Most of us have experienced the wrenching pain of betrayal. Psalm 41:9 echoes this from the life of David, “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared meals with me, has turned against me.” How do we deal with this kind of disappointment, this painful experience, this broken trust in a way that doesn’t damage God’s kingdom nor our relationship with Him.
One tempting way is to share my hurt with others and broaden the exposure and extent of the betrayal. We garner support for our perspective and attempt to justify even our anger and attitude. How many personal conflicts have escalated to community-wide conflicts and left longtime scars as a result. Let’s consider David. Though anointed by God as the future king, he spent years fleeing for his life from King Saul. He provides an example of how to deal with the pain of betrayal.
His model of pouring out his honest heart to God is one we can safely follow. His confidence for vindication lies in his confidence in God. "By this I know that you are pleased with me,for my enemy does not triumph over me. As for me, you uphold me because of my integrity; you allow me permanent access to your presence." Psalms 41:11-12. The lament Psalms put words around a broken heart and draw us to confidence in God’s vindication rather than taking it ourselves. We don’t deny the pain, but seek comfort from our confidence in Him.
Peter also instructs us from the life of jesus in I Peter 2:19-25. In His greatest suffering Jesus entrusted Himself to the Father who judges righteously.
Having acknowledged the hurt and cried out to God we are able to be silent and trust Him for vindication Also, we are prepared to deal with what is likely necessary, forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t make the offender right, but it sets me free. The deeper the hurt, the more frequent the need for forgiveness.
Jesus understands the sorrow of betrayal and He comforts us in ours. As we enter the Lenten season, let's remember that part of His suffering was the failure of His friends.