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4 Ways to Process The Emotions of Betrayal

There is a Bible passing that often causes a strange emotional response when i read it. Scripture should impact not just our minds, but our emotions. While i read this textual content there is often a stirring in my stomach. The Scripture reminds me of a few really painful experience within my own leadership and life. It forces myself to reconcile again the emotions of betrayal.

All of us understand what it feels like to be betrayed. It’ s more common in leadership than you might picture.

To understand the passage, it will help to be able to count to twelve. (Or at least eleven. )

Here’ s the passage:

And when they had entered, they proceeded to go up to the upper room, where they were remaining, Peter and Mark and James and Andrew, Philip plus Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the particular Zealot and Judas the son associated with James. Works 1: 13

Would you see what hopped out at me?

Count them. You can find eleven names. Eleven. Not twelve.

One title is missing. One person was no longer in the group. I know enough Scripture to know the reason why.

For three years there were twelve. They had been Jesus’ disciples. His closest companions. His trusted friends. Jesus had invested time, power and life into them. Now there were eleven. One was missing.

The betrayer.

If you don’ t know the story, another named Judas betrayed Christ. For the sum of money he handed Jesus to the authorities where He was caught, beaten and crucified. Of course , it was used for a divine objective, but one of the disciples betrayed the others plus Jesus.

Let that sink in.

Have you ever regarded the emotions of betrayal for the left over disciples? Did they miss their friend? Regardless of his betrayal, he was a close partner on a mission. A team member. There has to have been some attachment. Would there have been occasions of bitterness, fury, or rage? Had been they sad? Had been there one especially who got hurt most? He has been closest to the betrayer, perhaps.

I don’ t know. But I do know individuals and team mechanics so it prompts me to ask the particular questions.

As I shown on their experience, I actually couldn’ t assist remembering some of my very own times of betrayal. There have been a few significant, very painful instances in leadership (and life) where I was severely disappointed by people I trusted most.

Have you ever experienced the emotions associated with betrayal?

We don’ t talk about this much in leadership or ministry, but on the other hand we should. Those emotions are real. These are heavy. And, these are common.

Have you been harm by your own betrayer? You trusted him or her. You may have even called them friend. They let you down. Disappointed you. Betrayed you.

Anyone who has served in any leadership position has experienced betrayal at some level. It could have been the gossip started by a expected friend or a pointed and calculated stab in the back. In any event it hurts.

Learning to deal with, process, and mature through the emotions of betrayal might be one of the more important leadership issues. Yet we rarely deal with the issue.

How do you deal with betrayal?

A few suggestions to battle the emotions of betrayal:


Give yourself time to process. Be honest concerning the pain. Confess this to yourself and perhaps a few close friends. (I’ m not suggesting you spread this farther than you need to. It only creates more drama. Unless there are legal issues included it is best to keep the circle small. )

Don’ to pretend it didn’ t matter. It does. You were injured simply by someone you trusted – maybe somebody you love.


As much as it affects, refusing to forgive or holding the grudge will hurt you more than the betrayer. (If you are a believer you have no option. It’ s a command associated with God. ) Embrace and extend sophistication. In the now cliche-ish words, “ Let it go! ”

If there are realistic consequences you can let those occur – and may need to for the protection of others. But in your coronary heart let it go. Forgiveness is a selection not dependent on the other person’ s reaction. It is the most freeing choice you can make. It may take time to do this, but the longer you delay the greater you are still held captive by the betrayal.


It really is good at a time of betrayal to consider exactly what went wrong. Was it an error in judgement? Do you need stricter guidelines for yourself or those people you lead? Would it have happened irrespective?

You can’ t script morality but you should use this as a possibility for a healthy overview of the parameters in which the betrayal occurred.

Keep on

You can’ t allow the betrayal to distract you from the vision you have been called to accomplish. Similarly important, don’ t allow this time to build up walls where you in no way trust again or unnecessary structure which burdens the rest of the group.

People always be betrayers as long as there are people. Christ had them. They show up unexpectedly at times. And, if you read on in Acts, they changed the twelfth individual again. They moved ahead in spite of betrayal. Eventually you will have to take a danger on people once again. It’ s the only way to lead inside a healthy way.

Betrayers will come. The way in which we deal with all of them often determines the near future quality of our leadership.

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