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Friday, January 20, 2012

The Pain of Betrayal

I don't know of someone who hasn't been betrayed at some time in his life. Each person has had someone who was trusted and failed to live up to that trust. Each person has felt some measure of pain when betrayed. That pain can be excruciating when the trust was at the highest level. This can be in a spouse who is unfaithful or a best friend who makes a damning personal statement. Some people hurt so badly that they can't think of anything else.

I don't know believe there is anything I can say which will alleviate the pain. It truly hurts like hell because it is the pain of hell. Those who have trusted in someone or something else other than Christ will realize that they have been betrayed when they arrive in hell. So, betrayal is the pain of hell.

I can give you some things I have seen in my Lord which may help those who have been betrayed. As you know, He was betrayed by two of His disciples. We don't know if those who abandoned Him also betrayed Him. In a way, I suppose, even their abandonment is a betrayal.

Judas didn't kill Jesus. He just made it possible so that Jesus could be killed. He knew what he had done only after the fact. Judas never allowed Jesus to heal the relationship they had once had. He killed himself before the resurrection and did not realize what Jesus meant by conquering death.

Peter, on the other hand, was restored. Jesus heard Peter say with a curse that he didn't know Him. Jesus must have truly hurt even though He knew this was Peter's path. He had told Peter that He prayed for Peter to be "turned again." He knew what had to happen but the actual experience had to hurt. Jesus knew that the cross would hurt but the actual experience really was pain beyond belief, too.

So, I would say that you should pray for those who are close to you. You may not ever expect them to betray you but you should pray that they might be "turned" back to their relationship with the Lord so that they can also be turned back to you.

You will never be able to heal the relationship if you do not also restore the person. It does you no good to hold a grudge and wallow in your pain. You must confront them with the problem. The problem isn't that they betrayed you. The problem is in their lack of commitment in loving you. They must make a new commitment to love. Otherwise there is no restoration.

This new commitment must be questioned. While you may want reassurance, this is not the point. They need to realize what they are saying. They must say it again and again or deny that they have love for you.

The commitment must be lived our rather than simply wished for. In other words, the commitment of love must have a task that follows it. I always address the commitment of love in wedding vows. I have both bride and groom make their commitment verbally. I tell them that I expect that they will keep their vows. These vows explain the extent of their faithfulness. They are not invalidated by sickness or poverty but are always to  be held in the highest regard until death takes one of the them.

But let's say that the person that betrayed you does not live out that commitment- what should you do? You cannot give that person your trust because trust is earned. There can be no trust given when it is not earned. There can be no growing relationship without trust. The person who fails to build trust is severing the relationship by his actions. You must forgive but you cannot build trust for them.

Is there a mandate for severing the relationship? No. But you must know that there isn't much of a relationship there either. Even Jesus said that divorce is possible when there is adultery.

I personally believe that you can only take so much pain. I also believe that it takes two people to have a relationship. Therefore, I never tell someone who has been betrayed that he should continue to be hurt. (For the record, I never tell them that he must stay in the relationship either.) Each person must ask himself if he has done everything reasonable to continue the relationship. (I never ask if they have done everything possible because there is always something else that could have been done.)

I pray for those who have been betrayed. I don't think betrayers really know the pain they have caused.

Luke 22:48 (ESV) 48 but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Luke 22:60-62 (ESV) 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

John 21:15-19 (ESV) 15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”


The Ego Speaks said...

I like this a lot. Thank you for sharing.

Anthony Chia said...

I am doing a series on forgiveness as the first theme for the year. I spoke in my monthly Healing Meeting on 7 Jan 2012 on Part I of "Do I have to forgive?", and the sermon has been put up on my blog as an entry; anyone can read it from my blog. It is NOT a complete exposition on the subject, and I would be speaking on Part II, probably in my next Meeting.

Some of the points you, Ps Prentis, covered here will be covered in part II; nevertheless, I like to comment, both for stressing the points, and at the same time, to repeat God's ways to myself, so that indeed, I too, must walk in the ways of God. You know that (if you remember from one of my previous comments) I, too, have been betrayed badly. I am coming to the tail-end of my ordeal (hopefully the "last bit" will NOT drag on). For "sanity sake", in the deep of the betrayal, I have asked the Lord to release me from my accountability and responsibility for my ex-wife, including praying for her (Yes, she divorced me).

It was too difficult (and so, I used the term, "for sanity sake"), for me to fight the case she brought on against me, with all the pains, financial burden, and effort and time needed to deal with the legal matters (that actually dragged on for 4 years), and for me to pray for her. I have had heard over the pulpit that we ought pray for those who hurt us, and even the Word of God has something along that line – Luke 6:27-36:

27 “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

In my going through this affliction in my life, (and I still, on the one hand, lament that it had happened, yet, I cannot deny that I have gained much in my walk with my God, which I might otherwise NOT gained, and so, I just have to remind myself NOT to wallow in the past, but to use this affliction to testify to God’s goodness, and see how to mediate the negative impact of the fallout, so to speak {the impact on the children, and even to the void formed in me, as a result, and so on, and so forth}), I have learned a few things.

