How can I heal from the pain of betrayal?

There is perhaps no greater insult to relationship than betrayal. Betrayal robs us of a sense of security. Someone close to us has proven untrustworthy. Most of us have felt the sting of betrayal; likely most of us have even inflicted it. So what do we do about it?

There are obvious dangers in not overcoming the pain betrayal causes—losing the ability to trust, becoming a betrayer in retaliation or self-defense, not acknowledging the betrayal and thereby exposing ourselves to further hurt, emotional numbing to avoid the pain (which will eventually lead to an inability to experience joy as well). We work through the pain so that we might trust again, so that we might find the true foundation of our security.

Jesus was not immune to betrayal. Judas, one of the twelve disciples, a friend whom Jesus trusted with the group’s finances, turned Him in to be crucified. What is perhaps worse is that Judas accepted thirty pieces of silver in exchange for the life of his friend (Matthew 26:14-16). He betrayed Jesus with a kiss of greeting (Matthew 26:49). Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him, yet He chose to bring the man into His inner fellowship. Jesus called Judas “friend,” even after the kiss that would lead to Jesus’ arrest.

On a smaller scale, Peter betrayed Jesus. The disciple who vowed to follow Jesus to death (Matthew 26:33-35), three times denied even knowing Jesus. After His resurrection, Jesus restored Peter, giving the man three opportunities to affirm his love for Jesus and confirming His trust in the disciple (John 21:15-19).

David, too, experienced the sting of betrayal. In Psalm 55:12-15 he writes, “For it is not an enemy who taunts me—then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng. Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart.” David was no stranger to the torment of enemies, but even that seemed less painful than betrayal from a friend. Let’s look at David’s response.

But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage, for many are arrayed against me. God will give ear and humble them, he who is enthroned from of old, Selah, because they do not change and do not fear God. (Psalm 55:16-19)

David’s first response was to experience the pain of betrayal. He did not minimize his sense of hurt. He poured it out to God. We, too, must acknowledge when we have been hurt. And then we need to share that hurt with someone who understands. God understands. Not only was Jesus betrayed in His time on earth. God has been, in a sense, betrayed by His creation. He created us that we might glorify Him and enjoy Him. Instead of fellowshipping with Him, we sinned against Him, and He had to redeem us. Because God so easily relates with our pain, we can pour out our hurt to Him in prayer. When the betrayal is deep, it can be helpful to talk with a trusted friend or counselor as well. Be wise to refrain from gossip in doing this.

Next, David realized his behaviors needed to be altered. He recognized that he could not trust his friend in the same way. Psalm 55:20-21 says, “My companion stretched out his hand against his friends; he violated his covenant. His speech was smooth as butter, yet war was in his heart; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.” David understood his friend’s true heart.

It needs to be said that not all betrayers commit their act intentionally. Judas and David’s friend certainly did. Peter did not. Sometimes friends betray us simply because they are sinful human beings (just like us). It is still wise to recognize that these people may not be as trustworthy as we once believed. However, it would be unwise to paint them with a broad brush, declaring them evil and unworthy of reconciliation.

The final step in overcoming the pain of betrayal is that of forgiveness. When we forgive someone, we are really giving ourselves a gift. Especially when people intentionally inflict pain on us, our withholding of forgiveness hurts us more than it does them. To forgive someone is to give up our right to vengeance. We acknowledge that their act was wrong, we might be more careful in trusting them with certain issues, but we do not attempt to get back at them. We don’t betray someone who betrayed us. Instead, like David did, we leave it in God’s hands. David concludes his Psalm this way: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you” (Psalm 55:22-23). God will take care of evildoers. And He will take care of us.

Betrayal is a robbing of security through a breaking of trust. We overcome the heartache it causes by giving our pain to God. We call the betrayal for what it is, reconsider our personal boundaries, and recognize that only God is truly trustworthy. We tell Him our pain and allow Him to handle those who would hurt us.

Finding Spiritual Wholeness

July 15, 2019 Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Have you ever prayed for healing? Maybe you prayed for physical healing from a disease, emotional healing from a broken heart, or spiritual healing from a chronic sin or addiction. We all desire to be healthy and whole physically and mentally, but especially spiritually. We seek wholeness and peace for our souls.

We will only find spiritual wholeness if we manifest the fruit of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit promises us spiritual health through a relationship with Him. When we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as one of God’s children—when we daily seek to be filled by the power of the Holy Spirit—then we will bear the fruit of the Spirit. Jesus said, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). We will only find spiritual wholeness if we manifest the fruit of the Spirit—not through false spirituality found in meditation, self-help books, or motivational seminars.

Sadly, many Christians forget to come to God daily, asking to be filled with His Spirit. They neglect their relationship with God.

They begin to doubt His promises so that they live in turmoil when they could be experiencing spiritual health and wholeness. Beloved, don’t miss out on the blessing of the very presence of God within you to lead and guide you, to comfort and encourage you, to transform you and give you peace. Today, ask God to fill you with His Spirit, and experience His peace.

