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DEALING WITH BETRAYAL

Jackie Clark & Jim Still-Pepper

The betrayal was the worst kind. They were close friends, more like brothers. He’d invested countless hours, late nights, early mornings, long days. But more than time, he’d invested emotional and spiritual energy. He had spared nothing for their benefit. The worst part was that he knew the betrayal was coming. He knew that not one, but two of these men would betray him when he needed them most. Fighting against intense internal pain, he knelt down and washed his disciples’ feet, drying them with a towel (read John 13:1–7).

Betrayal2 TSP 100730889Take some time to consider these questions:

  • When you have been betrayed, how did you feel?
  • What were your thoughts?
  • Were your feelings and thoughts wrong? Why? Why not?
  • Where did your feelings and thoughts come from?
  • Should you have stopped them? Why? Why not?

We all have been betrayed in one way or another. The pain of betrayal slices to the core of who we are and leaves us wounded and doubting, wondering if our lives will ever be OK again. Like Jesus, we have a choice about what to do with the knife we find in our back when others betray us. We can stab back, give up and live with the pain, or we can lay down the knife and pick up a towel.

Laying Down the Knife

The pain of betrayal can be so intense that we respond emotionally rather than rationally. Yet, we can take away the sharp when we choose to shape our response to betrayal. Here are some ideas to help process the pain in a healthy way.

depressed guy2 TSP 179273826

K-arefully consider what you say. You will be tempted to allow the hurt to speak. Talk to an adult who is outside the situation, with whom you can speak honestly.
N-ever pay back evil for evil. Don’t believe the lie that revenge will bring resolution. Revenge only breeds more evil.
I-nvest. Be careful how you invest your time and energy. You may want to invest in the negative, but God has a different plan.
F-orgive. You may not be able to forget what happened, but forgiveness will bring true healing. Find a trusted adult to help you with the process.
E-ternal perspective. Step outside the circumstances and see how God is working. God’s redemptive story is at work in our lives even in the midst of intense pain.

 

DIG DEEPER

s'mores2 TSP 176564676If you have been stabbed by betrayal, spend a few moments considering your options. Which are helpful? Which are unhealthy? Which one will you choose?

Then place on a paper plate a chocolate kiss, a large marshmallow, and a graham cracker. Put the plate in the microwave and turn it on for thirty seconds. What happened to each of the items? If the microwave represents the betrayal, which of the three items best represents your response?

Stack the three items to make a s’more, and enjoy eating it while you reread John 13:1–7. Which of the three items best represents Jesus’ response to his pending betrayal? How can you make your response more like Jesus’ response? Write in your journal or talk with a trusted adult about what you have discovered.

Jackie Clark & Jim Still-Pepper — Jackie, a wife, mom, and counselor in Zanesville, Ohio, has recently experienced a deep betrayal; but God is helping her heal. Jim, a counselor and motivational speaker, has also had to remove the knife recently and decide to lay it down.

—from devozine (March/April 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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