What To Do When Someone Betrays You

31 Days of Supernatural Encounters | by Jamie Rohrbaugh | free devotional series on FromHisPresence.comFor Day 29 of our 31 days of supernatural encounters (series index here), we are talking about what to do when someone betrays you.

Read: Psalm 118:8-9; John 2:23-25

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Psalm 118:8-9).

and

“Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man” (John 2:23-25).

Know:

People will betray you.

It’s sad, but true. At some point in your life, if it hasn’t happened already, someone will betray you in some way:

  • They may break your trust;
  • They may betray your confidence;
  • Someone you idolized or admired may behave in a manner that is beneath their position in life–or beneath your perception of them;
  • They may break vows or promises; or
  • They may let you down in some other way.

Every person’s circumstances are different, but I think you all know what I mean. When I said “People will betray you,” you probably thought of at least one person right away who has betrayed you.

So what do you do when someone betrays you?

If you ask your flesh, your flesh will give you lots of answers. Your flesh will tell you to get even; to punish them; to get back at them; to tell everyyyybody what they did.

But your flesh doesn’t have your best interests at heart. And revenge is never the way to go. Vengeance belongs to God (Romans 12:19-21).

So how CAN you heal when someone betrays you? And how can you keep from being so hurt by it if it happens again?

The only way to heal when someone betrays you is by doing what Jesus did.

First, He forgave. He forgave the people who hurt Him–even the people who murdered Him by nailing Him to the cross. We always have to start by forgiving those who hurt us.

(By the way, forgiveness is best done when you actually pray a prayer of forgiveness, releasing your hurt to the Lord. It’s the most effective way to actually feel the difference after you forgive someone. If you need a good sample prayer of forgiveness, check out this sample forgiveness prayer here.)

But Jesus also did something else throughout His ministry that helped Him handle betrayal perfectly.

Here’s what Jesus did that helped Him handle betrayal so perfectly:

He recognized that every person was only human, and therefore could and would mess up. Therefore, He did not trust Himself to people.

Today’s passage from John 2 says, “Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” 

This doesn’t mean that He didn’t like people or trust them enough to talk to them or enjoy their friendship. But it DOES mean that He recognized every person as human, knowing they were walking in their human frailty. Therefore, He did not trust Himself to people.

There’s a big difference between trusting people and trusting yourself to people.

Trusting people means trusting them enough to share your life, share your secrets, or share responsibility with them.

But trusting yourself to people means that you hand over your happiness, your identity, your opportunity, your calling, your mental and emotional well-being to someone else’s control. And that, my friend, is a recipe for disaster every time.

I’ve done both.

I’ve trusted people by opening my heart to them, loving them, sharing my life with them, and sharing my thoughts with them. I’m sure you’ve done this too. People you trust are your inner-circle friends, and there’s nothing wrong and everything right with that. I will continue trusting people as the Lord leads.

But I’ve also trusted myself to people:

I’ve put people on a pedestal so much that, when they betrayed me, my entire worldview and theology were shaken.

I’ve waited to pursue my call–or waited to really own my call–for certain people to give me permission or make opportunity for me. (Thank goodness, the Lord cured me of that years ago.)

I’ve allowed other people to tell me who I am, then become really depressed or discouraged when they could not see me with Spirit eyes–and therefore they had no idea who I really am. They were just spouting off their fleshly opinions.

I’ve also trusted my perception of myself, and of whether something I did was right or wrong, to people’s attitude about what I did. NOPE; not doing that anymore. The Word of God is our measuring stick, and only the Word dictates whether our actions are right or wrong. If the Word says it’s right and someone doesn’t like it, that’s not my problem.

Trusting yourself to people is a recipe for disaster every time. That’s why Jesus didn’t do it.

Jesus needed to be solid in His call. He needed to be firmly grounded in His relationship with Father. He needed to know unshakeably who He was.

And He could not have been those things if He had allowed people to dictate His thoughts; His perceptions of Himself; His attitudes; His opportunities; etc.

So how do you heal and stay free when someone betrays you?

