Have you ever been betrayed? Betrayal is one of the most soul crushing relationship experiences. Betrayal requires a deeper intensity of forgiveness. This is because betrayal leaves a silent, unrelenting and devastating effects on your soul. It is more severe when the betrayal is inflicted by a close friend, spouse, or intimate family, member more so than an organization. Betrayal sinks your soul into a black hole forcing your heart to concede the harsh reality that you can no longer trust a person or organization that you once relied on for a sense of security.
The experience of betrayal may lead you to discover your blind-spot about how much you placed your identity in this person or place. Betrayal forces you to recognize your world is far more dangerous than you previously assumed. That is why it rocks you to your core in a way that other disappointments do not. It overwhelms you like an emotional tsunami knocking you off your feet, weakened and overwhelmed by the disaster betrayal created. You cannot reason with a betrayer. You are completely powerless over the betrayal that is inflicted on you. Betrayers will assure you to your face and stab you in the back the instant you turn away. God knows how devastating betrayal can be but He still holds you responsible to keep living out His purpose for your life, in spite of what your soul is having to endure. He knows the devastating power of betrayal on a soul, but He directs you to keep moving deeper into your true identity and stay on course with His purpose for your life in spite of your anguish.
David had to do it (Psalm 109 describes the betrayal of a close friend) and even with his own son Absalom. Betrayal is not a rationale to give up and hide in a ditch somewhere. No one lives this out more clearly than Jesus with Judas perhaps the most famous betrayer of all time. First of all, each disciple was clueless about whom Jesus spoke when He kept saying that He would be betrayed. Betrayal is intimate and often hidden for a long time. The person who has been betrayed does not speak it from the mountaintop and even if they do, eventually people stop listening or stop caring. Like Judas, the best betrayers are good at hiding in public. He appeared to love and support Jesus as much as each of them. How do you look into the very eyes of Jesus, but give your heart to Satan?
Jesus knew from the beginning that He would be betrayed. This betrayal is an important lesson for our lives. Like Cain, who had the devil crouching at his door is an example, so is Judas. Jesus teaches us that betrayal is troubling and difficult, but a reality of living in this fallen world. Jesus shows us that we cannot allow the acts of a betrayer to keep us from God’s purpose for our lives. We don’t have to have all of our relationships right in order to carry out God’s mission.
Jesus had the salvation of the whole world on His agenda. He had called twelve men to train and send out at part of the divine plan. The same night that He washed His betrayer’s feet He found Himself eager to share the first communion meal at the same time that He was troubled because one He loved would betray His love. Betrayal is so devastating because it can only happen within an intimate relationship, but it does not have to undo us. All who belong to Jesus will never be betrayed. He is with us to the end of the age. The lesson from betrayal is that love endures betrayal and God’s purposes must take priority over the misery in your soul.
In John 13:22 we learn,
“The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking?”
Each one asked if it was he who would betray Jesus. The lesson from Judas also drives us to consider his heinous act. Each disciple saw himself as capable of betraying Jesus. None of them did, but perhaps that is because they daily reconnected their hearts and purpose to God. It gave them the strength to face any betrayers they were asked to deal with in their lifetimes.