spiritual babes who are in the Body of Christ.
We are never to betray someone’s solemn or intimate trust. We are called to be faithful, good, and wise servants of our God — not only unto Him, but unto our brethren.
Love always does what is in the best interest of others. It is never selfish. We are all stewards of one another’s souls.
If we’re going to endure to the end
we must learn to abide in God’s love at all costs.
How to Biblically Handle Betrayal
When there are issues in relationships, we are called to address them openly, bringing all things into light by which most issues can be reconciled. God is expert in restoration and reconciliation. That is always His foremost desire. He is rich in and deeply loves mercy and forgiveness. These are covenant acts. Betrayal of someone’s trust is never an option in accomplishing God’s will, satisfying our own desires, or securing our own needs.
Betrayal can be complicated because of the spirit operating within it. This is truly a devastating sin that brings a nearly irreparable breach in the spirit. It may be forgiven, but is rarely reconciled. Miracles are required in the event of betrayals. It’s not to say reconciliation cannot happen. But it is not common. It’s the exception rather than the rule precisely because the sin of betrayal hosts many other sins which are not easily overcome or readily repented. With that said, reconciliation is not always appropriate, which the scripture makes clear (see Matthew 18:15-17). Sometimes we can and should let go and walk away for the sake of peace. It is to be noted, those who will not hearken to the grief of their brethren and repent are to be treated as ‘heathens’.
That is a sad and scary state of affairs.
15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican,” (Matthew 18:15-17, KJV).
If we are considered heathens, we are no longer partakers of salvation. We have forfeited an opportunity to repent. We have corrupted ourselves with deceit and have forfeited the gifts of God’s peace and restoration. If you have offended someone — anyone — and they come to you with the intent of making your offense known, you have an obligation in the LORD to hear them, and to do your utmost to repent with the goal of reconciliation. In the very least, peace should be achieved even if the relationship cannot be rightly saved. Forgiveness should bring restoration (that of repentance toward God) even if reconciliation is not appropriate or mutually desired. Both individuals should be restored unto God through repentance and peace, even if they are not ultimately reconciled unto each other. We should always seek to restore one another in repentance toward God, even if our relationship with each other cannot be reconciled.
Although you are the one betrayed, let it serve as a solemn reminder of how painful wounds can be. God never endorses or grants us permission to wound another person. Most relational incidents that cause us pain are not malicious in nature. They are infractions that can and should be forgiven and healed quite readily, or even dismissed. Betrayal is not in that category of offenses. Betrayal is indeed malicious and it comes with extraordinary consequences that require deep longstanding and proven repentance. Although it may be sought or granted, and entirely possible, such repentance is biblically rare and uncommonly achieved. This is why the sin of betrayal against anyone should be taken seriously. It requires extraordinary measures.
Betrayal is evil.
Betrayal brings an incredible wound. It is devastating. Its depth is felt so deeply and is so painful precisely because trust is truly at the core of any healthy relationship. When we trust people we become vulnerable with them and to them. Depending on the relationship, whether it be a solemn friendship or the covenant of marriage, such vulnerabilities can go to extraordinary depths spiritually, emotionally, mentally, sexually, financially, and even socially. They reach the center of who we are. We allow them to see not only our strengths, but our weaknesses. We share intimate things with the hopes and expectations they will steward them wisely and bestow upon us the same reciprocate trust. When that trust is breached it can likened to experiencing a divorce.
Your expectations for recovery should be realistic. Betrayal is perhaps the deepest of any wound incurred. The pain of betrayal is something from which we may, but often do not heal quickly. It hits us at our very core, not only emotionally, but morally. It is indeed a moral injury that can take years to heal and from which to fully recover. Despite that completed healing, betrayal leaves scars. It engraves its gory mark. Although we must choose to forgive, the pain may last quite a long time. So be generous and kind with yourself. We are all very different people, and if you’re sensitive in nature, you will need to give yourself time to process this grievance and come to terms with the outcome. Your journey will be unique to you. Seek God for healing, rely upon His faithfulness, and continue to walk in faithfulness yourself.
God calls us to forgive, do good to our enemies, bless those who curse us,
and to rejoice when we suffer for His name’s sake.
He calls us to be as shrewd as a serpent, and as harmless as a dove.
If you have confronted your betrayer with your pain according to Matthew 18:15-17 do not be surprised if they fail to acknowledge it or repent. In fact, they may even justify it. Betrayal is an incredibly deceitful evil that is rarely readily recognized by the one committing the act. This is why David had to be confronted by Nathan the prophet when he betrayed Uriah. He was so steeped in sin he could not even see what He had done. Let’s revisit that text so we can better understand how deeply dark betrayal truly is.
