Friday, March 25, 2011

Betrayed

“I don’t think we should date anymore,” she said. “We should just be friends.”

This was the first time I heard those horrible words. It didn’t matter that I was 16 years old. It didn’t matter that she was right. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have any business dating each other. It didn’t matter that our little high school romance was only a month old. It didn’t matter how gently she said these words. I had been rejected and it hurt. It was the worst pain possible to endure. Could anything hurt more? Yep!

As I was driving through town a few days after this devastating breakup, I saw something that would fracture my young heart even more. It was just a glimpse of something that horrified me. Approaching me in the oncoming lane of the main street in my small town was a very recognizable car. It belonged to one of the toughest kids in our school. He was a wrestler. He was tough. And, he could be mean. There was not a locker room fight he had lost. He was the type of kid you typically tried to avoid eye contact with. But, as his car past mine, I starred. My jaw dropped to my lap when I saw in the seat next to him… my girlfriend (former girlfriend). And she wasn’t just in the passenger seat; she was snuggled tight in the middle seat. It was amazing what that one glimpse did to me in that moment. My heart raced. My face flushed. I was fortunate to have stayed on the road as my mind became wildly distracted. The pain of the rejection had just descended to the pain of betrayal. The harsh reality hit me—she had broken up with me to be with him.

Why has the memory of the pain of that moment stayed with me for 30 years? It seems like this would be something I’d forget. My life has turned out wonderful. I’ll celebrate 24 years of marriage this May and I hope for at least that many more years of marriage. The joy I have with Janice, my wife, has so out-shadowed the pain of that silly high school romance; but, I still remember how it felt to be betrayed.

One of the most important elements of any relationship is trust. We are built to trust. God created us to trust. However, when trust is broken through betrayal, the heart experiences damage. We either heal from our wounds and begin to trust again, or we work harder to protect ourselves from ever experiencing that kind of pain again. It’s a decision we all have to make after experiencing betrayal. Do we become vulnerable to pain again by trusting, or do we wall ourselves off from others to limit opportunities for getting burned?

As you approach the story of the cross this week, don’t forget that before Jesus endured the pain of the nails in his hands, he endured the pain of the betrayal. Someone he trusted, someone he loved, turned on him. It’s easy to see Judas as a villain in the story but remember, Jesus chose Judas to follow him. Jesus gave him everything he had to offer but Judas chose to sell him out for silver. The emotional pain of betrayal was felt by God’s son.

Have you lost trust in someone? Has someone broken your heart? Have you been betrayed? Let these words comfort you today. Your pain is shared by God, himself.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4.14-16

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