SPRINGFIELD, MO. — Few experiences are more painful than betrayal: Anger threatens to steal your joy. You’re tempted to seek revenge rather than justice. You yearn for opportunities to defend your reputation and declare your innocence. And you’re baffled by the apparent success of those who abused you.
If you’ve felt the anguish of betrayal, you’re not alone: God was betrayed by Lucifer; Jesus was betrayed by Judas.
King David describes his experience with betrayal in Psalm 109:1-5: “O God, whom I praise, do not remain silent, for wicked and deceitful men have opened their mouths against me; they have spoken against me with lying tongues. With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer. They repay me evil for good, and hatred for my friendship” (NIV).
Romans 12:19-21 offers guidance when suffering a betrayal: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
Here are five steps you can take to honor God after experiencing betrayal:
1. Forgive your betrayers — even if they are unrepentant. But don’t confuse forgiveness with trust. Forgiveness can be given freely, but trust must be earned.
2. Refuse to speak against your betrayers; instead kindly correct misinformation and allow God to be your Defender.
3. Pray for those who have hurt you. And ask the Lord to give you a gentle spirit.
4. Don’t allow yourself to be deterred from the task God has assigned you.
5. Determine in your heart to be a person of loyalty and integrity.
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