The best conversations (it seems) are often ones where we share past hurts that we have in common with others. It can be therapeutic to see that our real feelings cannot be easily swept underneath a carpet and we just ‘move on.’ The problem when we just hide them under the rug is we continue to walk over that rug daily. Eventually, there comes a time when it needs to be swept into a dustpan and dumped out the door for good. One hurt that we tend to need extra time to overcome and talk through it with somebody is Betrayal.
I have been healing from some major betrayal hurts over the past two years. I honestly feel it directly led to the AFib stroke I had 18 months ago. I had started and stopped writing about this topic (and frankly any at all) to make sure that first I had ‘moved on’ from the hurts before simply writing about something to ‘get even’ with the guilty parties. In truth, hurts in our mind expand out to others who knew them. We ruminate that ‘somebody should have warned me’ that this person/group was led by a narcissist, a thief, a liar, a conniver, a heartless, backstabbing, con artist who merely cared about themselves – and no one else.
That was a mouthful of released tension. For a little light-hearted release take a moment to listen to this oldies song that hits on the topic. It is the O’Jay’s song ‘The Back Stabbers’ and note those insightful lyrics.
A social media friend whom I have actually never personally met posted this picture and caption from a page simply titled ‘The Pain.’
Several of us conversed back and forth, without describing who did the backstab or what happened. We simply discussed the difficulties of how the pain just doesn’t go away easily. ‘It’ affects our every being, especially if the _________ (insert what you call that person who just came to mind that has backstabbed you) seemingly got away with that awful thing(s) they did to you.)
We were all having some intimate sharing of feelings while being able to relate to someone else who knows what it feels like. Of course, as in any social media conversation, there is always that person who has to share their cold-hearted comment. One said ‘ah shut up and get over it, just move on.’ This is either a person who has had few such things happen to them or they themselves are the type of person we’d all call a betrayer. They probably have “never had”:
- – someone tell a lie that got you fired
- – never had… a cheating spouse resulting in divorce
- – a business partner rob you of everything then ghosts you after they blew every penny
- – a contractor run off to another state with yours and a whole bunch of other people’s deposit money after lying about their fake business
- – someone convince you to join a group, business, ministry, political campaign etc.. and then used their position to manipulate you and everyone else involved. They use their ostensible acting only to force you and others out because you supposedly ‘gossiped,’ or started ‘division’
- – someone abuse a child you are close to or even murder a relative or friend.
- the list of never had’s could go on and on…
On the internal mind-side of dealing with almost hating the person/people/group that has back-stabbed you; the person who said shut up and get over it is – basically right. When I stated ‘I have been healing from some major betrayal hurts over the past two years‘ frankly I easily could have stated all 62 years of my life. I’m healing from hurts back to the day the darn doctor used forceps on my head to cause nerve damage that to this day created an irritating visible twitch above my left eye. Many betrayal-like events have happened to me, and I am sure to every person reading this as well.
Those who know me well are probably bracing to see which of the dozen back-stab events that happened in the last two years ago will I give the gory details on? The answer is NONE OF THEM. Way back in 2018 I wrote a whole story about how important it is for us to never operate from a position of hurt and how I vowed to try to avoid writing with a poison pen. I often refer to being able to forgive people no matter what they have done to us by sharing the example of my own mother who forgave the murderer of her daughter.
Starting off 2020 I wrote to beware of having a hard heart . After the stroke which was induced by heart-stress created by a couple of people that tried to destroy my reputation, I wrote to not use 4-letter words about people, but instead focus on the 5-Letter words that God gives us such as G-R-A-C-E.
Why then do we need to talk about betrayal, why is that important? It is important so that we ourselves do not become a back-stabber that betrays people. We need to teach people and guide them to not be like that. At times we may need to be the one that takes the hard step of warning others to stay away from those who have a history of betrayal.
March 15th is the middle of March and ironically has a lot of meaning to me. It is famously coined by Shakespeare as ‘the Ides of March.’ It was the day I retired 6 years ago, it was near the day I proposed to my wife and when I committed to being a Christian in 1980. Mid march is near when my sister was killed, and most recently the day I committed to a new church. I can tell 100’s of stories of how my commitment level to things can to some be considered overboard. Commitment versus being a casual observer or attendee may produce way too much drama that should not result from dedication. To me though, it is what it should be.
Way back in the 4th grade I was in a Shakespeare play and I played two roles. One was dressing as a soothsayer who had only one line – ‘Beware of the Ides of March.’ The other was as the character Brutus. Not this Brutus of the team you all know I am extremely dedicated to win or lose but, the famous character Brutus in the play Julius Caesar. Brutus was an extremely complex character (since I don’t know what they teach in schools nowadays that underline gives you a link about the real-life character) who was an overly dedicated person to family, friends, authority, and country.
