Betrayal is a nasty little thing that we all have to deal with at some point in our lives – if you’re living in the modern age. The word ‘betray’ is mentioned something like 18 times in the bible. And while betrayal can take many forms (pending the relationship and the person), it really boils down to a single fact: someone traded something you valued. If you valued feeling “safe” because their presence meant acceptance, and then they begin to treat you like the ‘others’ who don’t accept you; one would feel betrayed.
So how do we get around this feeling? How do we deal with this very REAL but very NASTY emotion? The easiest route, sadly, is just to avoid it. However, that’s not realistic. We can’t predict how people will treat us. We CAN sow seeds of good will and kindness, but at the end of the day, we just do NOT know how people will react to us. So when you look at the bible for some context clues, we may be able to understand how we’re supposed to deal with this, when it arrives and decides to sit in our lap.
The first instance is David, where he’s being met by his countrymen. He doesn’t know, though, if he’s there to help him, or betray him. The first thing is he says is “may God judge you.” I found this very interesting. He doesn’t say may God deal with you. To point, he is very exact; he doesn’t say may God help me crush you. He simply leaves it in God’s hands. What happens when a person goes to court and gets judged? They not only are found either guilty or innocent, but if they ARE found guilty, they are given a punishment that is up the discretion of the judge, based on the offense that they committed. So David, using wisdom, was really saying “if you are here to betray me, may God decide the intention of you heart, and may he give you your due punishment.” I don’t know that I would’ve been that tactful, if I felt someone was going to attack me! But by the grace of God, we are shown what the proper response SHOULD be, when we are betrayed.
This point is taken to a whole different level when it’s mention in the New Testament. This time, it’s Jesus who is being betrayed by Judas. What I found most interesting about the passages in the New Testament, was that betrayal is often done by someone closest to us. Judas was close to Jesus. He was one of the 12 chosen disciples. He was one who handled the money – this also illustrates we are often betrayed by those who handle what we value and what is ‘worth’ something. Judas was the keeper of money for the disciples. He didn’t value the money for what it was worth – or maybe he overvalued the money. He often stole it. He wasn’t a good steward of anything! In the secret of his heart, he chose money over his relationship with Jesus. In our own lives, people betray us emotionally because their hearts have turned away from what is valued: The relationship and the heart/care of the other person.
Like Judas, they may use various social orders/rules/etc (Judas used the chief priests) to justify their betrayal. Saying things like, “it’s not that serious” or other things that cause further insult to one’s psyche… but how did Jesus respond? He responded by calling Judas a friend. And we, in turn, should still embrace these people. We don’t have to be around them, and continue to give them access into our lives, but, we do have to forgive them.
I’m going to throw a question out there, since I’ve covered the baseline: “In the confines of a relationship, can the emotional trust ever be rebuilt?”