Betrayal can come in many and various forms. It can be as simple, if you want to call it simple, as someone betraying your trust through telling another what you thought was told in confidence. There is the betrayal within marriages through adulterous behavior. Betrayal can come through domestic abuse. Maybe someone at your job betrayed you by lying to the boss. There’s many examples of how we are betrayed.
In my opinion (and many psychiatrists) the most damaging, deep, and most heartfelt betrayal is through a parent sexually abusing their child. From within the womb we are totally and completely dependent upon our mothers and fathers. Upon birth that dependence grows even more for the child. The child depends on the parents for nurturing, education, love for God, not to mention clothing, food, and housing. God instilled in us love. We are created to love and we do it naturally as a child. We love our parents regardless of anything they do.
Children are taught to hate, to distrust, to be suspicious and to take the blame. They were not born with that negativity. We’ve all seen cases where a child is horribly abused and yet they will protect the parent. It isn’t always that the parent/abuser has threatened them to keep quiet, it’s because of that God-given love instilled within us toward those who God chose to be our parents.
I was asked recently if after having been sexually abused if having my Dad admit to the abuse, if that was emotionally more difficult than the actual abuse. My answer was no, not for me. For me it was confirmation that the abuse really did take place. It stopped all the mind wrestling of whether it happened or not and put an end to the lies that were being told about it didn’t happen. But not everyone can answer that way. It is always very difficult to admit we have been betrayed. Especially if that betrayal was from someone we love.
Sexual abuse/incest is the most damaging of all abuse to a child. It attacks the body, soul, mind, and spirit of the child. The issues that are left from it are so vast it can take years to heal from the devastation. Most abusers will not admit their guilt. Many mothers will blame the victim or deny it happened or choose the husband over the child. Hopefully with disclosure becoming more prevalent that will change.
Who of us want to have to admit to ourselves that those who were given to us by God could do such a thing? Who wants to admit that the man we chose to love for the rest of our lives would sneak around behind our back in an adulterous affair? Or that our best friend would reveal a deep secret we shared, with someone else?
Betrayal will leave deep wounds. Whether they are bleeding wounds that we ignore, or ones that we continue to pick at is our choice. In the case of sexual abuse it may take years to heal those deep wounds. In Psalm 27:10 The Lord says, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” Betrayal through abuse , by a parent, is forsaking the child! They have forsaken their God-given responsibility to care for, in a Christ-like manner, for the child that was placed in their care. Mothers and fathers that do nothing to protect the child, a co-conspirator, has emotionally, and in some cases physically, abandoned the child. Christ is there to receive you!
With any betrayal it is hard to “wrap our minds around” what was done. There is hurt, anger, denial, and eventually acceptance. We have a big choice to make. Do we forgive or do we continue to bleed? It can be mind-boggling to think that our own parents could betray us in such a way but if we do not release that hurt, through forgiveness, the betrayal will be like a gunny sack filled with rocks on our back.
With any form of betrayal do we choose to live with a heart filled with hate and bitterness toward those who have betrayed us or do we turn to Christ and give Him our pain? By holding onto the pain, not forgiving, we are bringing God’s judgment against us. (Matt.5:22) We are hindering our prayers, (Matt.5:23) we’re causing a root of bitterness to take hold, (Heb.12:14-15) we’re allowing demonic strongholds to take hold, (Eph.4:26), and halting our healing (James 5:16).
Freedom from the heart wounds inflicted by an act/s of betrayal is obtained through our ability to seek Christ’s forgiveness and to offer our forgiveness to others.
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Blessings to you.