By Sarah Fox
Sarah is my good friend and cousin, who I admire greatly for her unshakeable faith. A high school junior, her wisdom goes well beyond her years. Follow her on her blog here.
“Betrayal never comes from an enemy but from a friend.”
In other words, it’s usually the people we love and trust most who end up leaving us with the deepest scars. Trust doesn’t come easily or quickly; it’s a gradual process. When you trust someone, you put your full confidence in that person. But humans tend to disappoint and hurt others. Once trust is broken, it can become forever tarnished.
In recent months, I learned this truth firsthand. I had a group of close friends suddenly turn on me. Whenever I would bring up spiritual things about Jesus or the Bible, they would mock me. I tried to tell them about my faith and how to start a personal relationship with Jesus, but they didn’t want to hear it. Before I knew it, they put me in a group chat and started verbally abusing me with vulgar words and phrases. Then they would gossip about me behind my back.
I endured it for a while, but then I made the decision to end our friendship. Leaving them was very difficult considering that we had known each other for a while. Allowing God to direct me to new friends was challenging, but I trusted Him with the outcome.
Through that experience, I’ve learned the hard way the difficulty of being a Christian who puts too much trust in friends who don’t share my same convictions.
Now don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with getting to know non-Christians and building friendships with them. But I’ve learned firsthand the danger with compromising my faith in the name of wanting to belong.
I was on the phone with my cousin a few days ago and she explained to me that there will be many different types of people in your life. There will be piranhas (people who eat away at your character and morals and try to chew you up), parasites (people who take advantage of you), and mother whales (people who will guide you, protect you, and give you advice for the future).
I must admit that I’ve had a lot of parasites and piranhas in my life. I have some great mother whales as well, (my family, my mentors, and church friends) but I’ve had a lot of relationships that have tested my faith. Once you are in a relationship that puts you on the brink of compromising your faith, you need to start rethinking your priorities.
To use another word picture, some people are like roses. They are beautiful, popular, and influential. At first impression, they may appear to be the best person in the world, but remember, roses have thorns. And sometimes, without warning, the thorns just stab us in the deepest places in our hearts.
Here’s what God says:
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
People may hurt us, but we have to dry our tears and hold our heads up high and press on in our lives. Of course, this is easier said than done.
I‘ve learned that the only way to heal from a broken heart is to go straight to Jesus about the situation. Until we learn to go to God with our problems, it will become a heavy burden that doesn’t go away. As 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
Remember the prodigal son? If someone has hurt you, follow the example of the father in that parable.
Forgiveness isn’t limited to saying “I forgive you.”
True forgiveness is opening the door to love even if the person might hurt you again. Even if you distance yourself from that person, still leave the door open for support and love, whether or not the person deserves it.
Lastly, continue to pray for that person. Someone once said that it’s hard to stay mad at the person you pray for. Pray constantly for that person and ask God to work in their life as He did yours.
The biggest lesson I learned from this whole ordeal is that God always uses our hurt for healing, the pain for a purpose, and the brokenness for a blessing. God can use anything, even betrayal, to make us stronger and grow our faith.