Prayer: God, I want to be spiritually healthy and whole. I pray that Your Spirit would fill me every day so that I will manifest the fruit of the Spirit. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11).

Pursuing True Spirituality

July 14, 2019 by Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

True spirituality—the only spirituality that heals—is rooted in the fact that God is transcendent. He stands outside and apart from His creation. God is holy and just, and He is sovereign over all that He has created. He is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent one who loves us unconditionally and who desires fellowship with all humankind. But He relates to us on His terms, not on ours.

Therefore, we experience true spirituality only through God’s Spirit, who indwells a person as he or she responds in faith to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This is the exact opposite of shadow spirituality, which contends that the “god within” merely needs to be awakened and coaxed into actualizing activities. When the superficial, feel-good emotions are stripped away, though, one quickly realizes that New Age thinking is not new at all. It is the oldest of all philosophies, dating back to the Garden of Eden, where the first man and woman thought they could be like God. Indeed, they sought to be God.

True spirituality helps us recognize that our desperate inner longing is not a need for independence, but rather a consuming need for dependence.

True spirituality shows us the tragic consequences of this path. We are all born with a missing dimension caused by the sin of wanting to live independently of God. This sin separates us from Him. The only way to fill that void is through repentance of sin, faith in Jesus Christ, and the indwelling power of God’s Spirit. This is the spirituality that makes us whole.It is only when God’s Spirit opens our blind spiritual eyes that we truly begin to understand ourselves and recognize our own darkness and moral corruption—in other words, our sinfulness. True spirituality helps us recognize that our desperate inner longing is not a need for independence, but rather a consuming need for dependence—dependence on the Savior.

Biblical spirituality leads us to know the light of the world, Jesus Christ, and makes it possible for us to experience wholeness of body, mind, and spirit in becoming like Him. This healing comes only as the Holy Spirit of God is invited to do His ongoing work of transformation in our lives. We are made whole when we reflect the character of Jesus Christ.

Will you ask the Lord to reveal to you the true answer to your inner longing and to help you understand that your heart is made whole the moment you receive Jesus as the Savior of your soul? Will you ask God to help you walk in the light of His Son through all of life’s challenges that you are facing?

Prayer: Lord, because of Your great love for me, You made me alive in Christ even when I was dead in my sin (Ephesians 2:5). Father, thank You for sending the light of the world, Jesus. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

“Hollywood’s god is not the God of the Bible”

Alyssa Milano recently used Scripture to justify her support of abortion. On April 1st, she tweeted “I love God. I believe in God. But I don’t believe my personal beliefs of which we can’t confirm should override scientific facts and what we can confirm.” She included a quote from the book of John:

“If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? (John 3:12).”

Unfortunately, misrepresentation of the Bible is common among the media and other groups who want to conform scripture to support opinions, when, in fact, moral values are designed to conform to scriptural truths. Personal opinions vary—truth does not. Watch these two short clips from Fox News this week when I discussed this topic: Abortion, God, and Hollywood and Were we Ever Really a Christian Nation?

Our culture’s false perception of God as a cosmic ball of love, or a doting grandfather desperately needs to be challenged. Unfortunately, difficult truths are often compromised, watered-down, or avoided altogether in the hope of “not offending.” As a result, the church is a mile wide but only an inch deep; judgment is never mentioned, repentance is never sought, sin is often excused, and lives are not radically changed. This leaves people confused and deceived because they believe in a crossless Christianity that bears no resemblance to Jesus’ sobering call to repentance. When we fail to proclaim God’s word faithfully, we run the risk of “encouraging sin” and “perverting the words of the living God” (cf. Jeremiah 23).


“To convince the world of the truth of Christianity, it must first be convinced of sin. It is only sin that renders Christ intelligible” (Andrew Murray; 1828-1917).

In other words, Christ’s shed blood on the cross only makes sense in light of the consequences of sin.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15).

Yet, many do not want to mention sin, repentance, or judgment because it’s not popular or marketable. They fail to realize that the good news about Christ can only understood with the bad news as the backdrop.

Romans 6:23 says:

“For the wages of sin is death…”.

This verse is not popular in many churches, nor is it preached from many pulpits. Telling others that the punishment for sin is eternal death (separation from God) is not pleasant, marketable, or palatable, but it is powerful:

“It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16).

But be encouraged! Romans 6:23 doesn’t end there. It adds:

“…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

This is how people are truly saved, delivered, and set free from the bondage of sin and death.

We hear a great deal about God’s judgment and what can keep us from heaven, and rightly so, because “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). But we also need to reflect on God’s goodness, love, mercy, and grace. The important question to ask is what is the condition of your heart . . . has true repentance and a belief in Christ as Lord and Savior taken place?

Jesus healed my brokenness and restored my life, and He can do the same for you. If you take only one thing from this article I hope that it is this: There is a deep longing inside all of us that cannot be satisfied until we recognize our need for a Savior, repent of our sin, and turn to Him. Though the road ahead may be uncertain at times, the solid ground beneath will never shift. It’s not about religion but a relationship – it’s all about Who you know.