Where is God when you feel rejected or betrayed by your friends? Does He even care? Actually, Jesus experienced that exact thing – betrayal by a very close friend. Find out more of how God not only cares, but truly understands.
It all happened the same day! Amazingly, the story you are about to read from the Bible is about a huge betrayal and the pain of rejection all in one single night. And it happened to Jesus! If you have ever wondered if he could possibly understand what you’re going through when it happens to you, I think you’ll have no doubts when you finish reading. For a quick background on the key characters, Judas and Peter had walked with Jesus for three years as part of his inner circle (the disciples – the original gang). That’s as long as most of you have lived in any one location, so you know almost exactly how long that was. Many of you would love to have a friend for the entire three years! And Jesus had done a lot of life with these guys and 10 more just like them! Now read about that incredibly painful night right after they had shared dinner together from Luke 22 (with a few verses omitted for length).
- Have you ever been betrayed in a friendship? If so, can you describe what you felt in a way similar to what Job did (see Supporting Scriptures)? How did you get over it (or have you)?
- What advice would you give someone else who is feeling betrayed or rejected by a friend?
- How does being a military brat and moving every few years make it harder to keep friends?
- How does knowing that Jesus was both betrayed and rejected by his friends on the same night impact your view of how he understands your pain?
Dear Jesus, maybe for the first time, I know you understand when I feel the pain of being rejected or betrayed by a friend. It really hurts, but you know that because it happened to you. Wow, thanks for living exactly where I live and going through the same things. Help me get through this without hating or hurting someone. Teach me to love like you loved in spite of how I am treated. Amen.
Take a look at the locations of some of the story from Luke 22.
Zoom in on the red and orange balloons and look closely at the city of Jerusalem to see where Jesus had the last supper and the garden where Judas offered the betrayer’s kiss!
The word betray and the word traitor come from the same root word meaning “to hand over.” That would mean that betrayal in friendship is to be a traitor to that trust.
I had this friend named Jimmy who I had known for nearly 2 years. We had been through a few things together — gotten in trouble at school, taken a road trip, not to mention the many weekend nights just hanging around. He and I began as part of a group, but people moved away or found new friends until Jimmy and I were the only ones still getting together. A few months later I had to move to look for work. Jimmy and I kept in touch, and, within a few months, I sent him an email that I was heading his way, and we should hang out. I didn’t get a response to that email, but I didn’t worry since I would be back in town in a couple weeks.
Well, once I got back I started texting him and leaving messages on Facebook about meeting up. Finally I got a one-sentence reply. “Not gonna happen, sorry.” That was it. “Did I make him angry?” “Should I have been better at keeping in touch?” “Should I not have bothered him as much?” “Was he really sorry, like it’s out of his control?” “Maybe he got a new girlfriend, and she is super jealous?” All of these questions and more started bouncing around in my head. I just can’t understand this! How could he not give me an explanation? How could we be totally fine one second and the next not be friends anymore? FOR NO REASON!! What did I do? What is wrong with me? I found that the pain of losing a friend is even more bitter if you do not understand why it happened. I am learning to give that pain to God and not let the unknown answers affect what I think of myself. It’s a huge challenge. It is one that cannot be done alone. It requires the grace and love of God. (see Who’s Your Daddy for discussions on identity and self-image)
Abandoned – by Hans O. Biehl
In the black-eyed fever
Of the jagged night
Spurned by the moon
Stabbed by the light,
Too twisted to think
Too ragged to sleep
Too far gone
To mend myself;
In the dead vacuum,
So cleverly betrayed
I make vain excuses
Rail against life,
In the razor dark
On my sweat-soaked bed
I watch my one last hope
Slither out of sight.
AGAIN – by Megan Lorraine Sanders
I am 13 again
My cheeks are hot
And with great effort dry.
I am here again
No words to say
But I keep stammering on anyway.
I am ashamed again
Your half kind voice
Tells cruel truths to me
I am the fool again
My wits and whiles
Were not enough is seems
I am 13 again
My throat is tight
And breath comes slowly, painfully
I am undesired again
Your amber eyes
Do not linger on my face
I am mistaken again
I thought I could
Feel you beckoning me but
I am just the fool again.
The book titled Peace Child by Don Richardson is an amazing story of an isolated culture that had become so enthralled with treachery that when they heard the story of Jesus, they thought the hero was Judas, the betrayer. They had developed a phrase in their cannibalistic culture that they called, “fattening up with friendship.” Any man in the tribe who could become friends with a man from another tribe and spend weeks and months developing a friendship, and then one day betray him was considered a master deceiver of the tribe and given full hero status! The book takes some detail to describe the gory event of one such man from another tribe who eventually accepted an invitation to come to visit his ‘friend’ in the other tribe. Once there, the men of the village surrounded him, hacked him to pieces, and the women cooked him. They all had a wonderful dinner and praised the “hero” who had done such a fine job of treachery and betrayal.
Eventually, many of them came to understand the story of Jesus’ sacrifice as God’s son. The missionary had discovered one deeper truth than that of betrayal, and that was the idea of the “peace child.” In order to secure peace and truth between tribes, the leader of one tribe would give his child to the other tribe to raise as their own. This would ensure that they would never attack that tribe as long as the peace child lived. When the story of Jesus was couched in this deeper tribal value – God gave us his Peace Child (Jesus) to make peace between us and him – then many of the tribe understood the horrible treachery of Judas for what it was! So, many of them became followers of God’s Peace Child! (Read the book for yourself to see how all of this transpires in a jungle community in the 1960s).
Proverbs 6:16-19– warnings against actions of betrayal and rejection
Proverbs 16:28– gossip as a cause of broken relationships
Job 19:19 and Job 6:15– descriptions of how it feels
Lamentations 1:2– the city of Jerusalem personified
Small group guide:
Large group guide:
- Talk with some friends about how all of you have gotten over feelings of rejection or betrayal. Develop a list of several things that someone can do to move past these devastating incidents.
- Have you ever noticed the increase of rejection and betrayal among friends the closer someone gets to PCSing? Try discussing this with your current friends and make a pact not to do that to one another the next time someone moves, even though the separation is painful (remember, rejection is even more painful). (see section on Separation from/losing friends)
- Who do you need to ask forgiveness of for your own incidents of rejecting or betraying them? Send them a card expressing your sorrow. (Consider including a Proverb or Psalm that describes this from God’s point of view)
What’s the most glaring example of betrayal or rejection that you know?
If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.
There are warriors who know what you are going through and can give you guidance. Please click one of the buttons below and allow one of them to connect with you. Your connection and correspondence with with them is completely confidential.