How to Recover from Betrayal
A while back, I received this desperate text from a hurting friend. She had discovered that some ministry leaders she greatly admired and who had played a significant role in her spiritual growth had been leading a double life—teaching one thing while covering a blatantly ungodly lifestyle.
Sleepless night. I am angry; I am hurt; I am scared; I am in unbelief and a host of other things. Been thinking all night how everything I believed was a lie and how I am a fool and realizing how the last fourteen years of my life has been built around two people who today I don’t even know. I hate it all.
My friend was experiencing the piercing bitterness of betrayal. If you have ever been through something similar, you know it’s natural to feel hurt, sick to your stomach, like your world has been rocked. But while those feelings are natural, they’re not a healthy place to live for an extended period. I trust my response to my friend will bring you comfort, hope, and some practical ideas for how to move on and find healing.
He will hold you when you cannot hold yourself.
This will not be an easy journey. But He will walk through it with you. He will hold you when you cannot hold yourself. I haven’t been quite where you are. But I have been through intense disillusionment where my faith was deeply shaken. I can tell you that He is faithful and true.
Here are a few thoughts and suggestions as you walk through this painful process:
- Be honest with God about what you are feeling. He can handle it.
- Get some sleep. You have been incredibly depleted by this whole situation. When we are physically depleted, we are more vulnerable to believing things about God that just aren’t true.
- Listen to music that speaks strong biblical truth to your heart. Listen to “Hidden in My Heart” lullaby CDs! Keep them playing; listen over and over and over.
- Park in the Psalms for a while. Read slowly. See how the psalmists cried out to the Lord in their pain and how in time He lifted their heads. Keep reading, even when you don’t believe it or feel it.
- Find a few verses that speak to where you are right now; memorize them and keep reciting them over and over again. I have been doing that recently with Psalm 18:1–3.
- Take walks. Listen to sermons or music as you do. Being sedentary fuels depression and unreliable emotions.
- Don’t draw conclusions based on what you think or feel during the night hours. The enemy seems to create greater fear, doubt, and unbelief during the darkness.
- Meditate on Jeremiah 17:5–10 and Psalm 118:8–9. How does the Lord want to transfer your trust from “men” to Christ?
- These feelings you are experiencing will take time to deal with. That’s okay. It took me eighteen months to walk through my “darkest night of the soul.” The night will not last forever.
- Guard against bitterness. I believe my journey would not have had to be as long as it was if I had not given in to bitterness.
- Be careful about becoming isolated. When you are struggling, reach out to Him and to others. You can’t fight this battle alone. If you try, it will be easier for the enemy to take you under.
- “Don’t doubt in the darkness what you have seen in the light.”
“Don’t doubt in the darkness what you have seen in the light.”
You will come through this, but not because you are strong—”We are weak . . . but He is strong.” In time, you will come to know and believe and love Him in even deeper ways than you ever imagined possible.
Be still before the Lord. Wait patiently for Him. He will not forsake you. He will deliver you. And He will make you an even stronger instrument in His hand.