Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Facing Betrayal

Almost all of us have been betrayed or felt betrayed by someone. Maybe it was clear-cut and there is no question. Maybe that has been misunderstanding and there are two sides to the issue. It is my opinion that human beings have an almost infinite ability to misunderstand each other. We also have any ability to get upset over insignificant issues. But there are real and inarguable betrayals that happen in the world. How do we deal with it?

First we need to forgive (Matthew 6:12; 18:21-35; Ephesians 4:32). This can be very hard. But there are some things that can be put in perspective. It needs to be understood that forgiveness is not excusing. In fact forgiveness pertains to those things they have really done wrong. God forgives us our real sins (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Acts 26:18) and it is on this basis we are to forgive others. Now there is a place for asking what is the real wrongdoing in a situation and what is a misunderstanding. But we may not always be able to determine this. It is not always clear. It may not be clear to the other person either. Sometimes we may never know. It may be best to forgive whatever may need to be forgiven, even if we are clear exactly what is blameworthy, and go on. Forgiveness also does not necessarily mean allowing yourself to be taken advantage of. There is a place for the Christian to go the second mile in terms of giving people a chance (Matthew 5:40,41; 1 Corinthians 13:7; 6:7). But this does not mean totally setting aside the demands of justice (1 Corinthians 6:4,5; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; Romans 12:18). Ultimately this is a judgment that must be made with care and serious consideration of what right in the sight of God.  But I do not think we are always obligated to just take it.

Particularly if the person is a Christian there may be an obligation to confront them (Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1; 2 Timothy 2:24-26). Now there is a place where love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8; Proverbs 10:12; 17:9). But particularly if a person feels they have been genuinely betrayed they need to seriously consider confrontation. But it must be done with gentleness and a view toward correction and restoration. And it should start with a one on one confrontation  with others only getting involved later, if no reconciliation is accomplished in the original meeting.
But more then all of these we need to trust God (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 37:1-6; 127:1,2). We must remember that He is in control of our lives and will work out even difficult circumstances for our good (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:11; 2 Corinthians 4:17,18). For it is only by trusting God we can avoid bitterness growing up in our life and affecting those around us (Hebrews 12:15-17; Ephesians 4:31; Romans 12:19-21).

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