One thing, for sure, I learned (actually, in many areas of life, one can know, too), is that I had NOT become Jesus, upon my entry into salvation; far from it, although I was and am, to grow in the likeness of Christ Jesus. I learned the correct way to handle our identity, is NOT to just know our identity, but to increasingly learn to live out that identity. It is NOT the same, to say that a believer has become Jesus, or has become perfect or has the full mind of Christ, compared with the saying that we are to grow into the likeness of Christ Jesus, we are to imitate Jesus, and we are to walk in the ways of God (Father, Son and the Holy Spirit).

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Anthony Chia said...

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I know I have to be like Christ, and I have to try to, and when I honestly cannot be, as nearly perfect as Christ, I tell the Lord honestly I cannot do it. I told the Lord I could NO longer pray for my ex-wife, then. In the words of my then Senior Pastor, I had to fight for righteousness, and in the words of the Elder in the Ministry of Inner Healing and Deliverance, I was living too long in the oppressive environment, and so, there was a time and a season when it was better for me to pray for myself rather than to pray for my ex-wife.

I am NOT saying it should apply to everyone; that one ignores the demands of the Word (as in Luke 6:27-36) above. In fact, I did NOT ignore all the demands of that set of Word, only that I could NOT bring myself to pray for my ex-wife; but what I demanded for the outcome of the case was reasonableness (Ps Prentis stressed correctly, the term “reasonable”). That I did NOT pray for my ex-wife was, undeniably, a weakness on my part, for the demand of the Word does ask for that, but I bargained with my Lord, to excuse me or forgive me for NOT doing so. One has to understand that I was at the bottom of the pit of depressiveness. One in such state usually is in such “defeatedness” that he will NOT, to fight; and to make positive moves was really difficult for him. Even as God comes in to help, he must want to help himself (it is NOT that God cannot achieve on His own, but it is that, man is still with free-will, which generally God respects).

To fight for righteousness, I have to repeatedly be speaking to my own soul; I have to pray for myself, for the legal case on hand, for the financial resources I need, for the job I need, and for the attentiveness that I had to have in my work as well as the ministry the Lord started for me, amidst my great adversity. I have to pray for the Lord’s favor for me. But in it all, I have been reasonable, reasonable in my demand of care and control of my children (grounds were more than sufficient, compromise was rejected by her, and the High Court eventually awarded the children to me, after meeting up with my children), reasonable in my demand of the share of the matrimonial assets from a marriage of 18 years (My Senior pastor was right, to care for the children, money and resources are still needed), reasonable in my defence against all allegations against me.

In my prayer for my case before the Lord, I prayed with reasonableness in demands, even though I did NOT pray for my ex-wife. I did NOT count myself as praying against her, I only presented what was reasonable before the Lord, and released the fight to the Lord. And in action, I left room for the Lord to act; in other words, of course, I had to engage a lawyer to fight for my case (and we actually had a scenario of a “David vs Goliath” {a small legal firm vs “Giant”}), but I did NOT try to control the case, at every turn, or submitted every single piece of information that was to my advantage, despite my lawyer’s and even pastor’s suggestions (I needed to protect my children, for example). Vindication belongs to the Lord.

Was I or am I NOT conscious that I did NOT pray for my ex-wife? Yes, I was and still am, and since the ordeal has reached sufficient milestones (which I accept since I have committed the fight to the Lord), I do think about this whole matter of forgiveness (my forgiveness for her). But it is NOT just that, it is also that in this great and prolonged affliction, the Lord raised up for me, the ministry of ministering to the sick and hurtful. To minister wholeness, inevitably, the subject of forgiveness comes in, and so, even as I minister, I must address my own scenario of whether there are things I have omitted to do, that which I must do, so that, I too, be as whole as I could be, to be the vessel of God’s work in this area.

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Anthony Chia said...

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While my experience does speak volume, still, as I have repeatedly said before, theology is NOT to be formed from experience, but is to be based on the Word of God; experience only testify to the truths of God from the Word. And I also learned that man should NOT be too quick to pronounce certain outcome is definitely due to this or that, unless the Lord specifically revealed to him, for, for the certain outcome, if you have released the case to the Lord, the outcome comes about through God’s sovereignty, first of all, and through God’s holiness and wisdom, and therefore, justice and righteousness; and of course, in addition, God’s love is at work.

I repeat: I am NOT saying it should apply to everyone, for in truth, the Word of God does call for praying for our enemy; but it was gracious of the Lord to be forgiving. One is to pray for his enemy, but if he is “unable” to, he should address the issue with the Lord; to the extent you “can”, you are to pray for the person, failure of which, the least you could do is NOT to be vindictive. Revenge is NOT for us, for we are slave to our Master; our Master, the Lord, shall vindicate us, according to what He deems fit. When you can pray for your enemy, you are more like Christ, Jesus than I am. Although my coverage, as a husband, over her, was no longer applicable, for she was adamant to break the marriage institution of God, and thus freeing me from obligation of a husband to pray for his wife, still the Luke passage (and similar passage in the other gospel books) asks for that, that we pray for our enemy.