Ultimately Brutus was manipulated into being the ring leader of an overthrow of Caesar because he thought it was the right thing to do, for his beloved Roman country. A group of supposed noble men literally backstabbed Caesar. Brutus was the one to strike the deadly wound in which the scene is described like this:
In Act III of the play, Caesar is attacked and killed by Roman senators, and when Brutus Marcus steps forward to stab Caesar, Caesar looks at his dear friend and utters, “Et tu, Brute? Then fall, Caesar.” The Latin term translates to “you too, Brutus. Then I shall die.”
Later during the overthrow of the Roman Empire Brutus used his own knife to commit suicide. It was also the end of my acting career as the teacher was not pleased with my extending the dying scene with groans that caused much laughter from the audience. The teacher scolded me afterward for turning a serious scene into a comedy routine. I thought that was what it should be, lol, she disagreed. humor
Oddly, I believe playing the role of a backstabber had the opposite effect on my life. Staying loyal to people to the very end became a theme for my life. Staying loyal to my sports teams, local towns, jobs, animals, family, church, the flag, our country, many causes, and God has become a theme. I despise betrayers. But, like Brutus people can often misread that feeling as if one might be a ‘judge’ of people. Meaning behind loyalty sometimes we are forced to take actions that are misunderstood. God forbid that it results in physical harm to anyone. That is no solution for us as individuals, ever. But, sometimes standing up to protect people from backstabbers may be necessary. Understand that it may be costly to you and misunderstood by some. I repeat an earlier question and answer:
“Why do we need to talk about betrayal, why is that important? It is important so that we ourselves do not become a back-stabber that betrays people. We need to teach people and guide them to not be that way At times we may need to be the one that takes the hard step of warning others to stay away from those with a history of betrayal.”
Sadly, not everyone heeds advice. I wish someone had warned me about my betrayer and said beware, they have a history of messing people over. I wish my sister who was murdered had heeded the advice of her family members, all of whom warned her that the person she married was the worst of betrayers. I can tell of 100’s of other examples of ones who didn’t heed warnings like the Beware of the Ides of March message before Caesar was betrayed by his friends. But then again, it is hard to tell what someone may do if no one knows them at all.
This call to write on the topic of Betrayal is timely with the Easter story of the greatest betrayal. Some go with the seemingly simple solution of ‘MOVE ON.’ Yet if betrayal, or call it a lack of loyalty is such a small problem; then why did the Bible make it such an important theme discussed multiple times?
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If Jesus wanted us to sweep under the rug all the things that people did to Him or that happen to us and ignore them, then why did He have them written in the Bible for all to see for all of eternity?
Did you know that Jesus quoted the Psalms more than any other book? Psalms often write about struggles that David and the other writers had with people. Psalm 55 for instance says:
5 Fear and trembling have come upon me;
Horror has overwhelmed me.
6And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
9 Confuse my enemies, O Lord, divide their tongues [destroying their schemes],
For I have seen violence and strife in the city.
10 Day and night they go around her walls;
Wickedness and mischief are in her midst.
11 Destruction is within her;
Oppression and deceit do not depart from her streets and market places.
12 For it is not an enemy who taunts me—Then I could bear it;
Nor is it one who has hated me who insolently exalts himself against me—
Then I could hide from him.
13 But it is you, a man my equal and my counsel,
My companion and my familiar friend;
David is describing an encounter with a betrayer, someone who was literally trying to capture him and stab him with a sword in the back. These writings of presumably good people are not hidden, and their deeds were not swept under a camel rug. God is serious about people’s behavior and does not let it go unchecked.
At the Last Supper, Jesus quoted the Psalms as proof of his looming betrayal: 18 I am not speaking of all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but [this has happened] in order that the Scripture may be fulfilled: ‘He who eats My bread has raised up his heel against Me [as My enemy].’ John 13:18 Amp which is taken from Psalm 41.
I borrow that finding from the producer of The Psalms Project who put the words to a number of Psalms including Psalm 41. Listen to all of Psalm 41 as a musical piece here.
And then we hear of the story of Judas, the most famous backstabber in all of history:
21 After Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, one of you will betray Me and hand Me over.” 22 The disciples began looking at one another, puzzled and disturbed as to whom He could mean. 23 One of His disciples, whom Jesus loved (esteemed), was leaning against Jesus’ chest. 24 So Simon Peter motioned to him (John) and [quietly] asked [him to ask Jesus] of whom He was speaking. 25 Then leaning back against Jesus’ chest, he (John) asked Him [privately], “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I am going to give this piece [of bread] after I have dipped it.” So when He had dipped the piece of bread [into the dish], He gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After [Judas had taken] the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly [without delay].” 28 But no one reclining at the table knew why He said this to him. John 13:21-28
Jesus just got over it and moved on. Wrong! First He was deeply troubled in spirit. Yeah, Jesus never had to deal with nasty people and He just happy-go-lucky like blew it off with no thoughts about it whatsoever. No way. He when on earth was as human as you and I. Yet He never sinned. Being troubled in our spirit is not sin, only if we take it out on someone or take it too far in our thoughts, i.e. drowning them out with alcohol or drugs or via revenge does it become sin. Second, He made sure it was written for all to know that being a backstabber is the lowest of lows to do to someone. He knows of the pain and suffering verbal words amongst other abuses can do to a person.
