Have you ever been betrayed by someone that you thought was a friend?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question for most of us is “yes.” Initially, we might say that it’s easy to turn our back on this person and end the relationship. And as feelings of anger begin to overflow, we throw our hands up and vow never to see or talk to that person again.
However, as time progresses, we soon realize that the emotional process is much more involved than simply walking away.
What Makes a Good Friend?
Let’s first examine the characteristics that we value in a friendship.
Some of the most important traits include: trust, respect, honor, compassion, and unconditional love. We come to rely on these traits and believe whole-heartedly that they will never do us harm or cause us pain.
As a relationship blossoms and strengthens, we find ourselves expecting our friends to act a certain way. It is this very reason that it is so painful when a friend deceives you.
Feelings of Betrayal
When a situation arises and we discover that a supposed friend has betrayed us, there are a variety of emotions that emerge.
The first is typically anger, and this is quickly followed by sadness. The process may also include feelings such as: resentment, worthlessness, depression, and even fear that this act will be repeated in other friendships.
Dealing with all of these emotions makes being backstabbed a very painful experience, and the after-effects may linger for a very long time.
The Process of Forgiveness
With all of the challenges that betrayal brings into our lives, one of the most difficult aspects following its occurrence is the act of forgiveness. The Bible has several verses instructing us to forgive others who have harmed us.
For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. —Matthew 6:14-15
While we try very hard to be good Christians and follow God’s Word, the concept of forgiving those who have deeply hurt us is one of the most difficult struggles that a person can overcome. As humans, we are capable of complete forgiveness.
However, in many instances you’ll hear a person say, “I can forgive them, but I will never forget”. If these words sound familiar to you, ask yourself if you are showing true forgiveness in the eyes of God.
As you recall, Jesus experienced a horrible betrayal by Judas, who was one of his Twelve Apostles. In exchange for silver coins, Judas exposed the identity of Jesus to the chief priests.
While he was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priest and elders of the people. Now he who betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, “Whoever I kiss, he is the one. Seize him.” Immediately he came to Jesus, and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, why are you here?” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. —Matthew 26:47-50
Jesus had predicted that this event would occur and even told Judas to do what he must. But, what isn’t documented in how this deceit affected Him. Jesus truly understands the depth of emotional pain that we feel when a person betrays us.
It requires an enormous amount of energy to harbor feelings of anger and resentment on a daily basis. For your own well-being, you have to find a way to let these emotions go.
If you are currently trying to come to peace after a recent betrayal, talk to Jesus. He will help you gather the strength necessary to move forward in your life.