Betrayal of Trust

Nena Arias | November 20, 2017

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you”
Matthew 7:12

If you are one of the few people who have never experienced betrayal from someone you greatly trusted you have been spared great pain.  Betrayal is not a pleasant experience in any sense of the word and it brings many negative consequences that many people may never overcome in their entire life.  Unless people seek help to heal, mainly from God or a knowledgeable godly counselor, people will go through life damaged and carrying bitterness, anger, resentfulness and may always be distrusting because they never want to be put in that vulnerable position again.  But by the same token, deciding not to forgive and overcome this hurtful experience also carries devastating consequences that carry over into eternity. It also causes people to live on the defensive and miss out on many benefits, among them are peace of mind, better spiritual, emotional and physical health and better relationships.

What is Betrayal?

As I mentioned, betrayal is an experience that can greatly scar a person for life because betrayal has to do with destroying someone's trust by lying, deceiving and deliberate disloyalty. Here are some synonyms and connotations of betrayal, just to make clear what we are talking about. Betrayal denotes: bad faith, disloyalty, deception, double-dealing, treachery, broken promises, betrayed expectations, unethical disclosure, to misguide, and to corrupt.  These describe the action of breaking good faith. I hope you get the picture.

Human history is saturated with accounts of betrayal experiences since the beginning of creation when Adam and Eve fell out of fellowship with God. Through disobedience their state of perfection drastically changed and so did ours. Adam and Eve betrayed God and the perfect design they had been given.  They betrayed themselves, their offspring, and each person after that and every generation since then.

Without a shadow of a doubt the one who has experienced the most betrayal is God so he teaches us a few things about the experience of betrayal. Despite all the back-stabbing he has endured and will continue to endure, God still has not given up on us and has a tender heart to help, forgive, and rebuild relationships. You might say, is using God as an example apply to us? Absolutely, as we will see how he also equips us to overcome betrayal. 

While on earth, Jesus experienced the ultimate betrayal from Judas Iscariot, a hand-picked disciple of his who betrayed him to the Romans for crucifixion. The name of Judas is synonymous with betrayal having committed the most widely known act of betrayal. (Matthew 26:14-16)

King David of the Bible, said this of betrayal, "Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me." Psalm 41:9  (ESV)

Even though betrayal is embedded in fallen human nature it requires a conscious decision to carry it out.  So the betrayer makes a choice at some point to prey on those who trust him or her. As of late, we have been learning of a horrendous layer of corruption and betrayal of our society that had been covered up for years but all of a sudden it is coming to light at avalanche speed.  It involves people of power, wealth and prestige that have been abusing their privileged positions to take liberties with people that are looking to get their approval and support to build a career. Instead they have physically, emotionally or sexually abused these people who look up to them.

The sad part is that some of these atrocious acts have been committed several decades ago and the perpetrators have been unscathed, while their victims have had to live with the trauma of these violations and abuses.

Government Betrayal

What can we say about our government and its institutions where we are experiencing such open betrayal from those we trust to lead our nation and public affairs for the good of all. More and more, we see that the only ones they want to serve are themselves with what rightfully belongs to the people. Many citizens have given up going to the voting polls, making phone calls to help in a candidate’s campaign because of the betrayal of the candidates they helped to place in office. I believe we can all agree that at this point the betrayal of our government is criminal.

We can liken betrayal with the example of two soldiers in combat with their back to each other doing combat, thus the saying “I have your back”.  But then suddenly you feel someone begins to stab you in the back and you thought your partner in combat was defending you from behind but when you turn around you realize it is your combat partner who has turned on you to kill you. A high voltage shock goes right through you to realize that now you have to kill or be killed by someone whom you trusted with your life. 

Recovery From Betrayal

How do you recover from the devastating blow of betrayal, especially when it is someone extremely close like a spouse, family member, or business partner?

In relationships, the ability to recover has a lot to do with how the perpetrator responds in these situations by willfully confessing or when he or she is found out they own up to it. Accepting responsibility is always the best for all involved and making restitution when possible is the right thing to do.  But what if the person or institution doesn’t own up to what happened and you need healing from the devastation of betrayal? First, you must make a conscious decision to forgive for your sake before God because he says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” Matthew 6:14-15. The person who benefits the most from forgiveness is the one who decides to forgive. Notice I didn’t say feels like forgiving, I said decides to forgive.  Forgiveness is a decision not a feeling.

Through scripture we can find the strength to be healed. Here are some Bible verses to help you overcome the pain of betrayal and encouragement to forgive.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
Psalms 118:8

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.
Mark 11:25