The Pain of Betrayal!

The Pain of Betrayal! April 3, 2024

Image Credit: Roshni Mathew/New City Church Mumbai

“The pain of betrayal” is just another phrase until it happens to you. When it occurs, you no longer think of the word’s meaning, you think about how it feels to be:

  • Double-crossed
  • Stabbed in the back
  • Sold out
  • Two-timed
  • Ratted on

“Being Double-Crossed is a Common Experience”

The words in that list have teeth. They bite and leave marks on the soul. An article by Daniel McCoy titled “Top 10 Betrayals in the Bible,” shows that betrayal is a universal and traumatic experience. Here is McCoy’s list:

  1. Satan and Eve – Genesis 3
  2. Cain and Abel – Genesis 4
  3. Joseph and his brothers – Genesis 37
  4. Samson and Delilah – Judges 16
  5. Saul and David – I Samuel 18-26
  6. David and Uriah – II Samuel 11-12
  7. Ahab betrays Micaiah (1 Kings 22)
  8. Joash betrays Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24)
  9. Judas betrays Jesus (Luke 22:47-48)
  10.  God’s people betray God (Ezekiel 16)

Why Do We Betray Others?

What is it about the human soul that makes the idea of double-crossing another person appealing?  The website “The Learning Mind” features an October 2022 article by Janey Davies titled. “7 Psychological Reasons for Betrayal & How to Recognize the Signs.” Ms. Davies suggests that people cause the pain of betrayal because they might believe that the rules don’t apply to them. More obvious reasons are a lack of integrity or selfishness and greedSometimes the betrayer doesn’t want to face the consequences of their actions so they shift the blame to another. One of the most emotionally painful reasons is realizing that you simply aren’t as important to them as you thought. Usually, the betrayer is insecure about their identity and jealous of you.

Image By at GoodNews.Love

In Psalm 55 we are permitted to eavesdrop on King David’s prayer about being betrayed. We can’t know for sure who betrayed David, but Dave Reid of suggests that it might have been David’s advisor Ahithophel. He writes, “Ahithophel abandoned the king and joined forces with David’s selfish son, Absalom.  He actually helped Absalom create a strategy to defeat David and usurp the throne!” Consider this possibility as you read what David wrote: “It is not an enemy who taunts me—I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God” (Psalm 55:12-14, New Living Translation).

“Severe betrayal…often causes bitterness”

As the King continued his psalm, it was clear that he was bitter. Listen to David’s heart as you read verses 20-21: “As for my companion, he betrayed his friends; he broke his promises. His words are as smooth as butter, but in his heart is war. His words are as soothing as lotion, but underneath are daggers!”  Severe betrayal by a friend often causes bitterness that is hard to heal. Listen once again as David closes this Psalm: “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. But you, O God, will send the wicked down to the pit of destruction. Murderers and liars will die young, but I am trusting you to save me” (vv. 22-23).

“Finding Forgiveness” Image by Trent Janisch

Finding Forgiveness

The message of Jesus is one of forgiveness but it usually doesn’t come quickly. That’s why reading stories like David’s helps us see that no one is exempt from the pain of betrayal or rejection. So then, how can we find forgiveness? There are no quick answers to that question. It takes time, honesty in prayer, trying your best to win back the betrayer, and grace; lots of grace. If you have been betrayed by someone that you trusted to be your friend, don’t try to shut off your feelings. Pray from the core of your emotional pain. Hebrews 4:15-16 reminds us, “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (New Living Translation.).

About Ken Shelton
Ken Shelton is a writer, songwriter, and recording artist. His latest album, 'Legacy-Songs For My Family' is his eighth studio album and is available on all music streaming services. In addition, he is an ordained bishop with Evangel Association of Churches and Ministries, and with the Church of God (Cleveland, TN). Ken attended Lee University, Trinity Theological Seminary, and Destiny Christian University and holds a Doctor of Divinity Degree. In 2001, he founded Shelton Covenant Ministries, a church ministry committed to planting churches, and mentoring pastors and church leaders with emphasis on five-fold ministry. He is a frequent conference speaker, worship leader, and soloist. Bishop Shelton has written two books: Covenant Talk - Words That Set Us Free (Author House, 2005) and Discover Your Worship Learning Style (SCM, 2010). In 1974, Ken married the former Kitty Patterson, who since 1997 has been a public-school English and history teacher. They have three daughters and ten grandchildren and reside in Brighton, Michigan. You can read more about the author here.
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