Jesus knew who would betray Him, but we don’t always see betrayals coming. Sometimes it’s a blindside—but then again, shouldn’t we expect it?
After all, Jesus said that in the end times many “will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another” (Matt. 24:10, NKJV). I believe it often happens in that order. Someone isn’t going to betray you unless they first take Satan’s bait of offense. And no betrayal stings worse than a knife in your back wielded by someone who was supposed to have your back.
Shakespeare’s tragic play Julius Caesar makes it clear how the bitter act of betrayal seeks to harm its victim. We remember Caesar’s words: “Et tu, Brute?” Jesus put it another way: “Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:48). And David explained, “Even my best friend, the one I always told everything—he ate meals at my house all the time!—has bitten my hand” (Ps. 41:9 MSG).
When Trust Is Betrayed
People outside your inner circle persecute and malign you—but they can’t really betray you because betrayal implies trust. People inside your inner circle—those you’ve trusted and invested yourself in—can and sometimes do betray you, then persecute and malign you to disguise their dirty deeds. Sometimes they repent, but usually not until later—much later. Of course, we have to forgive them whether they repent or not.
The Holy Spirit once reminded me of this truth after a blindside betrayal. I started getting calls from people telling me someone who had walked out on the ministry was now making “offhand” comments about me. The Judas was savvy enough not to come right out and speak condemning words, but anyone who could read between the lines could smell the stench of gossip. Because I’ve been betrayed a number of times, it caused me to go into prayer for my persecutor. That’s when I heard the Holy Spirit remind me of His Word with a rhythmic phrase that’s so easy to remember: “If you want God to vindicate, don’t retaliate!”
That made me smile. In an instant, the Holy Sprit began to bring to my remembrance the times I’ve handled betrayal His way—and then saw the fruit of walking in His Word in this area of my life. The Word of God says, “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:19-21, NKJV).
Sermon on the Mount Liberty
That verse will liberate you if you will heed it. Need more? Consider the liberty in these words from the Sermon on the Mount:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matt. 5:43-46).
I learned all of this early in my Christian walk because I came into the faith after two major, life-changing betrayals—my husband abandoned me, and soon after, I landed in jail on a false accusation (of which I was eventually cleared)—that turned my world upside down and put me on a path seeking God. I was taught immediately that God is my vindicator, and I have seen this truth play out over and over and over again in my life.
Hear me on this. When you are betrayed, you have two choices: You can sink to your hater’s level and enjoy the temporary satisfaction of attacking them in the same spirit that attacked you, or you can decide to move in the opposite spirit—the Spirit of Christ—and allow Him to prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies (Ps. 23:5). I’ve discovered that when I do things God’s way, He restores what the enemy stole and promotes me to another level of influence. It happens every time. You just have to hang on to the Word and move on with your life—forgiving your betrayer, opening your heart to receiving God’s healing, then forgetting what lies behind and expecting God to move on your behalf.
Hold Out for God’s Vindication
Recently I appeared on Sid Roth’s It’s Supernatural show talking about some of my betrayals and how God restored my life, but the radio broadcast offers even more details. On the radio, I told the story of leaving a publishing company and how I was sorely betrayed and persecuted on my way out the door—and even years later. Many people there thought I was in rebellion and deceived. I chose not to retaliate and waited for God to vindicate. I forgave them. He healed me. He promoted me—and then one of the sweetest vindications came nearly four years later through a phone call from an elderly woman still inside the organization who told me, “I am so proud of you. Everyone thought you were deceived, but God has confirmed you. You followed God out of this place, and look where He has taken you!”
Beloved, don’t try to defend yourself. Don’t try to make people understand your side of the story. Don’t engage in conversation with other people about the betrayal. It doesn’t matter what people think. It matters what God thinks. And if God wants to show them the truth, He will do it. Trust God. Let Him pull the knife out of your back. When you refuse to retaliate, God will vindicate! Whether you see that vindication immediately or it takes years, hold on to these words from Romans 8:33-37:
“Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Amen.
Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior’s Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at [email protected] or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.