When my trust is betrayed, my first instinct is to withdraw from that person; to cut off communication and ostrisize them from my life. My second is to lash out and defend myself. This is especially true when the offense seems as though it is a personal attack. This ringing true for anyone else?
As a Christian, the Bible is the first place I go to when faced with these situations. Why? To be completely honest, I don’t trust my instincts. The fact is, my instincts are flawed, especially when dominated by the emotional reactions that follow a friend or coworker’s betrayal. My instincts tell me to hurt the person back; to repay their evil actions and words with more evil. In contrary to our instincts, the Bible tells us to do the opposite.
Consider this passage:
“”You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48 NASB)
Jesus’s teachings were contrary to conventional wisdom. He called into question the “common sense” teachings of the day, and reminded them that the wisdom of Man is nothing compared to the wisdom of God Almighty. Conventional wisdom demands a “eye for an eye,” but Christ teaches us to turn the other cheek; to be patient with others to the point of our own harm. It flies in the face of everything the world tells us is “fair.” I take solace in the fact that I don’t have to rely on my instincts and that I don’t have to “buy into” the conventional wisdom of my contemporaries. My faith, hope, and future are bound up in Christ and His promises; not in the wisdom of this world. What’s more, I can forgive through the grace I have found in Jesus Christ and hopefully help others to find His grace as well.