The Doctrine of Betrayal
October 27, 2019
Before you begin, ask yourself a very important question: Do you believe that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins? If you answered yes, you will need to be sure that you are filled with The Holy Spirit. How do you do this? You name your sins to God The Father in His Son’s Name. This is called rebound. As a Christian, you must rebound any time you sin. This is taught in 1JOHN 1:9: If we confess [name] our sins [directly to God], He [God] is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Now, if you have never believed that Jesus Christ died on The Cross for all of your sins, all you have to do is say to yourself that you believe in Him and you are saved! The Bible verse which teaches us this is ACTS 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.”
The thing about betrayal is that we absolutely have to respond to it with forgiveness. If we don’t, we do not find ourselves in God’s Plan for our lives. Let’s look at forgiveness and its importance with respect to betrayal. Forgiveness means to give up resentment; to excuse a guilty party; to release from payment; and to forget an offense never bringing it up again – not even to discuss it. Think about betrayal for a moment. If someone betrays you in some way, you really have two choices: forgive the person who betrayed you (the Christian thing to do) or be angry and hold a grudge against them or even retaliate against them (the cosmic system’s way of doing things).
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ give us this advice in LUK 17:4: “If someone sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent [apologize],’ forgive him.” Now, let’s be honest. Our natural (old sin nature) response is not to forgive, be angry and hold the grudge. So, what do we do? How about we focus on and remind ourselves of the ultimate expression of forgiveness – The Cross of Christ.
On that rugged Cross, all the personal sins of the human race were imputed to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Through His work on The Cross, the Lord Jesus Christ opened up the way for God the Father to forgive us! In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace… (EPH 1:7) While He hung on The Cross, Jesus Christ was treated as if all of our sins were His, and because of this, He screamed out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (MAT 27:46) Because your sins have been paid for (and the payment was The Saving Work of Jesus Christ on The Cross), when you sin, you sin against God. David said this after he sinned: Against You, You only, I have sinned… (PSA 51:4)
So, we don’t have the right to remain angry, or bitter, toward someone who has betrayed us, because Christ paid for that person’s sin and he or she has really sinned against God! This is why not forgiving others is actually a sin against God who tells us in ISA 43:25 (New International Version): “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake [because of My honor and integrity]. Furthermore, I will not remember your sin.”
The apostle Paul explains God’s command to forgive others like this: So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. (COL 3:12-13) The point is clear: we must forgive those who betray us.
When it comes to betrayal, a good way to look at forgiveness is that it’s the way in which God wants us to come terms with people who are unfair to us and hurt us deeply. God began by forgiving us. And He commands us all to forgive each other. That’s a very important thing to remember! We are COMMANDED to forgive!
We have to let go of the hurt, too, because that’s the only way we can heal ourselves. Until we do that, we cannot move forward in God’s Plan for our lives. And we should always remember that Our Lord – who did not deserve to go to The Cross because He was incapable of sinning – still went to The Cross for us.
LUK 23:32-34 (New International Version) is the quintessential example of Our Savior’s point of view about forgiveness. And it’s the perfect example of how we should behave toward those who have betrayed us: Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with Him [Jesus Christ] to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull [Golgotha], they crucified Him there, along with the criminals—one on His right, the other on His left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. And they divided up His clothes by casting lots. Our Lord and Savior asked His Father to forgive the very people who were nailing Him to a cross! The scene around The Cross was crass and unfeeling. The soldiers were part of an execution detail and probably bored with crucifixion. We could imagine that this team had already conducted several crucifixions this week alone. The first time they saw a crucifixion, they may have been moved by its brutality, but now they are calloused and emotionless. First, the soldiers began with the cruel process of nailing the criminal to a cross, then hoisting him up, the cross swaying forward, then back until it was secured with wedges at the bottom to hold it upright in the hole. And when that task was done, they sat around the base waiting for the criminal to die. And sometimes, it took days. To pass the time they gambled, deciding by a casting of lots who would be awarded the victim’s last possessions. That was the scene at Our Savior’s death. But amid all this evil, came an astounding, powerful word from the “criminal” on the center cross:
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
One thing that’s important to look at when it comes to betrayal and forgiveness is that forgiving someone doesn’t excuse or justify his or her behavior. But what forgiveness prevents is the betrayal destroying you. Forgiveness will help you get over the hurt. Praying for those who have betrayed you will turn things around for you.
The most important thing to remember when you are betrayed is that God WILL NEVER betray or forsake you. He is always with you, every minute of every day. Look at His Words to Joshua: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (JOSH 1:9) Here is what David wrote about how God is with us always: Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. (PSA 139:7-10 New International Version) These words should make any betrayal easier to deal with. So should HEB 12:3: For consider Him [the Lord Jesus Christ] who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.
When we experience betrayal, it’s common to have trouble forgiving others. But we’ll never truly experience the full joy of God’s Forgiveness, until we learn to forgive others as He has commanded us to do. Also, we cannot use other’s betrayals against us to build ourselves up. People’s sins are their own personal responsibility. So, if someone betrays you and you know he or she is truly wrong, you shouldn’t act like you’re a better person because they’re guilty of doing something evil and sinful.
We often want to hurt those who have hurt us and holding a grudge can easily seem like the perfect way to really make someone pay. Instead of holding a grudge or being angry about a betrayal, be aware of your initial emotional reactions which, as we learned, come from the old sin nature. In order to mature as a Christian, you have to control your emotions. Instead of responding emotionally, step back, rebound if needed and then be filled with The Holy Spirit. And let God take care of the situation in His Way! ROM 12:17-21 addresses this: Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil; but overcome evil with good [Divine Good].