“It is not an enemy who taunts me—I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me—I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you—my equal, my companion and close friend. What good fellowship we once enjoyed as we walked together to the house of God. Let death stalk my enemies; let the grave swallow them alive, for evil makes its home within them.” Psalm 55:12-15 (NLT)
Of all experiences in life, the sting of betrayal by those you trust is one of the most difficult things to bear. Due to the words that the prophet Jeremiah spoke to the people, he found himself increasingly isolated. The isolation continued until finally his close friends turned
against him, seeking his downfall.
As you’ve read in the above scripture the psalmist describes an intimate friendship: “my equal, my companion, my familiar friend, with whom I kept pleasant company” (verses 13-14). What the psalmist is describing here is a bond, a relationship. They had worshiped together in the house of God, but now his friends have joined ranks of his enemies. From his enemies he could hide (verse 12), but how can he deal with this painful reality?
Betrayal by a close friend is devastating. It produces a feeling of worthlessness for having trusted an untrustworthy person. It can often be a breeding ground for anger and depression. It raises questions about our judgment and self worth. Because of the intimate friend’s knowledge of our situation, such betrayal has great potential for long lasting damage.
The betrayed psalmist turns to God, but with what language! He curses them to “go down alive to Sheol” (verse 15). In ancient Israelite thought, Sheol was the grave, around which might hover the specters or shadows of the dead. But here the thought perhaps includes also the idea of punishment for the “evil [that] is in their homes and in their hearts” (verse 15). So also, Jeremiah prayed that his enemies “will not succeed” and that “their eternal dishonor will never be forgotten” (Jeremiah 20:11).
My question today is, can we do better even in the extremity of a friends betrayal? Can we push beyond seeking revenge for the hurt we simply feel?
The New Testament definition for the word “forgiveness” means to “let go” (not necessarily to have a change of emotion). If we can let go of such experiences we can move beyond our betrayal.
Revenge does not encourage peace but incites men to hostility. Peace is a priority for the Christian. When Jesus came to the earth, born as a baby, the angels sang, “… on earth peace among men, with whom He is well pleased” (Luke 2:14). Jesus taught His disciples, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Peace was to govern the conduct of His disciples (Mark 9:50). Our gospel is the gospel of peace (Luke 19:42; Acts 10:36; Ephesians 2:14-17; 6:15). God is a God of peace (Romans 16:20; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Hebrews 13:20). Peace should characterize the Christian (1 Corinthians 7:15; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Galatians 5:22). Because peace is a priority for the Christian and revenge promotes hostility, pursuing peace is the antidote to revenge. Pursing peace lays revenge to rest.
Today let us pray for help from our Heavenly Father so that we can begin to press past our hurts and learn to let go.If you have questions, comments, or you simply need to vent, please feel free to visit us at Greater Brookville Church.