When We Have Been Betrayed
By Kevin Probst
Ted Haggard recently visited a local church in our community. He confessed his failures and thanked God for second chances. Ted Haggard’s failure caused a great amount of confusion and disappointment, especially among younger Christians who looked up to him as a role model. Many turned away wondering, “If I can’t trust this man, a man who ministered the tens of thousands, a man who seemed to be so upright and committed to truth, then who can I trust?”
The betrayal of trust brings horrendous suffering to a loyal heart. The word betrayal is closely associated with the word, backstab. To be betrayed is to be blindsided, usually by someone you trusted and loved. The pain sometimes lasts an entire lifetime.
The bitterness of betrayal can cause hatred to take root in the soul. An unfamiliar word for many is misandry, it refers to a hatred for men. Susan Murphy-Milano (Defending our Lives)and K.J. Wilson (When Violence Begins) have written books that demonstrate a deep seeded hatred for men in general. They have advised women how to leave their husbands. They have taught women how to falsely accuse a man of rape or harassment and use false evidence to build a case. These feminazis certainly do not represent the mainstream feminist movement but they do represent a significant number of militant feminists who are willing to produce false accusations and twisted exaggerations to push their anti-male agenda.
I talked to a man recently whose marriage broke to pieces years ago. He confessed his role in the breakup but he repeated again and again that he was faithful to his wife while she pursued many men and finally even committed to a lesbian affair. There was no resolution for him. First of all, he hadn’t dealt with his own failures in the marriage. But he was also eaten up with bitterness and hurt because he had been blindsided by someone he loved dearly.
Misogyny is hatred or disrespect for women. Disrespect for women has become so common place in our society that the younger generation accepts it as the norm. It is always confusing and contradictory when powerful politicians who support radical feminism get a free pass when they have multiple affairs while the wife and children sit at home. Pornography has done more harm to the image of women than anything else in our culture yet more and more women are willing to participate is such demeaning activity. Ashley Judd called modern hip-hop the soundtrack to misogyny. Young men are being taught to define their manhood by how aggressive and abusive they are toward women. They are often encouraged and empowered by women who reveal they have serious self-esteem issues when they return over and over again to an abusive partner. Respect is an important issue for men. Love and respect can’t stand alone, they need each other. The “B_ _ _ _” word is very prevalent in our culture today. It’s a mystery why so many women tolerate and even embrace this disrespectful depiction by displaying it on their t-shirts and body tattoos.
There is much distrust for clergy. There is much distrust between the sexes. There is also much distrust for our government. A national telephone survey by Rasmussen indicated that only 13% believe Congress is doing a good or excellent job. Nearly 50% of respondents say Congress is doing a poor job. 40% of Americans strongly disapprove of the job President Obama is doing. Americans don’t trust their government or their president. Blogs, billboards and busses all carry unanswered questions about the president: Is he a Muslim? Is he a Christian? Does he hate America? Does he hate Israel? Does he have a legitimate birth certificate? Many Americans fear they are being betrayed by their government and their president.
Wives have been betrayed by husbands. Husbands have been betrayed by wives. Small children have suffered sexual abuse in the worst kind of betrayal by family members they genuinely trusted. Politicians betray their constituents. Pastors betray their congregants. Siblings betray each other in order to get more than their fair share of an inheritance from a dead parent. The suffering of betrayal is a cancer eating away at the social fabric of our culture.
So what do you do when you have suffered the pain of betrayal, when you’ve been stabbed in the back? When the love you have given so freely has been trampled and stomped on? There are no easy answers. Our human nature demands we seek vengeance and justice. Our court systems are overwhelmed by a backlog of lawsuits submitted by those who have been hurt by betrayal.
Ironically, the right thing to do is contrary to human nature. Jesus knew about betrayal. He was betrayed by those he loved most. He is still being betrayed and backstabbed by those he loves. Those of us who call ourselves ‘Followers’ should respond as he did, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)
God allows pain in our lives. It is the hammer and chisel that brings out of us a likeness for Christ. How we respond to the issue is often more important than the issue itself.
A man once asked an artist, “How do you make an elephant.” The artist replied, “It’s easy, you simply take a block of marble, a hammer and a chisel and you chip away everything that is not elephant.” Christ allows pain and difficulty in our lives to act as a hammer and chisel to chip away all the parts that are not like Christ.
Instead of responding with hatred and vengeance we must realize that vengeance belongs to God. One day he will exact justice for every situation. We must be patient and allow him to do his job and refrain from trying to help him. In the meantime we are to “do all we can to live peaceably with all men.” (Romans12:18)