Lately I’ve been thinking about what is the appropriate way to respond to betrayal. Not necessarily a positive thought I know, but unfortunately it has been a necessary one lately.
I’ve always strived to act with kindness and to treat people better than fairly. Before I ever became a Christian and read in the Bible that I was to “count others as more significant” than myself (Phil 2:1-8) my parents had brought me up to treat others well. This has given me a good grounding to know how to relate to other people honestly, respectfully and as a servant. I don’t do this for a positive response from them but rather because it is the right thing to do. I guess there is a certain expectation or hope though that if you treat others kindly they will reciprocate.
I have learned over the past few months that this isn’t the case. You don’t always get what you deserve in every situation or relationship. Ego or selfishness come into play and people will often seek to do what is best for them even if it causes you harm or pain. Karma doesn’t work. The “what goes around comes around” principle is kind of cool to see in movies, but it isn’t observable in the real world. This side of eternity Justice has a long backlog of unfinished work’s on her to do list. Especially in the working world.
There are two ways for workers out there to establish a good name within their workforce. I’ve seen both work and also fail at different times over the years and it largely depends on the work-culture or environment, and the character of the people involved. The two ways I’ve seen people make themselves look good are: by working hard and doing a good job or by pulling others down and making others look bad. Most workforces have both types of workers. I’ve always hoped to be the first type and that my integrity, honesty and work-ethic would speak for itself. I don’t know how someone could look at themselves in the mirror if they bitch, whine, moan or pull somebody else down with words just to advance themselves. Surely their consciences would get the better of them or at least their pride and self-respect would.
That was my theory anyway.
I’ve observed an increase of sneaky wickedness and bad character in this world. I try to turn a blind eye to it and just live differently. It’s hard to turn a blind eye to something though, when it is aimed and directed at you. Lately I have had a hard to miss target on my back. Sometimes things are so blatant they demand a retort. But what is the response for a Christian who has been betrayed or backstabbed? When does turning “the other cheek” principle apply and when is it just a weak excuse or unwise misinterpretation?
I have treated a certain person with love, respect and kindness, even sticking up for them to others and refusing to do them harm. I have done an incredible lot for this person, some of which they don’t even know about. It has recently come to my attention through other people that this person is lying about me, using me as a scapegoat or puppet, taking advantage of my kindness and blaming me for them not having met their responsibilities. It kind of hurts because of all I have done for them, but it is also concerning me because of the implications of my good name being tarnished by this person blaming me for their own lack of competence. It may affect future job prospects for myself.
The question is what is the response that carries with it the integrity and the character that God wants? It is so important to me to only do with this what God wants me to do and to bring glory to Him.
Here are a few things that I have been thinking about tonight that are helping me to forge my response. Thoughts on how to handle betrayal-
– Go to the person who is causing you grief. Talk to them and tell them where you stand. Tell them how you feel. “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother…” (Matt 18:15). Be completely honest.
– If that doesn’t work or get through to them, get a witness. Someone to mediate. “…But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses…” (Matt 18:16)
– Forgive and love your enemies. Christ did this under the most extreme situations (Luke 23:34), surely you and I can follow his examples in our own situations. Christ preached a sermon that demanded we “…love our enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you…” (Luke 6:27-28). This is a hard one, and personal. How do you forgive someone who unrepentantly lies about you? The answer is “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). Receiving Gods forgiveness allows us to forgive others. It is a supernatural response to being forgiven by God. After all we have sinned against Him far greater than anyone has sinned against us.
– Do not seek revenge. It won’t turn back the clock. Allow room for God to vindicate. “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all… Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ …Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:17).
See the Bible has very practical clear directions for those who have been backstabbed, The dilemma is: I want to be vindicated. I’m not bitter or anything like that, although I am hurt. I have forgiven but forgiving won’t give my good name back if the facts of the situation aren’t to a certain extent revealed. In my current case I was falsely accused by someone I thought was my friend, publicly (to a small group and hierachy) but behind my back. This was to unfairly shift the responsibility for their mistake from them and onto me, with lies, to preserve their own career. As a Christian I believe in turning the other cheek and looking out for people. I believe in seeking and making peace. I believe in allowing God to vindicate me, and that my actions and reputation will speak for themselves. However, I also believe in truth. To not speak out and defend myself will make me look bad. I don’t really know what to do, but I think it is ok in this situation where I have tried to sort it out individually and to discuss the facts of the issue with those in the know and those that have been misled, all the while maintaining a forgiving heart . That’s my plan at the moment anyway.
I feel like its okay to not respect the person as much, because they have shown that although they still need love and forgiveness, they do not deserve the respect I would have for them if they only confessed their flaws and mistakes. If they only did that I might even be able to respect them again but we’ll see, I’ll have to cross that bridge when I don’t have a sore, stabbed back.
Karma is a bull-crap term. Its false a idea that doesn’t work. These things are not circular but a straight line drawn into eternity by the Creator God. The desire of a Christian shouldn’t be for Karma to come back to bite our accusers, but for our God to intervene and grant the accusers repentance so Justice bites neither of us but both may receive eternal mercy and forgiveness in Eternity.
It is Gods good pleasure to exact a fair justice on your accusers sins when the time is right… either at Calvary or eternally. As for my accusers I hope my thoughts, words and deeds point them to Calvary.