Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dealing With the Pain of Betrayal

When someone close to you lets you down [1] or does something that you would have never thought because of the relationship you have and betrays your trust, it really hurts. The betrayal of trust brings horrendous suffering to a loyal heart, and causes hatred to take root in the soul.  For some people, who choose not the place this hurt in Jesus’ hands, they take to the grave the hurt of betrayal and unforgiveness.

How many wars of child custody have been waged because of a single act of betrayal? How many families broken, how many children that have yet to forgive their parents, how many business dissolved; how many lives lost because of trust misplaced? How many hurtful actions are the result of a betrayed heart? are there any limits to the depth of the wounds of betrayal?

Betrayal does not happen just in the secular world; many great men of God have fallen from grace because their decisions have betrayed the trust of their congregation. Or their lies have penned them into a corner, and God has uncovered them. When this happens many are turned from the faith, and those that would have come to Christ can be turned against him (Ezekiel 36:22-23However, betrayal does not have to result in revenge, or unforgiveness, or hate. We choose to hold on to this pain and often times we hold it  to the point of our own destruction. 

The most famous of all betrayal iresulted in the cruicfixtion of Jesus Christ. However Jesus being God knew the actions of His assailant. (John 6:70) What does the everyday man do when his is betrayed by someone he loves? The bible gives a model in the Apostle Paul'

Consider the Apostle Paul. In most of his letters, Paul seems to have an invincible spirit. Yet as we survey his life, we realize he was a man that suffered a great deal, and on many occasions he felt as if there was noone there on his side. Left to die in prison, abandoned and betrayed by even the saints that walked with him, yet re remained strong in his faith.
In his letter to Timothy we can hear the pain of his words, the betrayal he felt, by those he loved. In chapter 4 Paul cries out to his spiritual son, to be embraced by the love and receive the assurance by this young leader that he wasn’t traveling the road of salvation all alone.
2 Timothy 4:9-11 “Make every effort to come to me soon; for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service

It was more than just those that had fallen from the faith that cause this distress to the apostle; there were wicked men that in their apostasy were denying Christ in opposition to Paul’s teachings. In verse 14 Paul informs Timothy of the attacks and in verse 16 the loneliness he felt while trying to defend himself

2 Timothy 4:14 “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds[2].
2 Timothy 4:16 “ At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me…”

Yet Paul did not let the desertions and attacks and all the other betrayal fester in him to be planted like a seed of hatred toward those that had betrayed him. Instead he chose to look at life from a heavenly perspective.  In the spirit he writes;
2 Corinthians 4:8-10 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed;
We are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus,
that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”
 As Christians we must beware of placing too much expectation on others (even our leaders). we must realize that people will let us down not everyone, but from time to time it will happens. However, under no circumstance can we let it impact on our faith. We must Trust God to work it out, even through these disappointments

Soli Deo Gloria

other notes

[1] Betrayal may come in the form of directly stabbing you in the back, or it may come when some you think highly of fails to live at the level of the expectation you have of him. In the case of Jesus Christ, Judas’ actions were a direct attack on the person of Jesus Christ. While in the case of church leaders like Ted Haggard’s betrayal it caused  many to turned away wondering, “If I can’t trust this man, a man who ministered the tens of thousands, a man who seemed to be so upright and committed to truth, then who can I trust?”
[2] In only 4 verses in the bible we are given enough information about this man Alexander the Coppersmith to infer the type of person he was toward Christians. There are only three other passages in the bible about his man Alexander the Copppersmith. But fortunately they are also in writing to Timothy. 
1 Timothy 1:19-20 “ Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme”
Here we see that Alexander alone with Hymenaeus were once believers that failed to hold on to their faith, and because of their falling away Paul had given up on reaching them allowing them to become accountable  for their actions. (delivered unto Satan). The second mention Alexander the Coppersmith  occurs in 2 Timothy 4:14 and 15. verse 14is used  to address Paul’s hurt but verse 15 tell of the atrocities of Alexander the Coppersmith. The New American Standard bible reads “Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching”2 Timothy 4:16 
From these three verses we can forensically determine  that in Alexander the Coppersmith was exhibited damaging acts of apostasy especially toward the saints. He had made profession of some zeal in advancing the reign of Christ,  with Paul at some time, though the bible does not say when. Then for no apparent reason save the lust of this world, Alexander the Coppersmith turned from the faith and began to war against Paul and the body of believers in much the same way atheist do today.