Betrayal has unfortunately been a player in most people’s lives. Devastating when it happens to us, it can devour parts of our soul, and our bodies over time, if we don’t handle it properly. How many of us, upon recalling a time when a family member, a spouse or friend betrayed us, respond inwardly with anger, confusion or outright bitterness? How do we get to the place we feel nothing, or maybe only pity for the person? We see in the lives of Joseph and Jesus, two important aspects of betrayal’s antidote. One is time, and the other is mercy.
We read in Genesis 37 of how Joseph had a dream of being a leader, respected by his brothers. He told his brothers about this dream and his other dreams of grandeur, and His brothers hated him for it. They were so jealous and angry, they planned to kill him, but instead, he was sold into slavery in Egypt. Time passed, and we never hear about Joseph being burdened by anger or bitterness over the wrongful treatment by his brothers. He went through some trials in Egypt, but then God blessed him so much, he spent his time in authority and abundance.
Joseph didn’t go back to rail on his brothers or try to change their minds about him. Joseph just moved on with the blessings God put in front of him. Joseph was only 17 when his brothers betrayed him. He was 39 when he saw his brothers again. That’s 22 years. Time can definitely be a factor in healing the bitterness of betrayal.
Over time, we get involved in the things of God, and we get so busy in other things and other people, that we just don’t have the extra time or energy to mull over old betrayals. The Lord doesn’t want us to feel bad if we’re having a hard time getting over the hurt. God gave us the lesson of Joseph. We do the next thing the Lord puts in front of us, with all our might. The more time that passes, the less the hurt is going to affect us.
Then when there was a famine in Israel, Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt for food. They had no idea Joseph was the overseer of all that food. Joseph was fully able and willing to show them mercy.
Jesus Christ was betrayed by so many people in his lifetime and is still being betrayed to this day, but Jesus is a master of mercy. He was able to say at his crucifixion, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). When Jesus was betrayed, He didn’t need time as a healer like most of us do, but He showed us a second great part of betrayal’s antidote: giving mercy. When we hold onto anger or bitterness toward someone who’s betrayed us, we use the weapons of our emotions, thoughts, and words to stab at the person. We want to wound them and make them suffer as much as they as they made us suffer.
But Jesus showed us that instead of harming them, we should show them mercy. It’s supernatural, and it works wonders. Jesus’ way is to release the betrayers to God. We follow Jesus and do the same. It’s an amazingly powerful way to deal with betrayal. I’ve done this and found that when we release them to God, they become a blank to us emotionally. The only thing left is pity and the love of God. It sets us free and them too – good for everyone.
God’s answers to life’s traumas and emotional upsets are all in the Bible, and we are so blessed to have it in our world.
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WINGS: A Journey in Faith from the Earthly to the Heavenly is a compilation of stories—revelations and guidance gathered from my experiences living as a Christian in Las Vegas.