Our familiarity with the quote, “Beware the Ides of March,” comes from the Shakespeare play, Julius Caesar. In the play, the soothsayer warns Caesar of his assassination that will take place on the Ides of March (March 15). True to the warning, Caesar is stabbed by his friend Brutus who has joined the conspiracy against him. Caesar’s response to his betrayal includes another famous line, Et tu Brute, meaning, “You too, Brutus?”

Betrayal, whether by a friend, family member or coworker, cuts deep. A husband cheats, a daughter lies, a co-worker turns on you, a friend goes behind your back…Your heart is broken!

Our Savior knows the heartbreak of betrayal. His beloved disciples turned against Him during His darkest hour. Judas gave Him over to His enemies for money. Peter denied Him for fear of retaliation. Yet, Jesus in His mercy and grace, chose to forgive. The betrayers didn’t deserve it, but that was the point. Grace gives what isn’t deserved.

Jesus could have fought back. At his disposal were 10,000 angels ready to rescue Him from a death He did not deserve. He could call down an army, wipe out those who came against Him, and win an immediate victory and take care of His betrayers. Instead, He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities and the chastisement of our peace was upon Him (meaning the punishment that brought us peace was on Him). Because of His response, our reconciliation to God was made possible.

What an incredible challenge we see in the response of Christ. Instead of exposing the depth of betrayal, Jesus allowed the betrayal that lead to His death, but also our reconciliation to God.

If you have been betrayed, consider reconciliation. To do so, ask God to give you His heart when it comes to healing from betrayal. Because God’s grace is offered to us when we don’t deserve it, offer it to the person who betrayed you. I know this is not natural, so ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Our model is Christ. He was despised, rejected, and abused. Yet, He had compassion for those who turned against Him and loved the unlovely.

The first place to begin is a confession from the betrayer. Once they admit to wrong-doing, you can move forward towards reconciliation.

To heal from betrayal, you must choose to forgive the person who broke your trust. This doesn’t mean you condone the action of betrayal, minimize the impact, or act as if the problem never happened. Forgiveness means you acknowledge the breach of trust and choose not to allow it to fester into unforgiveness and bitterness. Forgiveness is essential for healing to take place.

During the reconciliation process, you may need reassurance that the person is remorseful and changing their behavior.  Go ahead and ask them to reassure you when you need it.  After all, you were fooled by the betrayal, so reassurance from the betrayer that he or she is on the path to rebuilding trust with you, helps.

Be patient in this healing process. You can’t rush the rebuilding of trust.  Only time will tell if a person can become trustworthy again. And that is often frustrating for the person who betrayed—they want the relationship to get back to normal, but normal has been disrupted and a breach of trust has occurred. Healing can come, but it may take time.

During the painful process of working through a betrayal, it may be tempting to reference the betrayal when you are angry or upset. Don’t use a trust violation as a weapon against the person. What is done, is done. Throwing it in the person’s face whenever you feel hurt, will not help. Instead, focus on rebuilding the relationship. Prayer helps tremendously as God is working on healing your heart.

Next, have a no secrets rule. Relationships built on secrecy do not do well. Betrayal usually begins in secrecy. Honesty is needed to rebuild trust, even when that honesty is painful.

Also, when you are tempted to be unkind to the person who betrayed you, remember the biblical principle—what you sow, you reap (Galatians 6:7). Returning unkind behavior will come back to you. So, create positive moments in your relationship from which to rebuild.

Also important is letting go of judgment towards the person. You can choose to forgive but still hold on to judgment. However, releasing judgment is needed to go forward in a relationship. God will judge.

Finally, if you have trouble rebuilding trust, you may want to see a counselor to help move all parties through the process. That can be very helpful. Find a Christian therapist to be a mediator and guide through the process of repair and reconciliation.

Healing from betrayal