It is highly likely that at some stage during your life you have experienced betrayal, maybe even more than once or twice. I have experienced three different kinds of betrayal and I’ll give simple random examples to explain each one. The first is when someone has betrayed your trust by doing something, which you won’t approve of, behind your back. For example cheating on you or abusing your finances. The second is when you feel betrayed because someone did something which you did not expect or even approve of. This does not mean that the other person actually did something wrong, but only that their actions left you feeling betrayed. For example when two of your friends go out and don’t invite you. What they did is not wrong, but you might feel betrayed because they did not invite you. The third one happens really often but many people don’t even recognise it as betrayal. This is when you betray yourself. Betrayal can be when you have an expectation of someone and they let you down and this person can even be yourself. For example a friend of yours is being mocked in a conversation, you expect yourself to stand up for the person, but instead you just keep quiet. You have betrayed yourself. Afterwards you will probably even feel the need to justify why you did not stand up for the friend.
In all the above mentioned examples the feeling of betrayal will be present. Feeling betrayed can be one of the hardest emotions to process and almost always results in anger. When we do not deal with an underlying emotion (betrayal), another emotion (mostly anger) rises to the occasion depending on your personality. We often display anger when we feel hurt, vulnerable and experience emotional pain.
If betrayal is not dealt with, it can grow into an ugly emotion called bitterness or resentment. This is so dangerous, because it will damage your heart and other relationships even if the person is not in the picture anymore. Someone with bitterness or resentment in their heart will struggle to experience joy and love fully and might start believing that the world is “out to get them”. Thus it is definitely in your own interest to deal with the emotion properly.
The key to dealing with betrayal is forgiveness, but you might need a few steps before you get there and the time frame will be different depending on the type of betrayal. So how do we start the healing process? Validating the emotion of betrayal is a good start, admit to yourself that you feel betrayed and hurt. Talk about the situation, if you cannot speak with the other person involved then speak to a trusted friend. The most important thing is that you start dealing with the emotion.
If the person is still in your life, it is important to start building the trust that was broken again. It is definitely not impossible, but it is a journey and forgiveness is crucial. You cannot have a healthy relationship with someone if there is unforgiveness in your heart. Forgiveness is often a decision and you have to act on it even if you don’t feel like it. Ask God to help you forgive, even if you feel like you can’t. He can open your heart again and heal the wound. Your emotions will eventually catch on and follow your heart and mind’s decision to forgive. During betrayal the wall of a relationship cracks and it needs to be rebuild in places. Keep your focus on rebuilding the wall with forgiveness and this will stop the wall from cracking through to the foundations.
Forgiveness is so worth it! Not just for you, but also to free the person on the other end, especially if that person is you! We so often forget to forgive ourselves and show ourselves the kindness and grace that we deserve. Even if you think that you do not deserve forgiveness, it’s a lie. You deserve it because you have the righteousness of Christ and Jesus has already paid the price for anything that you will ever do wrong. Beating yourself up would nullify the price that He’s already paid and steal your joy.
Free yourself today by forgiving and if you struggle, just ask God for help. You do not deserve to walk around with a wounded heart. Rather choose the path of healing and growth and fill your heart with all that is good. The bible says that whom the Son has set free, is free indeed! Don’t let anything take that freedom from you!
Picture credit: Pinterest
Picture credit: Pinterest