“God’s Hidden Purpose In Betrayal” by Garris Elkins

by | Mar 3, 2008 | Hope, Humility, Obedience, Restoration | 1 comment

Embedded somewhere, in each act of betrayal, is the purpose of God waiting to be discovered.

As you read the following list of names what would they have in common? Benedict Arnold, Alger Hiss, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and Judas Iscariot. They were all traitors or betrayers.

The words “betray” and “traitor” each come from the same Latin word. This word means “to lead someone to their enemy by treachery.” A traitor is someone who betrays a trust.

One of the most graphic betrayals in human history took place during the Last Supper. Judas betrayed Jesus in the midst of a very intimate setting. If you are familiar with the section of scripture you know that Jesus is taking time with His disciples to give them His last instructions before His arrest and crucifixion.

Luke’s account of the Last Supper reveals just how deep this betrayal was when Luke describes the betrayer as, “one who sits among us as a friend.” Betrayal hurts because it takes us by surprise. The Last Supper was an intimate and safe environment. We don’t expect betrayal to happen in that context.

In John 13 the disciples asked, “Who’s He talking about?” in reference to the identity of the betrayer. It didn’t make sense to the disciples that a betrayer was in their midst.

Long-term relationships are places where we assume we will experience intimacy and safety. In these relationships we can let our guard down and be ourselves. This is why it is so painful and difficult to recover from this kind of betrayal. One of the deepest wounds of betrayal is that many times it takes us by surprise. Even when it is happening we are not sure we understand fully what is taking place. The disciples didn’t understand either.

In Matthew’s account of the Lord’s betrayal the disciples asked as a group, “Is it me?” Even Judas asked this question even though he knew he was the betrayer.

Judas was a deceiver. He was so good in this role that he would steal from the ministry fund and no one had a clue. Judas was the one who criticized Mary for pouring the anointing oil on Jesus. He had plans for that valuable oil. Judas did not become a full-blown betrayer in a single day. He got to that place by living a life of step-by-step and day-by-day compromise.

Betrayal can come in many forms. It can be a spouse who betrays a marriage bed. It can be an employee who steals company funds that were entrusted to him. It can happen to a child who is abused by someone who should have protected them. It can be a friend who betrays a confidence and shares a secret.

In order to deal with betrayal we have to understand one important truth – embedded somewhere, in each act of betrayal, is the purpose of God waiting to be discovered. Without the hope of this discovery we will be devastated by the betrayal and stop living and engaging life as God intended.

God is never taken by surprise with betrayal. His plan for our lives and ministries is never derailed by betrayal. God’s plan for our lives only gets derailed when we let the effects of betrayal rule and reign in our lives.

There are two groups of people who are affected by betrayal – the betrayer and the betrayed.

If you are the betrayer you need to know that the sin of betrayal plans to take you somewhere. For Judas, John 13:30 tells us that betrayal took him “out into the night.” Betrayal will reposition you into a dark place. The only way back into a lighted place is through confession and repentance. Confession is agreeing with God that something is sin and repentance is that shift in our thinking that produces a new direction for our life.

If you have betrayed someone and have truly repented, the moment you confessed your sin to God, you were taken out of that dark place and put back into the light. It may not feel like it though. In the natural you may have to live with the label of betrayer the rest of your life in certain circles of fellowship, but to God you have been relabeled and repositioned.

Restored betrayers need to listen to God more than the words of those they have wronged. The pain of betrayal can shout loud and hurtful things at a restored betrayer. Words that flow out of hurt and sorrow are not what define us – only God defines us.

For the victims of betrayal the spirit of vengeance, that wants to attach itself to you, will try to lure you into the betrayer’s dark place. For the victims of betrayal there is a strong desire to see the betrayer punished. Vengeance wants a piece of someone. Hell wants to help you tailor a plan to punish your betrayer. Darkness wants to lure you into the hardness of heart where an unwillingness to forgive exists. You don’t have to go there. The choice is yours to make.

What can you as a victim of betrayal do? You can bring that betrayal to Jesus and give it to Him. Let Him own it. Tell Him how much it hurts. He knows the pain of betrayal. Confess your plans of vengeance, punishment and separation. You are the only one who can make the choice about which direction your life will take. Will you follow the pain of betrayal into a dark place or will you follow the Spirit’s leading into the light of God’s mercy and grace?

Betrayal will lead you somewhere. The choice is yours. The victory over betrayal is found in the response of the betrayed.

In one season of our ministry Jan and I had been terribly wronged by another believer. I remember the night we got the phone call telling us what this person was doing and saying about us publicly. We were hundreds of miles away. We felt helpless. We had entrusted this person with the lives of people we dearly loved. The words of betrayal wounded us deeply.

I remember hanging up the phone that night and taking Jan by the hand and saying, “We need to pray.” We got down on our knees and began to tell God all the pain we felt in that moment. It felt like our lives were caving in on us. It felt like someone had impaled us with a poisoned spear. Our guts ached. In one of those moments of supernatural impartation God gave us one of the greatest spiritual survival gifts we had ever received. He gave us the gift of praise and blessing in the face of betrayal.

As we continued to pray our prayers shifted into praise. We began to praise God for Who he was. We thanked Him for this opportunity to trust Him in our helplessness. We thanked Jesus for this hurtful moment because it was taking us deeper into our dependence on Him. Then we began to bless our betrayer. Over the next few months more phone calls would come from confused saints about how this person continued to say horrible things about our lives and ministry. Every time we thought of our betrayer we made the choice to bless instead of curse. This went on for eight years!

I remember the night we were invited over to our betrayer’s home for dinner and, after eight years, he asked for our forgiveness. With great joy I was able to look him in the eye and tell him that we forgave him eight years ago and had spent the last eight years blessing him.

How we choose to respond to the pain of betrayal will determine the direction our lives and ministries will take. Betrayal can be a beginning or it can be an end. There are many gifted and called saints who have been betrayed but are now lying in the enemy’s gutter of bitterness and it is breaking the Father’s heart. God is calling both the betrayers and the betrayed out of the dark places where the pain and sorrow of betrayal has led them. He is calling people out with His voice of hope and restoration. If you are suffering in a place of betrayal, now is the time to begin to follow His voice. In the end, you will experience the same resurrection power and new life that followed the Lord in His betrayal.

Embedded somewhere, in each act of betrayal, is the purpose of God waiting to be discovered.

1 Comment

  1. Mandy Capehart

    Thanks for the reminder!


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