Quote taken from, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown:
“There is a particular sort of betrayal that is more insidious and equally corrosive to trust. In fact, this betrayal usually happens long before the other ones. I’m talking about the betrayal of disengagement. Of not caring. Of letting the connection go. Of not being willing to devote time and effort to the relationship. The word betrayal evokes experiences of cheating, lying, breaking a confidence, failing to defend us to someone else who’s gossiping about us, and not choosing us over other people. These behaviors are certainly betrayals, but they’re not the only form of betrayal. If I had to choose the form of betrayal that emerged most frequently from my research and that was the most dangerous in terms of corroding the trust connection, I would say disengagement. When the people we love or with whom we have a deep connection stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing, and stop fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears – the fears of being abandoned, unworthy, and unlovable. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair is that we can’t point to the source of our pain – there’s no event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. It can feel crazy-making.”
Most of us probably have never been betrayed to the point of Jesus – our best friends handing us over to the authorities to be crucified. Most of us probably have experienced outright betrayal though – friends or loved ones talk behind our backs, co-workers undermine us to advance themselves, or even a betrayal of relationship as far as a divorce or abandonment of relationship. What is our response when these things happen?
If we are honest, this kind of hurt can lead us to cynicism, then to bitterness, and eventually to anger. It poisons our hearts when it’s not even our own sin that caused it. We may try to overcompensate in the relationship, in denial about the state of things, determined to bring back the love and unity we desire through our own efforts, and when it doesn’t work we are faced with despair.
But Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us that, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
He sees our pain and knows it himself. He sympathizes with us in our experiences. I am often able to sympathize with Jesus in his experiences, but have you ever found him to be the good friend that enters into yours? So let us cry out with broken hearts to him. May we lament our betrayals to Jesus and allow them to draw us near to him. Let us not grow bitter because we have been betrayed, but bring them to our Great High Priest and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Questions to ponder:
- How have you experienced the covert betrayal of disengagement?
- Where do you tend to rest on the scale of denial -> determination -> despair?
- How can you let Jesus be your friend and confidant today?
– Alissa Riedel