Has it ever happened to you? You open yourself up to a new, promising friendship and do what friends do: You share your heart, your secrets, your resources, your life. You truly open up, don’t hold anything back and you assume your friend views the relationship the way you do.
But. You discover you assumed wrong.
Well, so did I.
What I considered a friendship, she considered more of a cooperative. There was no loyalty, only an interest in what I could contribute and when I’d contributed my resources, my “friend” wrote me off. Nice little goodbye note included.
Y’all, it blindsided me.
I’m not the most gullible, trusting thing around (you can’t be to write a book called Trust Without Borders,right?) and I typically test the waters before jumping into the pool, but this one felt safe. It felt real.
I discovered what I was hoping and aiming for—something deep and genuine—was more than this person could give. At the very least, it was more than she was willing to give me, which not only hurt but made me wonder what was wrong with me for someone to throw away a perfectly good friend?
This stuff gets messy, doesn’t it? Friends can strike us deeply because we’ve opened up the deep places and let them in. David knew about that, didn’t he?
So what do you do when you’ve been betrayed? Today I’d like to share a few key truths that have helped me navigate the pain of rejection and fulfill that scary command to forgive those who hurt you.
Realize the action done against you is not the worst thing.
The most damaging threat is never what someone does to hurt me. Far more damaging than a wound is the lie Satan wants to seed that wound with. Pain, oppression and woundedness are fertile ground for the devil’s lies … which leads to the second lesson:
Someone’s choice to hurt you reflects very little on who you are and a lot on who they are.
One of the biggest lies I’ve faced in this situation is that this person’s choice must say something about my worth. I mean, what kind of person must I be for someone to value friendship with me so lightly? What must others see in me to only value an opportunity, not a real person? I really questioned what was wrong with me … until I shared my feelings with a friend who shot me straight. She said, “Her choice says something about her, not about you.”
Friends, the more I thought about that, the clearer the truth of that statement became! Think about it. That’s gold right there.
Here’s the third truth: I can afford to forgive wrongs done against me.
This last truth is so precious! When this took root in my heart, I found that peace, forgiveness, and a spirit of generosity washed over me like never before. This came while reading Deuteronomy 15, one of my favorite passages about forgiveness.
You’ll recall that in Old Testament times the Israelites were to loan fellow Israelites whatever they needed. While you and I think of loans as something to be repaid (they should be, btw!) the Israelites had a twist to their understanding of a loan because every seventh year, they were to write them off!
In Deuteronomy 15:1 God instructed them “At the end of every seventh year, cancel the debts of everyone who owes you.” Now think about this with me: Why would God tell them to do that? Is that fair? Is it just? What if someone tried to use you or take advantage of you, knowing you’d have to write the debt off? What was God thinking to ask this? This was an invitation to be a doormat, right?
Well, you really need to read Deuteronomy 15 to discover the beauty of this for yourself, but basically God was telling them, “I’m going to bless you. You have my favor. And because of that, you can afford to write stuff off.”
Wow. Oh, wow.
This is so very important to understand. We can afford to cancel debts, hurts and wrongdoings against us because we are backed by the blessing, favor and wealth of God. There is absolutely no way for us to lose.
The question is, am I going to live as one dearly loved and richly blessed? Or am I going to live as one wounded and stolen from?
When I switch my thinking to line up with the promises of God in His Word and through the person of Jesus Christ, forgiveness becomes something I readily do from the heart.
Friend, I don’t know what you are facing today but if you are wondering how to move beyond hurt and betrayal and truly let it go, I trust the Lord has spoken to your spirit today and is giving you truth that sets you free.
May we both be generous with forgiveness for a generous man will prosper.
Arabah Joy is a wife to Jackson and adoptive and bio mom of four children. She is also a missionary and has lived in Asia for the past 13 years. Her latest book is Trust Without Borders. Her passion is to make Jesus known and help others bask in His glory. Visit ArabahJoy.com to connect.