Where’s the Happy Ending to Betrayal?

Betrayal is a very strong word.

In fact, just looking at that word in print thinking about it, remembering how it feels, maybe even sensing guilt over being the betrayer in a situation — brings up emotions and feelings and painful memories for many of us.

Friendships lost

Marriage fights

Work tensions

Ministry failures

Family letdowns

Unmet expectations

Unavoidable circumstances

Colleague misunderstandings

False perceptions

Wagging tongues

And honestly, I wasn’t sure how to write about betrayal. I wasn’t sure how to put into words my own experiences. I was having a conversation with Jesus, telling him how I signed up to write this post and how I didn’t know what to write.

Now, I am a multitasking person. I generally have two or three or five things going at one time. Numerous tabs on my web browser, a couple notebooks, to do lists, piles of papers and even open apps on my phone can be seen quite often on my desk at home, not to mention dinner and laundry. I happened to be having this conversation with Jesus while working on a project and methodically doing my Bible-In-A-Year reading.

Yes. All at the same time. If you multitask, you know it is possible.

Anyway, I’m talking to Jesus, reading and occasionally glancing up at the program open on my screen. And Jesus says, “You are reading about betrayal.”

I am?

I was.

Jump into my Bible reading plan with me. We are going to be on day 346 in Amos 7. Ready?

Ok, start reading with lots of deep voices and dramatic pauses…

10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. 11 For this is what Amos is saying: “‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.’”

12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. 13 Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.”

14 Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

These six verses paint a very real picture of overseas life and how betrayal can quickly come alive in our line of work. We are going to walk through them quickly together in normal terms.

First, we have Amaziah. He is a long-standing priest in Israel with ties to the King. Second, we have Amos, a shepherd who left his sheep to be a prophet of God in a new place. Amos arrives in Israel, starts doing his thing and following what God asked him to do. Amos has been around awhile and he does not like what he is hearing and seeing of the new guy. So, Amaziah goes to the king and tattles. Then, he goes to Amos and tells him to stop doing what he was doing. He actually tells him to go home and make money there! Amos speaks up, gives some history, defends himself a bit, and proceeds to walk his calling from God.

Lots of betrayal going on here.

Amos should have had a friend, a co-worker, and a faithful confident in Amaziah. They should have been on the same team, cheering each other on.

Amaziah had an opportunity to build a friendship, pour time into the newbie, help him in the challenges, give advice where needed, and support new work. Instead, he ran to the King and told Amos to leave.

Amaziah didn’t ask questions. He didn’t try to get to know Amos and see his heart. He didn’t invest time or energy or seek God for wisdom. He just acted on perceptions.

And sadly, this little story of betrayal plays out time and time again in our lives and in our work.

Where we should have friendships, kindness and support, we often get gossip, hurt and brokenness. Where we should have healthy questions, discipleship and relationship, we have judgment, quick words and false perceptions.

It can be the newbie, the oldie, the supporter, the home church, the family member, the team member, a neighbor… anyone.

We ALL get hurt. We all feel betrayal. We all can relate to the story above.

Back to my multi-tasking conversation with Jesus. I said, “Um… well, how does the story end? Where is the pretty forgiveness scene, the man-hug and the moral of the story? Where is the lesson? The how-to? The happy ending?”

There isn’t one.

No tools. No tips. No man-hugs.

We actually don’t see anything from Amaziah again. Amos speaks truth and then goes on prophesying, doing the work of God as He felt called to do.

That stirs up all kinds of things in my heart. After even a hint of betrayal, I want to make it better. I want to dig in, figure out the problem, fix it, make sure I’m heard, discuss, discuss, discuss. I want the forgiveness scene and the hug at the end.

If I had been Amos, I would have been dragging Amaziah all the way to the King for a pow-wow.

But, in truth? It doesn’t always happen that way.

Sometimes we have to be quiet and trust that God will work it out. That He will work in hearts and bring truth to light. We have to be patient while time passes and false perceptions fade. We have to follow God’s advice in Amos 5:5 where he says, “Seek me and live…” and then, in 5:13, “Therefore, the prudent man keeps quiet in such times…”

Seek God. Keep quiet. Trust.

 

What kind of betrayal are you currently walking through? Is it possible that just being quiet and trusting could be the key to healing? Do you find yourself needing discussion and hugs, struggling to feel peace if things are left unsettled? How do we know when to make it right or let it go?

15 Comments

  1. Laura November 6, 2016

    Jenilee,

    Thank you! In thinking about this week’s theme, I’ve thought a lot about what I experienced towards the end of my time on the field. I felt God leading me to be quiet and trust God to work things out. I don’t know how exactly things played out after I left the field, and I needed the reminder today that God is in control, even when situations are left unsettled.

    1. Jenilee November 7, 2016

      It is so hard when we don’t know how things have played out or will play out. So thankful with you that God is in control!

  2. Bethany Smith November 6, 2016

    This message hit home for me today! Thank you Jenilee! As Christians we are called to be peacemakers (Hebrews 12:14); but what happens when the best way to ‘make peace’ is to be quiet? I always thought that peacemaking was about doing everything possible to work through a conflict but recently I experienced betrayal similar to Amos.

    Without getting into the details, I was put at the center of difficulty and frustration without really knowing it and once I realized what was going on I couldn’t do anything to fix it. Confusing? Tell me about it. I wanted to do everything possible to ‘get out’ of the situation. I cried and prayed. I thought of all the ways I could fix it. Even though it wasn’t my fault, I WANTED TO FIX IT! After really praying and seeking the wisdom of mentors I realized that the most godly way to handle the situation was to be kind and quietly walk away. Oh, it was so hard for me. I love reconciliation because it often makes relationships stronger. But this time God asked me to walk away.

