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Feeling Betrayed by a Friend – The Awesome Power of Forgiveness

Experiencing betrayal throughout our lives is hurtful and unfortunate but sadly it is going to happen. It is especially difficult for us when we are feeling betrayed by a friend.

Throughout life, there are always going to be people who disappoint us, let us down, and betray our trust. This is particularly hurtful when it is someone you were very close to and trusted to have your best interests at heart.

Sometimes it is something small that we can easily resolve or overcome and move on from and at other times the betrayal can be so deep and severe that we wonder if we will ever get past the hurt.

So how do you deal with feeling betrayed or hurt by someone you trusted and how do you accept that forgiveness is for you, not just them? Read on and learn more!

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Updated and republished from 6/5/2019

My Own Experiences Being Betrayed by a Friend

I have had experiences in life, both in my younger years and even in recent years, where I have had friends shut me out when they should have been my greatest support system.

I have stepped out in and done things in my life and thought my friends would be my greatest cheerleaders! I thought they would help me and that we would “lift each other up” and help support each other in our endeavors. But I found that wasn’t the case. I found that it was met with indifference at best and even vitriol at worst.

I have had friends that were employees at my business go off and open their own business at a location that was a decent distance away so that we weren’t literally across the street from each other and I have cheered them on and even sent them business when I didn’t think I could help them.

THAT is what friends do. If I have a friend who is a blogger and is really working hard to get exposure and I know they are good at what they do, I will do what I can to share their content, promote them, feature them on my social media or my blog.

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I will use my (albeit small) influence to help them grow because they are my friend! Just like I helped my friends in business!

A rising tide lifts all boats.

Just like one candle lighting another doesn’t diminish the light, it increases it, so lighting another person’s candle doesn’t diminish yours. It makes the light shine brighter! And in all honesty, that person may be bigger than you one day in business and may be the one to lift YOU up! But even if they can’t, it is just the right thing to do.

But what about when you have a friend who does the opposite? What about a friend who betrays your trust and your friendship? What about one that instead of lifting you up does just the opposite? I have literally had people I respected and thought of as friends tear down signs in front of my business. They would smile to my face but then try to drag me down behind my back. I have had employees I considered friends who have stolen from me, left my business a mess and unlocked at closing time.

I have had “friends” who would be friendly to my face and invite us over for BBQs and everything, and then go and tell an ex everything that was going on in our lives.

I have experienced it all! And I admit that I haven’t always responded the right way to this treatment. I admit to times I vented, times I tried to seek someone’s advice and maybe, out of hurt, spoke too much about it.

I don’t ever try to portray myself as perfect! Being hurt by someone you care about and see as a friend can cause you do react in poor ways, even as a person of faith and I am no different.

But there ARE better ways of dealing with betrayal by a friend than how I handled it at times.

How to Handle Feeling Betrayed – Be Honest!

When friends don’t show you the support you would show them, whether because of jealousy or fear or whatever reason, it IS a betrayal.

When feeling betrayed or hurt by someone, honesty is the best policy!

It is quite possible that your friend isn’t even aware of the hurt they caused you! Speaking with your friend and clearing the air is always better than letting hurt fester until there’s an explosion of anger and hurt.

Speak in love! Don’t go getting up in their face and being confrontational. That doesn’t solve anything. The best way to confront a friend who has betrayed you (or who you FEEL has betrayed you) is to do it in love.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs 15:1:

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

TLV

Matthew 18:15 says:

Now if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault while you’re with him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother.

TLV

Don’t take it to Facebook. I have seen way too many people air dirty laundry in Facebook posts. Don’t do that please.

Also, don’t talk about the issue with other friends (avoid gossip)! You SHOULD seek godly counsel but make sure that the counsel you are getting IS godly and not just someone you feel you can vent to.

None of this solves the issue and just gives you a forum to complain and can cause more pain.

Plus those “friends” you may vent or talk to about your feelings may not be friends after all and may betray that trust and run right back to the person who hurt you.

Yes even Christian people do this! It’s childish and vindictive because they know it won’t help the situation but they do it anyway.

I have seen people do this simply because they wanted to be closer friends with one of the parties or because they had a financial interest in one party. So they betrayed the trust and repeated back every word (and knew they would do so when they started listening) when all the person was merely trying to do was get godly advice and sort through their feelings and needed someone they felt they trusted to be that “safe space” to open up.

For all you know, you may be the only person they felt comfortable speaking with about the situation!

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I had a best friend in high school that I lost that way…because a third friend that I thought was close to both of us acted as a confidante for me regarding a situation that had NOTHING to do with my best friend. But she twisted the whole story and made it out like I lied to my best friend and my friend believed her.

So choose your confidantes wisely. Many times people will act like they care about you and they don’t. I wish this was limited to high school behavior but it is not and it is not only in the world, it is in the “church” too.

So if you ARE the friend someone is seeking counsel from and trying to work through their feelings of hurt or a sense of betrayal from a friend, the worst thing you can do (and a sinful thing to do at that!) is to share those conversations with that friend.

That is being an agitator and someone looking to cause more issues than already exist. Something shared with you in confidence when someone is struggling with feelings should stay in confidence and breaking that trust is just plain wrong.

If you don’t feel as though you can be impartial or approach it in a godly way to provide some sort of guidance, tell the person you don’t think you’re the best person to speak to about it and leave it there. Don’t run and tell the other person that so-and-so was trying to talk to you about them.

