Kiss of Betrayal

It was the 4th grade.  I had betrayed her.  She had told me a secret and I had not only betrayed her trust, but I had laughed about it with my other classmate.  As we were snickering about it together, I looked up and saw Teresa’s big brown doe eyes bearing into my soul.  Tears flooded her eyes, landed on her lashes and my laugh trailed off.   My friend turned suddenly and left me to stare back at the girl that I had betrayed.  I had betrayed her to look more important to someone else.  I had betrayed her for a laugh.  I had betrayed her because I wanted to feel like I was better than her.  But I was so, so wrong.  That girl was the sweetest thing I had ever met; no judgment of others, always had a smile on her face, and was kind to EVERYONE.  And I had betrayed this girl.

Tears began to jerk at the backs of my eyes, and I turned around to avoid her gaze.  I don’t remember apologizing to her but I do remember how that betrayal ate away at my soul.  Slowly, I began to change.  At first, I avoided conversations where she was being taunted.  Soon, I awkwardly invited her to come over to my house and play.  She accepted.  After that, I began to stand up for her when others cut her down.  Years passed and our friendship began to bloom.  I looked at her as my best friend.  And she was.  We shared everything with each other.  And I did not betray her any longer.  I’m so glad I chose loyalty and not betrayal.  But that is not the last time betrayal has been in my life.  And not the last time I have betrayed.

I guess maybe I have always erred at looking at the bright side of things.  Trusting people too soon, and actually believing that what people say, is what they mean.  I am so lucky that I married a man who does that… says what he means and means what he says.  That is why I love him… and why I married him.  There is no beating around the bush with him- he will tell you how it is—and he won’t take other’s people way of trying to sideswipe issues at hand.  I LOVE that about him.  Truth is truth to him.

There are so many people today that try to ease into the truth—or completely avoid the truth by telling others that the problem lies with something a little less conflicting.

I guess I had forgotten that little absurd way of “lying” for some time.  I tell friends when something they’ve done has upset me…even if it’s stupid and shows my ENORMOUS sensitivity.  I am usually shaking when I do it- but I do it.  (Several of my friends can attest to this.)  So, my expectations were high.  Too high.  I expected too much of humanity… but not all of humanity.  Just those that I had taken into my “fold” of trusted friends/family.

No one sat me down and fed me the facts when my husband and I felt called to plant a church.  Sure, we knew all the statistics.  We had been through a vigorous week of assessments with our church planting organization.  I felt prepared.  And so full of hope.  We had cried with the team, laughed and learned.  SO MUCH.  It became almost too much learning in one week.  But no one uttered these words to me: “Prepare to be betrayed.”  

Yes.  Betrayal.  I had experienced it in middle school… and even in high school and college with a few horrible boyfriends.  But I had never experienced it to the extent that I have experienced it in my adult life as I have while planting a church.

People who we considered life friends (those who pledged to support us through our time of planting… etc) stopped calling us to hang out.  Invitations for play dates- stopped.  Church families who we were close to- gossiped, spread rumors and cut us out of their lives.  Mentors/mentorees whom we had poured our lives into (and they into us) presumed hurtful things about us… and left us.  Probably for good.

It was harsh and it was so hurtful.  I cried for days… and my husband just held me.

And we learned, from God himself, to just continue to love.  To pray for those who were persecuting us.  To pour our hearts into those who were still in our path… those whom God was sending to the church plant.  To know that He had called us to “Go!” and we are.  In doing that we left behind parts of our lives that we loved.  However, while loving and serving Him, even when we felt betrayed, He was still wholly with us.  Through thick and thin.

Being betrayed does not mean that we stop doing what God has called us to do.  To Go.  Just as Christ continued to the cross, after the betrayal of Judas.  He went.  And so do I.