1 And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor.
2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds:
3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.
4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him.
5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:
6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
7 And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul;
8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.
9 Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
10 Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
11 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.
13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.
14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die,” (2 Samuel 12:1-14, KJV).
This sin could have cost David his life. As we have learned from before, betrayal brings a curse. David had dug himself into a pit on this one. It is quite likely that David would not have been able to come out of this on his own had Nathan not come to him. He had been taken captive by the dark sin of betrayal to such a degree that only the prophet could open his eyes. David was ultimately restored to God. He repented in fasting and weeping. But he still suffered the chastisement and punishment of God and learned a grave lesson in the process. Although David did not die, God required the life of his child.
Psalm 51 recounts to us David’s pain and repentance which says,
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me,” (Psalm 51:10-11, KJV).
David knew that God could have cursed him and taken the Holy Spirit from him, even has He did Saul. David understood the sin of betrayal and its consequence. Let us understand, David was a man fashioned after God’s own heart and was mercifully granted the opportunity to repent. God knew how to reach David’s darkness with His light, and David responded with deep genuine repentance. Like so many others, David’s sin of betrayal was instigated by the familiar spirits of lust and jealousy.
Do not be surprised, however, if your betrayer does not respond in like manner as David did when you confront them. The betrayer may only grow more enraged, and their hatred may intensify. The attack can ensue and be quite vicious. This behavior only confirms the spirit by which they are operating. It also hastens and furthers the injury for the victim, lending to a much deeper wound and an even greater shock. Be careful. Guard your heart. When we are betrayed by others there can be a temptation to act in kind with a desire for vindication, justice, and even retribution — all which can seem very just. Learn to walk away just as the scripture says. Understand that you are dealing with someone to whom God likens as a ‘heathen’.
The pain can bring about very strong emotions that are not necessarily godly or righteous although they may appear good. God does not give us such permissions. He is the One who vindicates us and He is the One who enacts justice. He calls us to forgive, do good to our enemies, bless those who curse us, and to rejoice when we suffer for His name’s sake (see Matthew 5:10-12).
17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him,” (Proverbs 24:17-18, KJV).
He calls us to be as shrewd as a serpent, and as harmless as a dove (see Matthew 10:16). That’s not easy to do and it requires divine strength to perform obediently. The Holy Spirit enables us to walk in His wisdom, grace, and forgiveness, and He is the One who will ultimately heal our broken hearts. Being able to trust again comes with time.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good,” (Romans 12:14-21, KJV).
God will not let your betrayal go to waste. He will use it in your life to teach you valuable things. God will use this pain to ultimately make you a richer wiser person. You’ll be sharper, keener, and most importantly — you’ll become a more faithful and trustworthy individual yourself. Your character and integrity should be exponentially greater once you succeed the devastation of betrayal.
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust,” (Matthew 5:43-45, KJV).
One of the most constructive things we can do with a betrayal is learn from it. What is God trying to teach us? He exposes darkness with His light. Absolutely. But there is more. Betrayal is a very expensive but valuable lesson that teaches us how to determine the depths of character in other people, and it highlights how critically important integrity is within any relationship. It shows us what red flags to never excuse or overlook again, and how to better judge someone’s temperament, personality, and character. It also teaches us patience in our relationships. It takes time to get to truly know someone. Never rush. Although relationships can often take off with a bang and bring a lot of initial excitement, we should always measure ourselves with what we share, and how readily we become vulnerable to another individual. Enjoy them, yes. But lending them your solemn trust should come over time as new circumstances and situations reveal their true character. “Date” this person awhile. Don’t “marry” so quickly. Watch what they do. Listen to what they say. When their actions and words are incongruent, that is always a red flag. On the other hand, people who abide by their word, who consistently demonstrate responsible, trustworthy, and reliable behaviors are commonly people of good moral character — whether they are a believer or not. That is always a good place to begin when judging character and determining relationships.
Your character and integrity should be exponentially greater
once you succeed the devastation of betrayal.
Give yourself grace and time to heal. Don’t expect this wound to disappear quickly. Choosing to forgive your enemies is an act of your will — not an emotion. It’s an act of obedience that God will honor, regardless of what you may be feeling. Your decision to forgive will give room for God to bring about the healing in your heart you so desperately need. He understands your emotions of anger, grief, shock, sadness, and even confusion. Betrayal is devastating. Understanding why someone betrays us can often bewilder us, and even cripple us in a way that paralyzes our minds. We just cannot figure it out. We can’t sort it. It’s a tangled mess. Remember, betrayal operates in darkness. It’s cloaked in deception of some kind. So only God can truly reveal the motivations behind it. In time, if He so chooses, He will reveal those to you if need be. But if it’s going to cause you an even greater pain, or create further injury, He may not reveal the dark secrets so quickly.