Again, that is gossip! Stay out of it and you will maintain a good relationship with both parties.

Sometimes out of hurt people will feel a certain way (and that may include anger) and may need to express it from a place of raw emotion and hurt. They are looking toward you for a safe space to share. If you cannot provide that impartiality, say so.

If you repeat that back to someone else, you are sinning plain and simple. You are betraying a hurting person and engaging in gossip and lashon hara when a person is feeling vulnerable and raw.

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Healing From Betrayal – Forgiveness

But if you sought godly counsel and you feel it is the right time to speak to the friend you feel betrayed by (notice I am using the term “FEEL” betrayed by…because sometimes we feel that way but they didn’t mean to betray us), the Bible is clear on resolving conflict when it says to go and tell them what they did that hurt you and if they listen, you preserved a friendship.

But what if they don’t? What if they get upset or angry or refuse to stop doing what they did to hurt you? Or what if you reach out to speak to them (whether you are the one who was in the wrong or not) and they refuse to speak with you or worse, they don’t even respond to your request at all?

If your friend won’t listen to you, the Bible goes on in Matthew 18 to tell us to then take it to the church. So perhaps speak to your Pastor or Rabbi (if you are a Messianic Jew) and see what they advise you to do or seek a brother or sister who can help mediate between you.

But what is you exhaust ALL efforts to reconcile the relationship? It may be time to move on! You did the right thing and you cannot make people do the right thing too.

You need to take the time to heal and part of that healing is forgiveness.

When betrayed by friends, forgiving the person who caused you pain may seem impossible, especially when the hurt is so fresh. But forgiveness is for your benefit, not theirs.

Not Forgiving Causes You More Pain

The longer you hold on to anger and un-forgiveness, the more you are going to keep reliving it over and over and over and the more you do this, the angrier you get and the more hurt you feel.

You will continue to go over conversations in your head and wonder if you could have done this or said that.

It is a vicious cycle that keeps playing out in your life.

The longer you hold on to anger and un-forgiveness, the more you are going to keep reliving it over and over and over and the more you do this, the angrier you get and the more hurt you feel. Click To Tweet

You may say ‘but I don’t feel like I can forgive them!’

You may not feel it but make a conscious DECISION to forgive.  The feelings will come later.

Forgiveness does not mean you have to continue in relationship with that person if it is not healthy.

You could have been betrayed so badly that you just don’t see any way you can trust them again. Maybe it is not the first time that person has hurt you and you just can’t continue a close friendship with them, or a friendship at all.

It could be that you just need to let that person go from your life and that is ok! 

You can forgive them and let them go if there is no willingness on their part to reconcile.

You can love them and forgive them and not socialize with them.

Forgiveness does not require you to continue to be a victim to someone who chooses to cause hurt.

It does not mean you ‘accept’ what they did and are saying it is ok.

Forgiving someone is not an acceptance of bad or sinful behavior!

Forgiveness is not a place of weakness! It is a place of strength. Forgive them even if they never apologize or admit any wrongdoing.

Forgive for YOU, not for them!

Forgiveness is For YOUR Peace

If you fail to forgive and let it go the only person who is losing sleep at night is YOU!

You forgive so that YOU can have peace. You forgive so YOU can move on.

Ask God to help you to forgive if you don’t know how to do it. Ask God to help you move on.

If you fail to forgive and let it go the only person who is losing sleep at night is YOU! Click To Tweet

Jesus Was Betrayed by Friends as Well

Jesus knows how we feel during these times. He Himself was betrayed by people in His inner circle; by someone whom He loved and trusted.

The Bible says in John 13:21 that Jesus was “…troubled in spirit….”, when He spoke about the fact that one of His friends would betray him.

He knew how it felt to have someone close to you turn against you, so He knows the pain you feel all too well.

He was not only turned over and sold out by one of His closest friends, but he was also denied by another multiple times. Peter denied even knowing him! He not only forgave Peter but He used Him to do great things for the body of believers!

So go to Him and ask Him to help you learn to forgive.

You may say “How can I forgive someone who doesn’t even feel like what they did was wrong??”

Let God deal with the other person!

Let Him do a work in them. It may be that they never feel they did anything wrong. But the condition of their spirit is not your concern. Pray for them and let God do the work in them.

So for your own sake, forgive and heal.

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Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society.  Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.


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30 Comments

  1. This is so helpful. I woke up this morning and one of the very first things I was confronted with was more betrayal from an already devastating situation. The “friend” is my mother. Comfort donuts helped but not as much as third post! Thank you for the reminders and the Truth you’ve given me today

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful!! God is amazing and always gives us what we need when we need it!!

  2. Friends betray. I betray. We need to learn healthy ways to work through these kinds of things. Thanks for sharing on Grace & Truth this week.

  3. I’m visiting from Maree’s Grace and Truth link-up. I especially like the point you made about forgiveness being a decision, not a feeling. We too often think we need to feel it first.

    1. It’s so true. We sometimes feel like because we may still have some hurt and anger that we’re not able to forgive but we forgive first and then our feelings get in line later. I’m so glad you visited from grace and truth!

  4. What a great post and such an important subject! I especially liked “Forgiveness is not a place of weakness! It is a place of strength.” Amen!

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