“The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.” —Anonymous
Have you ever felt betrayed by somebody?
Gary and I have had to deal with many betrayals over the years in business, ministry, relationships, and friendships… And I can tell you from firsthand experience, it’s not fun!
When someone you trusted hurts you, betrays you, or leaves you, it can be one of the most painful and heartbreaking situations. It can be tempting to feel like you failed, to quit, or even to give into bitterness or anger.
First of all, betrayal is not a reflection of who YOU are as a leader.
Even Jesus faced betrayal! Judas was one of Jesus’s 12 disciples mentoring under Him and ministering with Him. Judas gave Him over to be crucified for a few silver coins, and even marked it with a kiss.
There is nothing as painful or devastating as this tactic from the enemy. I can trace any time Gary and I have been tempted to quit to this type of attack! These attacks can be especially hurtful when they come from someone you love and trust—someone in your inner circle, like Judas was to Jesus.
A staff member, a close friend, a family member…
Remember, a person’s betrayal is not a reflection on you as a leader; it’s a reflection of what’s going on in them.
The Stages of Disloyalty
Matthew 10:16 says, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
That verse perfectly describes how we are called to work with people!
When you get hurt, it’s easy to become suspicious and hard-hearted toward people. God wants us to see the best in everyone. He also wants us to walk in wisdom and the discernment of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 6:12 says:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
There is an enemy who wants to stop us from reaching our destinies, and he will try to work through people.
That’s why we have to use the discernment of the Holy Spirit!
Did you know that a bull shark is half the size of a great white shark, but it’s responsible for the most shark attacks?
The moral of the story is things aren’t always as they seem.
According to Dag Heward-Mills’s book Loyalty and Disloyalty, here are the first four stages of disloyalty:
1. Independent Spirit – This is where someone starts on their pathway to disloyalty. These are people who, even though they have pledged loyalty to a person, group or belief, begin to operate independently. In other words, the rules no longer apply. They are no longer submitted to authority.
2. Offense – A person starts operating in an offended mind-set, which causes them to become bitter and even hateful.
3. Passivity – Once someone is well into the offense stage, they drift into passivity and inaction. You may notice they start sitting in the back of your meetings, stop communicating with you, or show nonverbal signs of disinterest.
4. The Critical Stage – Passivity doesn’t last forever. Eventually, the person only seeks and magnifies flaws. They can only see the bad.
Hang with the Eleven
When someone you thought was a trusted friend betrays you, you might want to take it personally.
But the way someone behaves toward you is a reflection of their character, not yours!
Gary and I spent too many years in ministry trying to save the betrayer, and part of that was my need to please people.
I think too many leaders spend half of their lives trying to keep their Judas from hanging himself instead of spending time with the eleven who love them, support them, and could help further their mission!
Pray for the betrayer, but continue to pursue your calling!
P.S. – Consider this: Jesus used His betrayer, Judas, to achieve His assignment. Whoa!
You might think that sharks set you back or knock you off your trajectory, but trust that, if you let Him, God will use even the betrayers to advance your purpose. 🙌
I am SO excited to tell you about my newest book, Shark Proof: How to Deal with Difficult People! I learned how to successfully deal with difficult people the long, hard way, but you don’t have to.
I know that this book is going to unlock the incredible principles that changed Gary’s and my life. I can’t wait for you to read it!