Picture this:

You’re standing in a tiny room–the smallest of jail cells. The room is only big enough for you to stand up in. If you move your arms out to your sides, you touch both walls.

The walls of this jail cell are lined with Velcro material, and your hands have Velcro glued on them too. When you put your hands out, your hands get totally attached to that hook-and-loop Velcro fabric, and you’re just there, stuck.

You can move your hands if you want to, but you’re going to stick fast to anything you touch because the Velcro is everywhere.

But then you look in front of you, and the door to the jail cell opens.

Jesus is standing there, and suddenly there’s a place with no Velcro. Since the door is open, the entire wall in front of you suddenly has no Velcro at all! It’s just empty air and Jesus!

Then Jesus invites you to come out of the jail cell and cling to Him. You hear His invitation and consider it. If you answer Him, you know you won’t be imprisoned in this tiny, sticky space anymore.

But there’s a catch: you have to CHOOSE to take your hands off the Velcro wall and cling to Jesus instead. You have to wrap your arms around Jesus so you’ll stop sticking to the Velcro wall.

Can you see it?

That’s what healing from betrayal looks like.

Betrayal is the jail cell, and “people” are the Velcro. If you cling to people, you will be caught in the prison of remembering what they did to you. You will keep on suffering from it, imprisoned by the hurt and the memories.

But it’s your choice. Jesus is standing in front of you. He has opened the door for you to escape. All you have to do is take your hands off “people” and cling to Him instead.

And taking your hands off “people” means admitting to yourself that they are human and can fail.

Taking your hands off “people” means you look at them and see someone just like yourself–a human being made of dust, who messes up, occasionally sins, and doesn’t always do everything right.

It means you have to look at them like Jesus did. Jesus loved people, but He knew what was in them. He looked at reality. Through eyes of grace, yes. But He still looked at reality.

And if you want to heal from betrayal, you have to do the same thing.

You can still love your friends, your spouse, your pastors, your children, and your coworkers while looking at reality. All it takes is acknowledging that they are human; that what they did was wrong; and that they need grace just like you do.

This means you can’t allow yourself to worship people.

There is a lot of temptation to people-worship out there, especially in the Church. We idolize and admire our leaders, pastors, mentors, and friends so much … and then we get crushed when they mess up.

But we are all human. We are all made of dust, and we are all equally fallible.

And you can’t heal from betrayal until you admit that to yourself and let them off the hook of perfection.

Then, you have to decide to cling to Jesus instead.

What does clinging to Jesus look like?

It looks like:

  • Deciding that other people’s affirmation may feel special when I receive it, but I don’t need it. I’m going to cling to Jesus and let HIS affirmation guide me.
  • Deciding that I may admire my leader/pastor, but I don’t expect perfection from them … and I’m going to let them be human and still love them, even when they mess up. Only Jesus is perfect.
  • Deciding that I’m going to follow what Jesus tells me to do, despite what other people think. That way, when they don’t help me / approve / support me / etc, my life doesn’t get derailed. I serve One only–the Man Christ Jesus.

Clinging to Jesus means you love and respect other people, but everything about your life is dictated only by what Jesus says and does.

When you do this, it’s remarkably freeing.

I can’t even tell you how many times people have hurt me, and I’ve been so disappointed in them–and so hurt.

But I’ve gotten to the point where I no longer expect others to be perfect. Now, I’m okay with saying “That person whom I admire greatly was wrong. They messed up, and I forgive them.”

THAT has been remarkably freeing–because as long as you think that people are perfect or supposed to be (because of their position, title, etc), you will still be in bondage.

It’s only when you let someone else be human, and admit they are wrong but give them grace and forgiveness, that you can be free from hurt when they betray you.

So make like Jesus. Look at people with love, but only trust yourself to Father God, okay?

Who do you need to let off the pedestal today?

Who do you need to look at and say …

“I’m not going to pretend you were right anymore. You were wrong, but you’re human, and you mess up as much as I do … so I forgive you. You’re my brother/sister in Christ, and we’re in this thing together. I still love you, and my confidence is in God alone” … ?