    God wanted me to be still and know. What a big God we serve! He allows us to be a part of reconciliation but also works when it is unsettled. I do not have all the answers and cannot create peace everywhere; yet, God can. He has given me an immense amount of peace and is showing me more and more about why he had me quietly walk away. I pray that God gives us all wisdom about how to walk through conflict so that He alone can be glorified!

    1. Jenilee November 7, 2016

      Yes, we all need to pray for wisdom in these situations. How does being the peacemaker fit with sometimes needing to walk away? Wisdom is the key… seeking God and allowing Him to show us the next step. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Susan November 6, 2016

    Jenny, Thanks for bringing out this interesting passage about betrayal. I’ve not really pondered this passage before and I loved what you brought out of it. We don’t always get to fix things! I have often pondered about betrayal (sometimes mine, sometimes about others) during communion services. The words from a common communion service have often flashed neon in my brain: “On the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus took bread and broke it saying….” I’m stunned each time. How can someone who’s betrayal will lead to death be so calm and so kind? JC’s definitely leaving the problem in God’s hand; he’s quiet, not getting into it with Judas. And, what I am not sure I’d have to grace to do, he also doesn’t exclude Judas from the fellowship meal time or refuse to wash his feet. Perhaps we see a bit of that with Amos, just going about doing what he was called to do despite what was swirling around him in the community.

    1. Jenilee November 7, 2016

      We can learn so much from Jesus’ response to Judas can’t we? Thanks for bringing that into this conversation!

  4. Amber Taube November 7, 2016

    Wow this couldn’t have come at a more needed time. Sometimes I think I am the only one experiencing this (and I was I was!). This is an encouragement to me. I have been sitting, waiting for God to work it out but I am anxious for it to just happen already.

    1. Jenilee November 7, 2016

      I totally am with you… the anxious feeling of leaving a situation unsettled or letting go of betrayal moments… only God and His peace can help us with the inner heart feelings.

  5. Rebecca November 7, 2016

    The best advice we received while going through a “betrayal” from a colleague was to “trust God with your reputation”. It was so hard at the time as I felt the need to defend our honor but I’m so glad we listened to that advice.

    1. Jenilee November 7, 2016

      I love that! Trusting him with our reputations… letting Him fight for us and being still while He works. Such lessons of faith and growth. Thanks for sharing that with us!

  6. meli November 7, 2016

    We had a really difficult ministry situation and we were able to step away from it while going on Home Assignment. During our time away from the situation, we sought godly advice, but we still felt that we needed to return to the difficult situation. We knew that God wasn’t finished with us or our work in the ministry situation yet. Upon our return to ministry, there were still questions, but there was also a change of heart all around. We stepped back into a difficult ministry situation, but it was for the best. God still has things for us to learn as we serve Him, and for the ministry to learn as well. As you mentioned here, for us the key was being quiet and continuing to trust God for His perfect plan. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jenilee November 8, 2016

      I am so glad that you shared your story here! Sometimes we truly can’t understand what God is doing in certain situations or why he would want us to walk back into something like that but when we walk in obedience, we can be sure that HE is working in you and in His perfect plan. Beautiful!

  7. Emily Smith November 7, 2016

    Jenilee, there have been a couple times now where it has made me sad I live so far away from you and can’t meet you in person. (Maybe someday) You just seem like someone who I would get along with well, and you would be a good friend if we were living in the same area. Anyway…this isn’t on topic at all, but your describing your multitasking abilities is what made me think of this today. I’m right with you on that multi-tasking.

    The topic of betrayal has been stirring up all kinds of feelings in my heart for a while now. Honestly, I love how this story doesn’t have a happy ending. I don’t know if I’ve ever looked at that story as a betrayal but it pretty clearly is. I don’t like betrayal. I wish it didn’t happen as often as it does. Still, the absence of a happy ending doesn’t mean Amos did something wrong. He kept following God.
    I both love and am perplexed by what almost looks like contradiction. Amos talks about a prudent man staying silent. YET he kept prophesying. He didn’t run back to his sheep. He didn’t quit speaking truth. At the same time, he wasn’t trying to defend himself or make himself understood in the eyes of men.
    You’ve given me a lot to think about. It is coming at a really good time. I could write a lot more, but I’ll stop here and keep contemplating the rest in my head.

  8. Jenilee November 8, 2016

    Well, when you work the rest out in your head, send me an email! I’d love to chat more and yes, agreed… we should totally get to know each other more. Multi-taskers unite! lol

    This topic of betrayal does stir up lots of feelings. But what you said is so true… “the absence of a happy ending doesn’t mean Amos did something wrong. He kept following God.”

    Still contemplating with you!

  9. Phyllis November 11, 2016

    I add my thanks. I have a situation where it might not be betrayal, but someone just hates me. I go round and round with what I need to do. Apologise? For what? Can I say, “I’m very sorry that you hate me so much”? I’ve done lots of soul searching to see if there is something I need to ask her forgiveness for, and I don’t come up with any answers there. What I’ve come to is that I do just need to walk away. Well, I’ve done that already, but I need to cut ties and keep them cut. Still, it hurts. And I still have questions in my heart. (What kind of overseas worker blocks a needy person’s number from her phone?!) So, I loved your questions at the end of this post. I loved all of it, actually. Thank you. And please do pray for me and my situation, too.

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.