What does, NOT praying, for our enemy or those who have hurt us, tell us? This is a very real question for me. It is NOT so much that I am referring to us absent-mindedly forgetting to pray for someone, including our enemy, but I am referring to our deliberate shutting off, the praying for that enemy.

Let me pose you a question, the answer of which, given by those who preached, “Forgive only when the person has truly repented”, I find hard to accept: Did Jesus when He was on the Cross, and Stephen, when he was being stoned, forgive their enemies (or those who hurt them both) when they prayed to God to forgive those who persecuted them both? Those preachers I referred to, have us believe that both Jesus and Stephen did NOT forgive their persecutors, but they both were merely asking God to forgive the people, for the people had NOT truly repented (NOT the right inference, as far as I am concerned).

If you truly understand what that forgiveness of God means, you will appreciate why it is hard for the victim who has NOT forgiven the offender, to pray for God to forgive the offender. A victim who has NOT forgiven wants “payment”, and but God’s forgiveness means, “No more payment required; on top of that, the forgiven person is being placed in the position of receiving blessings from God”. It is more likely that Jesus and Stephen both had forgiven their persecutors, for they both knew well what the forgiveness of God meant. In fact, I have to ask myself if I have forgiven my ex-wife? I have to answer this question honestly, for I am one who has to preach forgiveness according to the ways of God, in my ministry.

Have I told God that I have forgiven my ex-wife? Yes, I have. Do I think I have forgiven my ex-wife? Yes, I do. Have I released my forgiveness to her? No. Has she asked for forgiveness for what she has done? No. Has she shown prima facie repentance? No. If she comes round to me, and say, “I repent”, will I release my forgiveness to her? I believe I would.

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Anthony Chia said...

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I preach that as a believer, we must forgive, regardless. In other words, we, forgive in similar fashion as God forgives, out of grace, without the party having merited it. Then we are to release our forgiveness to the person, on prima facie repentance. Yes, forgive and releasing forgiveness, are NOT referring to the same; we must forgive, regardless, but we release forgiveness on prima facie repentance. Those wanting exposition of these, can read my blog article:

There are perhaps, 2 tests to know if you have forgiven: One, can you pray for God to forgive the offender, and to bless him? Two, can you release your forgiveness to the person on prima facie repentance?

On the issues of trust and re-entry into relationship, these are NOT covered sufficiently in my Part I article, but will be, in future entries; nevertheless, I say these:

1. Forgiveness is concerning a past action (Subscribing to the overly grace believers’ theology of your future sins were forgiven you AT your born-again, does NOT help!). Trust is about the future. Do NOT confuse or mesh the two together unnecessarily. Scriptures said that we are to forgive as God forgave; now if we are to forgive in the manner God forgave, and if you believe what the overly grace believers’ theology of God already forgiven you of your future sins which you have NOT committed, would anyone be willing to forgive another on the same basis? For such a basis would mandate “trust” be granted unconditionally, and “restoration” of relationship immediate, without question! I repeat, forgiveness is concerning a past action.

2. To forgive a person does NOT mean that you have to trust the person. Ps Prentis is right, trust need to be earned. It takes time for trust to develop again. Do NOT be manipulated by people who tells you, “But you forgave me, and so, you must trust me!” No, you forgave the offender for a past action against you, but that forgiveness does NOT include you must trust him.

3. Although we do NOT encourage people to abandon relationship easily, unless the relationship is unrighteous, to forgive, does NOT include you MUST re-enter back into the relationship. If a relationship is broken, for example, the 2 persons are divorced, a re-entering into the relationship necessitates whatever that are necessary for that relationship to work, and it should NOT re-entered into, just because one party has forgiven the other, for past hurts. Another example, a person who has come out of an abusive relationship, must forgive the abuser, but he or she does NOT need to go back into that relationship (please, preachers should NOT preach that), and be abused again.

4. Restoration is possible only when there is once again, trust (which must be earned), and the necessary “ingredients” for a renewed relationship are present. Blood relations, for example, father-child relationship, cannot be severed. A child must forgive his or her abusive father, but it does NOT necessarily mean that the child must be restored physically with the father if possibility of abuse is still high.

5. Do NOT carry unrighteous guilt (as opposed to godly sorrow). Do consider if you have really forgiven; and if you have forgiven, and released forgiveness when there was prima facie repentance (you do NOT need to release your forgiveness when there is no prima facie repentance, but you got to be honest about this), and you have done your reasonable part, but the person is NOT restored, for lack of trust and/or the necessary ingredients for the renewed relationship, do NOT blame yourself; move on with your life.