V for VENDETTA
Have you ever been betrayed by someone you thought you could completely trust? Perhaps it was a spouse, a relative, a friend, or a group of friends, or people you respected. How is it that we can live in a world that is referred to as “civilized”, yet where human beings have no sense of honor, and loyalty has become a fiction of the imagination? Seneca, the great Roman statesman and historian, spoke to this dilemma when he commented: “It’s a vice to trust all, and equally a vice to trust none.”
A very common response to a broken trust is anger and disgust at the lack of integrity demonstrated by the other person. Even if the relationship is mended and the incident forgiven, can the same level of trust that once existed be restored? Trust is very fragile and can be lost instantly. Playwright Tennessee Williams once said, “We have to distrust each other. It’s our only defense against betrayal.” Is this the answer?
Persons who feel betrayed may sometimes seek some form of vengeance (which they consider justice) to make right for them what they feel has been the injustice committed against them. They honestly believe that this response will make them feel better about themselves.
It is clear, however, that trust defines every interaction in our relationships; it builds intimacy and it strengthens bonds. Without trust no relationship can thrive. If you have ever had your trust betrayed, then you know how hard it can be to let go, move on, and repair the damage. Many times the burned person just wants to cut his losses and end the relationship. This is because the one betrayed feels like he has been sent a message that he doesn’t matter very much.
Even when the ordinary pains of life are expected, it still makes life difficult. When pain, however, is unexpected – such as in an incident of betrayal – it is much worse. Any change in the status quo is more painful when it is unexpected.
As Christians, how are we to respond when we find ourselves on the receiving end of “betrayal”? William Temple wrote, “Only one petition in the Lord’s Prayer has any condition attached to it; it is the petition for forgiveness.”
12 “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6)
This principle is repeated many times in the Scriptures in verses such as this one:
37 “forgive, and you will be forgiven;” (Luke 6)
George Herbert put it this way: “He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass if he would ever reach heaven; for everyone has need to be forgiven.” Peace of mind comes only with the ability to forgive.
Once you have forgiven, never keep going over the incident in your imagination or conversation. This will only stir up your anger and keep you from finding peace. Never hold it over the other person as a “trump card”.
You’re only human, so things probably won’t go back to exactly the way they once were. It is important to understand that some people simply do not value trust, honor, and loyalty to begin with. Thus, they are not likely to change in the future. Once you forgive, however, you can move on to develop a more “godly-wise” trust. You begin to realize that you didn’t put perfect people up on your pedestals. We are all sinners saved by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even Christians are still sinners as we journey through life, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and to grow in grace.
Healing and restoration are possible. Even if the person or persons responsible for your pain never apologize or ask for forgiveness, you can find peace of mind. Fanny Crosby explains this process in her hymn, “Balm in Secret Prayer”:
Pray on, pray on, O trusting heart,
Let not thy courage fail;
But take thy Savior at His word,
And know thou shalt prevail.
Tho’ the cross is hard to bear,
There is balm in secret prayer;
Go and tell thy sorrows there,
And leave it all with Jesus.
Perhaps in some desponding hour,
When hope has well nigh past,
The light will burst upon thy soul,
And joy be thine at last.
Pray on, pray on, O weary not,
Whate’er thy trial be;
But lean thy faith on Him Who said,
“It shall be well with thee.”
Filed under: Christianity, Culture, Devotional, Family, Grace, Jesus Christ | Tagged: Christianity, Fanny Crosby, Forgiveness, George Herbert, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Tennessee Williams, William Temple | Comments Off