Do not go back to a betrayer. Reconciliation can stop at forgiveness. That is sufficient. Let’s be very clear: Once you’ve been betrayed, you have a known enemy. This is no longer your trusted friend. This is a huge relational shift that despite being forgiven, should be reconciled with great caution. Let the betrayer go. Don’t run after them.
Those who betray have deep character flaws you cannot remedy. Most often these are deeply injured or wounded individuals who are insecure, and who do not have the coping mechanisms, internal structures, resources, or integrity to make sound godly decisions. They are easily influenced, led astray, and they operate on a different plane of thought, having motives that can be very selfish, superficial, and wholly carnal. People who betray others are not stable solid individuals. They are not spiritually mature people who are able to navigate life successfully. They are not led by the Holy Spirit. They are double-minded men who are tossed with wind and waves. So, although they may repent to you later seeking forgiveness, displaying genuine remorse, be incredibly cautious of allowing them back into your life. Betrayers have very dark hearts that are given easily to deceit. Accept their apology readily, grant them lavish grace, and bid them your peace. But do not open the door. That would be a detriment you cannot afford, and it would be one you may regret the rest of your life. These are not faithful people, and they cannot and should not be trusted.
Do not go back to a betrayer.
Reconciliation can stop at forgiveness. That is sufficient.
Cultivating the Virtue of Faithfulness
Jesus said that He knew what was in man, and did not entrust Himself to man (see John 2:24-25). God ultimately is our Trust. He is the only One who is wholly Faithful and True, who is so deserving of our trust and faithfulness. One of the most common themes King David wrote about in the Psalms was his unwavering trust in the LORD.
Nothing will teach us the value of faithfulness and trust like a betrayal. Cultivating that in our lives is not easy to do with mankind. So we must learn to do it with God. When we make God our solemn trust, He will enable us to navigate our relationships with precision. He will keep and guard us from people who are less than worthy of appropriate trust. Not only will He warn us, He will reveal things before they happen so we can escape them. He will keep us from the snare of the fowler, the wolf in sheep’s clothing, and the masquerading angel of light. In like manner, He will also show you who is genuine and worthy of your trust — people with whom you can begin to establish a healthy fortified and faithful relationship.
With His help you’ll know how to form appropriate bonds of trust, and to what depth. You’re not going to be vulnerable to the degree that you become ensnared, harmed, wounded, injured, or deceived. He will show you appropriate boundaries, and how to navigate relationships wisely.
When you make God your solemn trust, He will enable you to
navigate your relationships with precision.
No one can teach us faithfulness like the LORD. He is the ultimate Trust, for He calls Himself by this name: Faithful and True (see Revelation 19:11). I love that, and you should, too. That is a name we all deeply desire, and He absolutely cannot be unfaithful to you. So when we learn faithfulness from Him, making Him our solemn trust, we can stop having unrealistic expectations from man. Trusting in the LORD is one of the most healing, comforting, and secure things you’ll ever know in life. He is truly our greatest Friend who will never leave or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5).
When we trust in the LORD we learn His ways, and how He relates to people. He is our greatest example. He not only gives the command to love, but teaches us how to do that successfully. When we consider what we’ve learned from Him we are better able to practice and apply His ways in our own relationships. As believers we should become people of incredible depth of integrity, character, and refined trust for others. We should be faithful loyal people despite the fallacies of others that may come our way. Becoming a trustworthy person of faithfulness will earn you a reputation that is blameless in the LORD. You will become a vessel of honor in His house, and in turn God will bestow His trust upon you as well. He will be able to entrust you with delicate situations and the stewardship of souls. Not everyone is able to handle the things of the kingdom with such care. God is looking to and fro throughout the earth for those whose hearts are perfect toward Him. He delights in those who trust Him, fear Him, and who honor Him.
God is looking for those whom He can trust and bestow stewardship. There is never an excuse to betray the trust of anyone.
As believers we should become people of incredible depth of integrity, character,
and refined trust.
Please hear this well and please understand the precious intent of this statement: Don’t you dare betray the trust of anyone. Fear the LORD and do right by your fellow man.
If anything will prove us, betrayal will do it. As we have seen, the greater the calling; the greater the betrayal that often followed. Endure. Forgive. Seek and pursue peace. But also be very ready and willing to walk away and move on. God can use the betrayal in your life to sanctify you for His use. He calls us to be faithful, wise, and good servants who will one day hear Him say,
Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord,” (Matthew 25:23, KJV).
Cheers & Shalom,
Image Credit: falco | Pixabay
Post updated: June 21, 2021
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