Handling the Betrayal of a Friend
I was involved in a group with other women some time ago. There came a time when God was helping me to simplify my schedule so that I could focus on His purpose for my life. This all sounds good, doesn’t it? I made a phone call to notify one of the other women in the group. I explained my position of having God help me eliminate some commitments to allow me to follow His will more closely. She was gracious and said that I needed to do what I needed to do. This is where the story changes from a comfortable setting to a very ugly one. At the time I had the impression that the woman was understanding, supportive, and appreciative of my honesty. With this thought in my mind, I felt really good about my decision, thankful that God helped me handle the call, and was filled to the brim with excitement to continue on my journey to simplicity. You could say I was having one of those high times in life. Everything was falling into place; until the phone rang a couple of weeks later.
The voice on the other end of the phone was a friend. What her words revealed to me was a very different side to the story that left me feeling more than nauseated when I finished the call. Good feeling gone. The original woman I spoke with hadn’t told me that my timing was going to leave the group in a predicament for an upcoming event. She never spoke about her concerns. Instead of talking with me directly, she talked to other women in the group. This would not have been so hurtful had she stuck to the issue, but she talked poorly about me as a person and a parent. Ouch!
Betrayed! My first response was one of indignation while I was listening to the other woman tell me what they were saying. “How dare her!” “Has she ever looked at how she treats her children?” “Does she see how her kids act at the playground?” Thoughts such as these were swimming around my head. Luckily, God kept me silent as I listened, because after a few moments I realized that I didn’t know if what I was being told was accurate. I finished the call with something like, “Thanks for letting me know. I really appreciate it.” A few minutes after the call God asked some questions that put my mind in a whole other perspective. “Are you like that?” “Have you done this as a parent?” “Where is your focus?” It was time for me to hash it out with God so I could handle the betrayal in a way that would glorify Him.
This story probably rings true for you. It may bring up some sour memories. You can understand the pain that this caused me. I chose this woman to be the one I called to explain the changes I needed to make in my life, because I thought she was a friend who I could trust, and knew my heart. That feeling of betrayal from a friend was like a sword slicing through me. However, this was not the main issue; it was only the emotional issue. It was time to separate the facts and the emotions.
This is an important part of working with people. We can allow our emotions to get in the way of handling issues in a Godly way. Once that blood starts to boil, we are operating from our selves, not God. When you realize you are at this point, ask God to reveal the truth. Before you can judge others, you must examine yourself. (Matthew 7:1-5)
Max Lucado writes, “We see that judgment can be made in the right way. We can take the speck from our brother’s eye once we have removed the plank in our own eye. This will involve examining our motives in judging. Are we judging for the furtherance of God’s kingdom or to build ourselves up and make us feel better or look better?”
At times, it may not be comfortable. I was not without fault. I knew there was an upcoming event and assumed my role would easily be accomplished by the others. I never even asked if it might cause a problem. I never thought about the others. If I had realized this previously, I probably would have inquired about it, weighed the facts, and quite possibly might have seen the event through and then bowed out. Once God showed me that all of the other things the women were talking about behind my back was nothing more than a result of being hurt and feeling abandoned, the betrayal didn’t seem quite so hurtful. I am not saying it went away, but it dissipated quickly.
Once you judge the situation correctly, it is time to make sure you have the facts. In this situation, I made a few phone calls. I found that much of what had been relayed to me had, in fact, been true; this is when your vengeance seeking self can take the lead if you aren’t careful. Remember your focus is to glorify God. Acknowledge that you are hurt and ask for healing. God will not only put a Band-Aid on your wound, but he will heal it completely over time. When you feel betrayed, handle it with prayer! Let God take hold and walk you through the process of healing. Be patient and wait on Him. He may have a surprise around the back that you can’t foresee. With my situation, I waited almost 3 months before I had clarification from God on how to proceed. In the interim, I chose to not associate with those women at all. Actually, I tried to be around them socially, only to find that there was a tension. I needed to step away from them completely. As God helped me to judge myself, I was then able to judge how to proceed without awkwardness or bitterness. Now, I can be with those women and enjoy my time, although I am cautious. God will walk you through overcoming the pain of betrayal step by step. Keep your eyes focused on Him and the rest will come.
Verses for Meditation:
- Genesis 3: 12-13
- Romans 12: 17-21