Monday, December 1, 2008

When a Friend Betrays

He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman.

Psalm 15:2-3 (NIV)

Here are three steps toward learning to trust again when a friend betrays:

Reveal your hurt to God. Vent your frustrations to God. Tell him about the friend who betrayed your most intimate secret, the family member who broke a promise one too many times, or the co-worker who deliberately worked to make you look bad even while she pretended to be supporting you.

God will never be surprised or upset by your anger, your hurt, or your sense of loss over betrayal. You can tell him exactly how you feel, and trust him to understand.

Release those who’ve offended you. Forgiveness does not mean you instantly trust your friend again. God teaches us to forgive instantly and for as many times as it takes; however, trust must be rebuilt over time. Trust must be re-earned.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to resume the relationship immediately, and it also doesn’t mean you have to resume it without any change.

Your friend, or family member, will only be able to rebuild your trust over time as he or she consistently and humbly shows that he or she is “one who lives honestly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in [his/her] heart – who does not slander with [his/her] tongue, who does not harm [his/her] friend or discredit [his/her] neighbor …” (Psalm 15:2-3 HCSB).

Re-focus your life. Don’t let anyone, particularly someone who has betrayed your trust, maintain a grip on your emotions. No doubt you’re feeling angry and hurt, but rather than trying to resist those thoughts, re-direct them.

For instance, try to see the situation from God’s perspective, and remember his ability to take things that are hurtful or mean-spirited in our lives and turn them into good...Rick Warren