On Thursday night, at Pit Stop (middle school youth group), I wrapped up a teaching series called When Things Get Ugly. We spent the past couple weeks talking about some of the more nasty parts of relationships. I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts from last night’s lesson on dealing with betrayal…what should we do when someone violates our trust. I focused on 3 important steps:
- Deal with the Anger. Psalm 4:4 tells us “In your anger do not sin”. Anger is a strong emotion and can very easily lead us into decisions that we regret. When responding to someone who has betrayed us a couple things can help us to avoid straying into sin.
1 – Delay your response. Don’t fire back, give it some time so that you can settle down a bit and respond more appropriately. Type that email, but don’t send it yet. Wait until tomorrow to make that phone call.
2 – Stick to the issue, don’t attack the person. When discussing the problem, don’t attack their character, simply let them know how there action negatively affected you and the pain it has caused you. When you stick to the issue rather than the person you’re less likely to stir up a defensive response.
- Choose to forgive. Ephesians 4:32 says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” When we understand how much God has forgiven us, we understand that we’ll never be asked to forgive someone more than we’ve been forgiven. Choosing to hold a grudge (not forgive) only harms us. It holds us down and robs us of joy. A couple suggestions to help with this decision.
1 – Confess your bitterness to God. Bitterness is sin. When we confess it to God and ask him to work on our hearts, we’re taking the first step on the path to forgiveness.
2 – Say the words “I release you from the way you hurt me”. Maybe you can’t say it to their face yet. That’s fine, start by saying it to yourself. Repeat it as often as necessary. Eventually your emotions will get in line with your will.
- Seek Reconciliation. II Corinthians 5:18 says “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation”. Forgiveness says I don’t hold that against you anymore, but reconciliation is the restoring of that relationship. It’s the repairing part. A couple suggestions to help with this
1 – Start small. You’re not doing either of you any good if you act like nothing happened. Start spending time together again and rebuilding trust.
2 – Don’t bring up the past. If you said you forgive them, show that you mean it by not bringing it up again. It’s not that you forget that it happened, it’s that no good comes from bringing it up again. You’ve forgiven them, time to stop making them pay for it.
Wherever you’re at on your spiritual journey, I hope that you’ll follow the Father’s example and learn to deal with Betrayal in a way that honors Him.