Thank you for joining me for the continuation of “7 Truths to Remember About Betrayal”! If you missed the first installments you can find them here:
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For today, I’m diving into the fact that life really isn’t fair. Betrayal stinks, but betrayal happens.
I remember 4th grade well. Mrs. Johnson had been one of my favorite teachers. I adored her. But one day things went very wrong. In front of the whole class, she asked me to stay in from recess. It was obvious by the look on her face that it wasn’t for something fun.
I was terrified. “What could this be about? What had I done?”
After the other children filed out of the room, she looked in my eyes and asked me why I disliked her so much. I stared at her with big blank eyes because it didn’t make sense at all! I adored her!
She pulled out my latest math paper. At the bottom was written, “I hate you, Mrs. Johnson.”
I couldn’t spit out the words fast enough. “I didn’t write that! I would never!” The tears fell quickly. I was already an accomplished people pleaser and approval addict, so the idea of displeasing my teacher wreaked havoc on my heart.
Mrs. Johnson wasn’t sure what to believe. She saw the writing (whoever wrote it did a great job of mimicking my handwriting). She also thought she knew my heart. Because of this she held off on consequences, however my parents were called in.
Eventually we did find the culprit. It was one of my closest friends. There had been a brokenness in her young little heart that I was too young to understand, and it had led her to betray me.
Life felt unfair in those moments. I’d been reprimanded and gossiped about, ultimately losing a friendship I thought was good. And I was right. More right than I could fully grasp at the time.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. –John 16:33 (NLT)
Acts of betrayal come in all shapes and sizes. Each with their own unique daggers to our hearts. They come when we are children and they come when we are adults.
But what do we do with all the rejection, hurt, and disappointment that results from being betrayed?
Our bodies have a physiological response to perceived harm. It is referred to as an Acute Stress Response or the Fight or Flight Response. Of course, our natural instinct toward this response varies dependent on a multitude of factors, including the type, time, and duration of the trauma. But, essentially when we are caught off guard and betrayed, our physiologic response is to get as far away from the situation as we can, or fight the situation with all we’ve got.
Fight or Flight may be our natural response, but I don’t think it’s the response God desires for us. It places a wall between us and others making relationships unhealthy. It puts us in hyper-alert status and it lets fear take over.
Wherever you are afraid, Jesus is not King. – Jamie Winship
Fear tells us running away is good. Maybe if we are careful enough, we will be capable of avoiding betrayal ever again. It lies and tells us avoiding hurt is possible. Retreating from our dreams – from relationship – from love is really not all that bad.
Fear also tells us if we fight back or maybe even fight first, we can stop betrayal in its tracks. It tries to convince us we can live happily with our walls of steel firmly in place, ensuring we never fully feel the love of others or of Christ.
But, those are lies and lies come from the author of lies. The enemy who desires to steal our dreams and steal our joy. The enemy who desires to keep us from living out our purpose.
As followers of Christ, we have another option.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
We can unconditionally accept the fact that life is not fair and injustice happens. We cannot avoid it nor is it in our power to stop betrayal.
When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Romans 5:12
It is only in our power to trust that God will walk us through it.
When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2
Oh, how my heart wants to shield you from the hurt of betrayal. I wish I could stop the unavoidable. Friends, I know that God’s promise is true. When He says He will walk with us, we can believe it!
But we have to hold onto Him. We have to do our part. It’s not ever easy, but God uses all things for good and I am living proof that He makes us better in ways we could never imagine. He showers blessings where we would never have looked. And He works through us to weave our story into the lives of others where we would never believe weaving could be a possibility.
What is our part, though? For me, my part looked like the intentional pursuit of these 5 strategies.
- Know who God says I am. I am a child of the King and not a product of betrayal. My identity is in Him.
- Unconditionally accept that betrayal is an inevitable part of life, but because I am a child of God, I will be okay no matter what.
- Abide in Him. The world may say they do or do not love me, but in the shadow of God’s wings I am always met by His unfailing love.The world may say they do or do not love me, but in the shadow of God’s wings I am always met by His unfailing love… Click To Tweet
- Live bravely. God designed me uniquely to live out a purpose. While pursuing that purpose, I must heed His warnings, drawing needed boundaries. But also, feel and obey His nudge to passionately invest in the lives of those He places before me.
- Pray for my betrayer.
I wanted to have something tangible for you to take away from this post. Although there is scripture here in this post, I didn’t want the verses to come from just me. I wanted them to come from real live people who have been and currently are in times of hurt and disappointment. So I asked my Facebook friends to share with me those verses they hold close to their hearts. I took 17 of those and made them into printable scripture cards. Each is the size of a business card so you can place them in your wallet. Click here and you will be able to print all 17 of them if you so choose. I’m not asking for you to subscribe or follow me (although that would be great, of course!). I just want you to have these close to you. There is power in speaking God’s Word out loud. The enemy runs when we do.
I pray you are blessed and empowered to face betrayal with courage and confidence!
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