Perhaps one of the most memorable stories of the New Testament is the betrayal of Jesus by Judas Iscariot. Jesus was also denied three times by Peter. In fact, all the disciples fled for their own safety after Christ was arrested. We know as humans that others will disappoint us and we will surely disappoint them. We also know that as Christian we are called to forgiveness. However, betrayal takes on a whole new meaning when the person that betrays you is a close friend or family member. Now, the situation has become personal and emotions become strong.
Our instinct is to fight fire with fire and to justify our action with “an eye for an eye”. (Exodus 21:24). At times of betrayal we tend to live in the flesh and not live in the spirit. We fail to “take capture every thought and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). The mind and the heart are so very important to our spiritual health and scripture warns us to protect our hearts. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). The heart is a breeding ground for words. Our words can either build up The Body of Christ or destroy it. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” Luke 6:45.
Jesus recognized how we struggle with betrayal and explained the proper response. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you (Matthew 5:38-42).
Recognize Your Enemy
We all have an enemy and we all have the same enemy. It is the fallen angel known as the devil. To deny his existence is to deny scripture (1 Peter 5:8-9). Your enemy is not the person that betrayed you but is in fact the devil. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV). Christ came to unite us and the devil seeks to destroy and divide us. Betrayal is one of the favorite tools of the enemy.
Understand the Battle
If the devil does not exist, then why did God send Jesus to fight against what does not exist? Who was it that tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? Who tempted Christ after 40 days of fasting? Who battles and loses to Christ in the Book of Revelation? Jesus came for many reasons. One of which was battle. The Bible says in 1 John 3:8, “The Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil.” Betrayal is sign of spiritual warfare. You are being attacked because you are a threat to the enemy. He recognizes you as a Disciple with a heart for ministry and wants to stop or minimize your impact.
Fight the Good Fight
Most of us don’t understand the authority that we have against the devil. Matthew 28:18-19 says “we have all authority in Heaven and on Earth.” This authority was given to us by Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit! “and with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22). There is no greater power on this earth than the Holy Spirit. For it is through the Spirit that we are able to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:11-17) and engage in spiritual warfare. We arm ourselves with the only necessary offensive weapon – God’s word.
Last but not least is prayer. It is essential that we pray for those that have hurt us, betrayed us, and taken advantage of us. Pray that the Holy Spirit will come into their lives and fill their hearts with love. It is important to recognize that your prayer will be answered and God will move but He will move on His time, and His timing is always perfect.
Nobody understands your suffering and betrayal more than our Lord. He was betrayed by His disciples, the leaders of the church, and the crowd gathered before Pontius Pilate on that fateful day. During your betrayal it is essential that you draw upon His strength and draw closer to Him. Your endurance has limits, but His has none. “Fasten your yoke to His for His yoke is easy and His burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).
About the Author:
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist under the direction of the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is concurrently in training to become a Lay Minister under the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He enjoys writing inspirational Christian blogs at ToddShupe.com and Todd-Shupe.com .