Are you willing to let your pastor, spouse, friend, or other loved one be imperfect, just like you are–and give them the same grace and love, despite their humanness, problems, and flaws, that you need every day yourself?

Selah.

Pray this:

“Heavenly Father, in Jesus’ name, I thank You for the grace You have given me. Thank You for forgiving my sins; for helping me through all my problems and mistakes; and for redeeming my life from the pit and corruption.

Father God, I confess to You today that I have held (insert names here) to a higher standard than they are capable of. They are human, just like I am; and they make mistakes, hurt people, and sin sometimes–just like I do.

Father, please forgive me for expecting perfection from other people, when I know that we are all human–especially me. Forgive me for demanding from others what I cannot even give myself. And forgive me for trusting my feelings, my identity, my ministry, and my opportunity to other people–instead of clinging only to You.

Father God, I choose to take my hands off these people right now.

They are only my brothers and sisters in You, Father; they are not my god. You are my God, Father, and so I choose right now to place myself in Your hands. I choose to allow You and only You to dictate my life circumstances. From this moment on, I trust myself only to You.

I let the people who betrayed me off the hook right now, Father. I forgive them. I ask You to forgive them too, and I ask You to forgive me for idolizing them.

Father, bind us together in unity. Help us all to love each other the way You want us to, and we’ll give You all the glory.

Thank You, Father. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Listen:

Listen to Matt Maher singing “Hold Us Together,” and ask the Lord to flood your heart with love and compassion for the person who betrayed you. Ask Him to help you see them the way He does, and to cling to Him only–while still loving your brother or sister the way He wants you to.

Has someone betrayed you? Does this word encourage your heart today? If so, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

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20 Comments

  1. Thank you for this. It couldn’t have been more timely for current circumstances. It is tremendous help. Thank you ❤️

    1. I needed that
      I am struggling and am confused these days lost the ability to trust my intuition I know God has a plan for my life and it’s not to live in confusion thank you so much your emails in your website my knowledge is not very extensive but not believe sir simple but strong
      Keep me and my family in your prayers

    2. SOLOMON BOGALE says:

      Dear Jammie,

      Thank you and God Bless you for your timely message which is directly to me too.

      With respect,
      Solomon B.

  2. Rebecca L Jones says:

    I have run across this verse twice this week, not a coincidence. I was trusting myself to people who should have known more but didn’t. I trust myself to Jesus. The grief it was causing was terrible.

  3. Jamie the analogy of a person stuck surrounded by velcro in the small cell is very very good.It helps me to imagine myself being entangled of velcros of unforgiveness towards others and the only way out and to be set free is to surrender to Jesus.
    Thank you for speaking life and truth to body of Christ.

  4. Very Good revelation and insight. God bless

  5. george modise says:

    thanyou lord for this message my lord .let my heart to forgive and forget especially my family who did the evil things to me .so father forgive me and forghive them.hello Jamie thankyou for the message and have a nice day

  6. This is a very good word. Years ago when I was going through a tough time, I remember Holy Spirit taught me when I let another person take away my joy and peace, I’m giving that person power over me God never intended him or her to have. The only remedy for my hurt was to find Jesus as my Husband. I’m still a work in progress, but I know I’m stronger now than I used to be because my focus is more on God, less on people.

  7. Lord, help me forgive my husband, who constantly betrays me.

      1. Thanks so much! I felt your prayers.

  8. I want to thank you so very much for this article. It has helped to see things differently. I have been putting people on a pedestals for a very long time. I am so grateful that I found your sight it is helping to heal my wounded soul. I have lived betrayed most of my life since childhood. My wounds were from sexual abuse as a child. I was 9 and ganged raped by 11 or 12 year old boys. I was betrayed by my mother also etc. I love you and wish you well and may God bless you and your husband.

    Susan

  9. Debra St Louis says:

    This is excellent read and so true.. If only I could send it to my son who is incarcerated.
    The so called friends are trying to go against him with the prosecutor to save their own skin from long jail time.