But, Judas was not the only betrayer.
We do not often think of Jesus as one who would not like being alone, but He was at least one time. When God created the heavens, earth, and all else as described in Genesis he said all was good. He created the animals, water, vegetation, light, and man and said all was good. There was only one thing he saw that was bad, and that was that man being alone was not good. So He fixed that and created Eve and many more people, as He knew being alone all the time was not a healthy situation. He took it many steps further and put His own son on earth to walk in the shoes of the average Joe.
While we think of Jesus as being perfect and having a great relationship with God, we seldom think about his own experience where he lacked people’s support. If you knew you were about to be turned over by a backstabber to an angry mob, wouldn’t you want some people, perhaps your closest family and friends to minimally pray for you if nothing else? Well, that is not what happened.
In an easy-to-understand version of the Bible, we read what happened in the garden (as pictured on the cover of this story):
“Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.” Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?”
When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”
He then left them a second time. Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.”
When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open.
This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time.
When he came back the next time, he said, “Are you going to sleep on and make a night of it? My time is up, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s get going! My betrayer is here.” Matthew 26:31-46 (The Message)
Jesus knew what it was like to be betrayed. He also knew what it was like to want support from people. Sadly, He knew what it was like to receive zero help from people. From one viewpoint, we might say, yeah, but He had God right there with Him the whole time, He was fine. I would agree that yes, Jesus because He had the closest relationship of oneness with God we would think possible, he had consolation from the greatest source.
But, Jesus asked for people’s support just this one time. He went back to see if it was there, not once, not twice, but three times. He felt what it was like to have little to no support from people. He knew what it is like to be alone. And this was from his closest and most trusted friends and cohorts.
Sometimes we in life will be in situations where there is no other source to meet a need for consolation. Sometimes we in life will be in situations where there is no source to meet a need for support. But the really good news is, we have a God who has been in those shoes before. We have a God that has been in the same boat and knows how to help relieve our problems, our worries, and our anxiety, and bring consolation, support, and peace to us. He has been there. He knows how to handle people that have messed us over, those O.J’s. backstabbers.
He knows how to console us when the memories of a cheating spouse, friend, co-worker, or even a family member have betrayed us. Not once. Not twice, not three times. Yes, as many times as we have to go and ask Him for help for that bitter root thing that has sprung up and wants to hold us back. He is aware, examples stated in The Psalms themselves, that it takes a while to get over betrayal hurts.
After that prayerful moment where Jesus prayed so hard and was hit so hard with the stress of the moment that He sweated blood, Judas the backstabber showed up with a crowd to take Jesus to be tried by a fixed jury and corrupt judge. He was then sentenced to be tortured, whipped, and eventually hung on a cross to die on that not-so-good Friday. Don’t let your reading stop here about the backstabber. Click on the link I just showed to hear all about the one who died for those betrayed and even for the betrayers, should they repent.
Then Jesus died as every flesh-bearing being eventually does.
I can’t explain the why of all of that happens in life and why Judas’s have to be allowed to do as they seemingly please and seem to get away with it. They do not! Some can’t handle the guilt of what they have done and harm themselves as Judas did. We know he hung himself. As Brutus also got his just reward. We read in the Bible of many others such as Absalom the son who betrayed David.
I can say God does not leave us to battle our hurts alone. In fact, when Jesus historically and factually returned to earth for forty days, He went out of His way to make a most important statement in His last words before returning to heaven. He understood that His followers would run into situations with no people support. He had been there, done that, and wanted us to know, He is with us always. We are Not Alone.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
Perhaps you are going through a time where you have no people’s support and only hear ‘get over it.’ Perhaps you are going through a time when you can’t shake the anger of a betrayal. You have at least one supporter here and surely with our #1 Intercessor, Jesus Christ. Prayers and blessings to all in this solemn week. But, you must know there is so much better thanks to what happened after the cross! Have a great Resurrection Day! May His victory be yours through any experience you have had of Betrayal.
You are welcome to share your story with our readers in the comments section below who are willing to provide some support. You may also send an email to :firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments or to share your hurts, they are always welcome. Let me know how I can help or if you have prayer requests, allow us to lift them up for you.
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Nice blog Joe! once again you touched on a subject where no other Christian writers dare to roll. I have to ask though, you listed that old song by the O’Jays about back stabbers, then in part 2 said OJ’s back stabbers. Was that a subtle touch on the OJ Simpson case or a typo?
Well, thanks Aaron, you caught me, lol. I put subtle ties and subtly-repeated items in most of my stories, especially in the part II section where any keen reader will notice, hopefully with either a smile at something funny, or in this case with a hmmm. Meaning how ironic the name of the band ties to this modern world’s most famous betrayer (although Alex Murdaugh has possibly replaced OJ).
Good read! Perfect timing of the story and topic.
Thanks for taking the time to read this blurb, I’ll have to watch what I write a little more carefully knowing my Pastor is checking them out. I appreciate the comment!
Good read! Perfect timing with this particular story.