Betrayal and broken trust are the backdrop of many a story. Some stories are valid; some are exaggerated; some are misconceptions, but the outcome of each is usually the decision to stop trusting. With full honesty, I can admit that we have been given the same choice more than once. We’re young; we’ve lived for dreams; we’ve trusted greatly, loved greatly, and had that affection and those dreams broken in front of us.
When you’re figuratively stabbed and beaten and bruised by those you never believed would betray you, you have the choice to retreat and become bitter or to stand firm, turn the other cheek and trust again. I can’t say I haven’t been a bit swayed by this concept in the past. I can’t say I have never chosen the less honorable path and cut off those who have hurt me. I can’t say that my own stories of betrayal have not made me question my own faith. After all, I am often forced to think, how can God allow the success of the fake and ambitious, of the Pharisee?
I, however, can say that despite the hurt I’ve felt, caused by those who I’ve trusted, I’ve seen who Jesus is in the midst of it, over and over. I’ve see Him forgive greater things than I ever could. I’ve seen that we all have the potential to become the villain and that God will use anyone or anything to spread the gospel, though that doesn’t mean He ignores justice. We just may not see that justice, and that’s okay. Vengeance merely corrupts the heart, turning it bitter and clouding vision.
If Jesus can forgive Peter, who denied him profusely or the soldiers who beat him bloody, who am I to decide who is and is not worthy of my forgiveness? Who am I to determine their worth or judge their heart? Am I not capable of the same wrongdoing? Would I not also want mercy to be granted to me, should I have chosen the same path intentionally or unintentionally?
How can someone begin to trust again? We must choose to trust again, to trust God, and even though our hearts may disagree, our actions must not, and we must in our actions prove our willingness to do the right thing, even when it’s unpleasant. We must be willing to hand our hurt over to God, and let justice be His. We cannot make it for ourselves. We cannot give in to the desire to set the record straight.
The choosing is hard. After all I’ve seen personally and the pain I’ve felt from those I have loved so deeply, especially those in church, it’s difficult to decide to begin again and again. But when I cower in my fear, I feel His presence, and I know that I cannot let the fear win. I cannot allow my heart to be guided by anything less than the purity of His heart. You see, it’s not the large things that prove God. It’s not the moments when miraculous things happen; it’s the moments when He arrives with His deep and calming love, over and over. It’s the moments when I wish to run the most that I am often most confronted by His presence. He comes, and I cannot remain the same. My fears dissipate. No longer can I believe that to be seen is to create a new chance for betrayal, that to be known is a new chance for rejection. My thoughts clear, my heart ceases its frightened flee, and I am able to face the wounds and choose differently.
I choose to forgive; I choose to try. I choose to trust again and again, and should we be betrayed again, I will choose the same. When I think it might be best to be invisible, I will choose the light of hope. I will allow it to lift me from the myriad of voices seeking retreat, and though my heart may not be mended, it will be whole. It will be safe. It will be free, and it will see the good when my eyes cannot.
You see, when we are in our deepest pain, Jesus will come if we allow Him. He will help us choose differently, even when our hearts beg us to flee. He will face our pains with us. We are not alone. We never were. We never will be.