And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. (John 18:2 )
Betrayal is the most insidious form of emotional pain and trauma that a person can experience. If you have ever been betrayed by someone close to you, you know the extreme pain that betrayal can cause in your heart, mind and spirit. Betrayal can break your heart more quickly and more deeply than any other kind of emotional pain or trauma. It is much worse when the person is a professing Christian.
Jesus suffered betrayal at the hands of one of His disciples, Judas. He sold Jesus out for thirty pieces of silver!
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. (Matthew 26:14-15)
This betrayal preceded the transition in Jesus’ ministry to his death and resurrection. It was necessary for God’s plan of salvation to be accomplished and it was prophesied in Psalm 41 and Zechariah 11.
Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. (Psalm 41:9)
Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. (Zechariah 11:12)
In spite of the fact that He knew it would happen, I believe that Jesus suffered great emotional pain from that betrayal. In Matthew 26:24, Jesus said, “The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
What a powerful statement! “It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” I think that the Lord takes betrayal very seriously and as followers of Jesus Christ, we need to do the same.
That is just one form of betrayal, delivering someone to an enemy. Betrayal can take other forms such as revealing confidential information, or breaking a vow or a promise. It is always based in deception, which is lying. Since Satan is described as the father of lies in the Bible, we know that he and his army are at the root of betrayal. This is clearly pointed out in the following verse.
Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. (Luke 22:3-4)
Betrayal can be used by the kingdom of darkness to bring disunity in ministries, families and any other relationship. Many families and marriages have been devastated as a result of betrayal. The Body of Christ is under attack from the kingdom of darkness. When Christians betray and attack each other, they are assisting the devil and his forces.
A lack of integrity within the Body of Christ has led to backstabbing that resembles what occurs with non-Christians. This practice is definitely not—loving one another—as Jesus instructed His disciples. Gossip is extremely damaging and often results from broken promises of confidentiality. That betrayal can and has caused unimaginable emotional and spiritual pain for those who were betrayed in this way.
All-too-common, overwhelming heartbreak occurs when people are serving the Lord Jesus and being productive for God’s kingdom only to be attacked and gossiped about by fellow Christians. The ones doing this may not realize how much pain they are inflicting on others in the Body of Christ. It may be done out of jealousy or pride, but it is always sin and causes deep wounds to those who are the targets of the betrayal. Many of those who were betrayed have left the Church as a result. Thank God that Jesus is able to heal those hurts and release that emotional and spiritual pain!
Broken trust is always involved in betrayal. Whether it entails disloyalty, unfaithfulness, infidelity, or any other form, trust is always broken!
There are many examples in the Bible of situations where people went through various types of betrayal. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Matthew 26:49). Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery (Genesis 37:12-36). Delilah betrayed Samson after learning the secret to his strength. She had a man shave off Samson’s hair and then turned him over to the Philistines for an enormous amount of money (Judges 16:4-21). Hosea’s wife committed adultery (Hosea 3:1).
Adultery, breaking the marriage vows by having a sexual relationship with another person, is an extremely damaging form of betrayal. It destroys not only the trust between the married couple but also the soul of the one committing adultery. Ungodly soul ties are formed between the man and woman committing adultery. This negates the ability of the one committing adultery to be loyal to the godly soul ties with their spouse. The more the adultery is repeated, the more desensitized the people involved become as with any other sin. The ungodly soul ties become stronger and the result may be another marriage ended. An emotional affair can be just as devastating for the same reasons.
Viewing pornography is another form of betrayal. It is a serious betrayal of a person’s relationship with the Most High God. It becomes an addiction and an idol in the heart of the person, because it takes the place of the Lord in their mind, heart and spirit. Viewing pornography is also a form of adultery. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The betrayal of a spouse viewing pornography has destroyed innumerable marriages and families.
Surviving and healing from the emotional and spiritual pain of betrayal requires a level of obedience to God that comes through years of training in the Lord’s school of life. Forgiving someone who has betrayed you is the most difficult thing to do. It may require that you receive inner healing ministry prayer from another believer. If you allow the pain to fester inside you, it will turn into bitterness and resentment. In time, it will also affect you physically. Dealing with these emotional hurts is for your benefit and well-being. Inner healing from the pain and trauma caused by betrayal is absolutely necessary if you are going to fulfill your God-given destiny and endure to the end.
All Scripture verses are quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.
(This article was written using excerpts from Chapter 5 in my book, Healing Hearts: A Journey in the Midst of Spiritual Adversity.)