If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve probably felt it—the stabbing pain from that knife in your heart that comes from being betrayed by someone you trusted or the disillusionment with life that comes from realizing that others will lie to you and about you to suit their own purposes without batting an eye. It’s unfortunately a part of life, a part that leaves scars and steals faith, engenders distrust, bitterness, fear, and suspicion. Many have let the acrid poison of these darts destroy their lives and raze their hearts down to brittle ashes blown about on the ground by the cold winds of adversity. Even David from the Bible felt it as portrayed in Psalm 12.
“Help, Yahweh; for the godly man ceases. For the faithful fail from among the children of men. Everyone lies to his neighbor. They speak with flattering lips, and with a double heart.” (Psalm 12:1-2)
Who Can You Trust?
If you can’t trust your fellow human beings, who can you trust? Verse 6 of the Psalm gives us the answer.
“Yahweh’s words are flawless words, as silver refined in a clay furnace, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6)
We may not be able to trust everyone here on earth, but there is One who we may always trust. The Lord is truth and loyalty, He is true and faithful forever, incapable by His holy and perfect nature of deceit and betrayal.
“For Yahweh is good. His loving kindness endures forever, his faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5)
Perhaps the greatest betrayal ever to stain the dust of the earth is that of Judas Iscariot. He was a disciple of Christ, one of the Twelve, a member of the intimate circle of men who lived and walked with Jesus. Yet he betrayed Christ to his enemies for thirty pieces of silver. Jesus suffered the agonizing death by crucifixion as a result of Judas’ betrayal, but he didn’t respond with anger, resentment, and bitterness. Even upon the cross Jesus prayed for the Lord to forgive his executioners. If Jesus could do this, how much more should we be able to forgive those who betray and deceive us? True, Jesus was perfect and holy and we are only mere mortals, fragile and fallible. However, forgiveness and love are the correct response to those people who wrong us. It’s easier said than done, though. If you’re having trouble moving on from a betrayal and forgiving the person who hurt you, remember that you too are fallible and every bit in need of forgiveness as they. Remember the story of the servant who, though forgiven his debt by the king, would not forgive the debt of his fellow servant in turn.
“Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?’” (Matthew 18:23-32)
Forgiving others can be a hard thing to do, even when we know all this, but holding on to resentment and seeking revenge is worse. Resentment is like arsenic, toxic if ingested. Even in small amounts, over time it can kill. The more is absorbed, the sicker you are until your body can no longer sustain the high amounts of poison. In the same way, resentment, if ingested over time can poison and kill a soul. Sometimes we may find that we must pray for God to give us a forgiving spirit and take the first step by realizing our common fallibility and just saying, “I forgive.” We may find after this that it becomes easier to move forward and let go of our hurt and resentment. We may not be able to conquer it on our own, but with the Lord’s help we can overcome it, we can forgive as the Lord has forgiven us, we can choose life and love for those who have wronged us…and for ourselves.
Lord, when we are deceived and betrayed
By those that we had trusted,
Help us to forgive as You have done for us—
Make our hearts, forgiving and undismayed.
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander, be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)