    Keep him in prayer he has made a big change in less than a year bu totally surrendering to God and became a minister at the jail, He runs the chapel.

    God is so good.

  10. Very NOW word Thank you Jamie.It puts the control añd power over who I am,my identity where it belongs-with God!Not with my feelings/emotions or with others,only where it MATTERS-Him!

    And the best of all!As HE is a JUST God.HE recompenses me for hurt,pain,disappointment.Practicing Forgiveness=unleashing the floodgates of abundance(honor-promotion,opportunity,love or whatever else I was looking for from a mortal).

    Only HE can give me what I need.Painful. Yet makes sense that human beings cannot give me what Ive been designed to only get from HIM!

  11. Thank you very much it is a revival for forgiving those who wronged me and thank you Lord for bringing light to my life I wouldn’t be where I am without you. It was hard but its over now and I am free. Help me to continue forgiving those I meet and make me cross. Thanks Jamie

    1. Thank you for this email. It was truly amazing. I also read this to my daughter 🛐🙏and we listened to the song together.
      You have truly been a blessing to us.
      Love you ever so much and thank you for being a brother, sister, niece’s keeper. Lol 😆

  12. Blessedforachange says:

    I have been betrayed so many times by my mom and sister, but is getting to be a chore to stay in touch with them, i am so tired of apologizing for misunderstandings that I had nothing to do with. I need prayer and true forgiveness because I still fill the pain and now I am tired i am always walking on egg shells around them.

  13. Grace Bristol says:

    I have had good friends And Ihad a best friend, her idea, that turned on me and hurt me. She did things that could not be undone and yet it was her idea of the best friends forever stuff. Her mother had problems and she soon walked in her mother’s shoes. I met her husband several years later. I had known him in grade school. He recognized me and told me his sad tale of how she turned into her mother exactly. (a very bad thing to do). My mother talked to that woman from time to time and pegged her as a social climber. She told mother that she was so glad that I was friends with her daughter and teaching her girly things. Her neighbors were all boys. She did cruel things that could not be changed or removed to hurt me. I still have my best friend from two years old and she has helped me through these hard times. She has many of the heart ailments I do and also had to deal with a husband and fatal cancer. I am most grateful for her friendship. We live in different states and cities now…

  14. Arissa Nolastname says:

    Right on time Jamie
    I wish I knew you or received your emails through the years when this betrayal would happen each time. I can’t remember how many times it’s happened, as it has been quite frequent. It’s never been that I put anyone on a pedestal, but more so that I reached out for the two or more in agreement in His name.
    Most of those who stabbed me in the back were never in Him anyway. Had they been they wouldn’t have betrayed.
    It’s all part of the test or exercise in discernment. Never let your guard down you who love the Lord. Many come in His name, using His name, but they do not know Him.They are the ones the devil will position to have us reach out to for comfort, encouragement, prayers etc. but underneath, their only motivation is name/fame. Once all the vanity has been stripped away, they will not want to be with the Lord anyway. They just like the pomp associated with positions of leadership. When it all comes down to it, they do not reflect anything about the Lord other than what they heard, saw, read from others.
    This deceiving and being deceived idea of the wicked has been revolving around my sphere for a long time. It’s time the Presence of the Lord was my “sun” and the angels of God, the planets orbiting around me.

  15. Thank you for this. Its been a struggle for me to forgive my husband. How do you forgive somebody who intentionally plans to hurt you and the children you have with him for selfish reasons? I spent my life savings and even borrowed more money to sponsor his relocation abroad, two weeks before our second child was born. I had to drive myself back from the hospital after his birth. The plan was that he will get there, settle and then I and our two little kids will come over. Only for him to get there and settle with another woman, leaving me to bring our two children up, all by myself. My son is now 9 years old and is asking me if this is how he will leave with one parent for the rest of his life? Its a question that is breaking my heart.
    I am still praying that God helps me heal and forgive him because I want to make it to Heaven but the pain is excruciating, especially the pain on my children.

    Charity.
    I

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