Dealing With Betrayal

If God is all about relationships, then why do his followers have so much trouble with them? Some honest questions from a listener give Wayne and Brad a chance to discuss their own painful experiences with brothers who talked about their passion for love and relationships, only to abandon them when it no longer serves their selfish interests. As wonderful as relationships can be when people work together for a common good, they become excruciatingly painful when one person decides that their own gain is more important than finding a way to honor their relationships and seek a solution inside of it. Betrayal is a common theme in Scripture and are often a part of our journey. Successful relationships don't require anyone to be perfect, but they do require us to put the relationship above ourselves.


  1. I can understand how you can be married for 30 years and want to walk away. I have been married going on 17 years, and when you are trying to make a marriage work, plus have kids, and want to do what you feel God wants….to work at your marriage, but one person can’t make it work. I’m married to a good man, who I do love, but let me tell you, I feel more alone in my marriage than I probably would if i were a single person. We have gone to counseling and for about a year things were better, but with the stresses of his job, consuming him, it is in the meantime destroying US!!

  2. Wow. Thanks for helping me realize I’m not the only one who feels this way. Brad told the story of my life. All I have ever done is dump on people then expect them to reciprocate. When they don’t, I get confused and hurt then try all over again. I’m 38 and I only have two close friends; one is my wife and the other is the most tractable person I have ever met. The rest of my friends over the years have either left me, betrayed me or just plain faded away. Thankfully I have been learning in the last few months how to get my sense of self-worth from God and in return have “come into myself” more. It’s not a pride thing; it just naturally happened as I ceased trying to look out for number one and began to love loved. I’m loving others just as much or more, but with less expectations from them to return that love. I’m a long ways from figuring out how to do that all the time and probably never will, but my perspective has shifted180 degrees from where it was a short six months ago. I could go on, but i think Jesus sums it up best:

    Matthew 5:5 MSG

    “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

  3. Thanks for some insights. I’ve been listening for over a year now and this is the first time I’ve written in. There have been painful relationships in my life also (seems a common human experience). There is comfort to be taken from conversations where people are using words to describe the exact experiences I’ve been through…I am not alone. Thanks for pointing to Jesus rather than simplistic answers which only push our pressures underground…then they resurface in ways that are even more destructive. To the person going through marriage pressures…I can relate.

  4. Hi guys,

    AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME – I work in a ministry and have been chucked under the bus – repeatedly, and have the tyre marks on my forehead and the wounded heart to show for it. I have been trying so hard to take the best from it and learn what is mine to learn. What I have learned is…

    1) God holds me in the palm of His hand, I am HIS precious daughter and HE holds me and comforts me and has awesome things for me to do with the gifts He has given me – whoop whoop bring on the new thing
    2) I am NOT responsible for how others act BUT I am responsible for how I react to them
    3) I MUST MUST MUST forgive as forgiveness is the bridge that I must cross to reach heaven!!!!
    4) In the middle of every winter lie the seeds of a new summer, sometimes we are up to our ears in bullshit for a reason – we need fertilising

    None of this has come easily – I think that particulalry the forgiveness one I will be working on for a long long time – BUT I have made a start, I know I need to do it and with Gods grace I will be able to do it in full and leave the perpetrators of this hurt in Gods hands – He alone knows why they act the way they do, they are still my fellow brothers in Christ – however when someone repeatedly hurts you, I am coming to the realisation that you dont have to stand and take it, that you can forgive and walk away.

    Thanks so much for this audio – it helped me a lot


  5. This is one of my top five God Journey podcasts. I do not have any deep relationships outside of my natural family. Five years out of the institution has revealed quite a lot about my expectations and how miserably I failed to live up to them myself! I think that I am able to rest in God’s love more and more regarding everything about life. But I must admit that I sometimes am fearful that my heart is too hard, my inclinations too far left and my willingness to cooperate with God is the deciding factor.
    The deciding factor affecting… really knowing and loving Jesus, fulfilling my purpose, being an overcomer, growing into true spritual maturity, taking care of stuff on earth so that when the shit hits the fan I will be ready!
    I don’t know if it’s middle age or the evening news, but I feel like things are about to explode all around us and I’m not ready! I like my pot and my wine- it’s pleasant. It demands nothing I can’t give. I haven’t read my bible in months, and not really for years. I am more sure now that Jesus does love and accept me, but I have no idea where to go from here. I guess I don’t have deep relationships because they require what I already know I can’t give. But WHERE
    Obviously there are some issues here. I’m not a drunk, I hate being drunk. I enjoy the subtle affect of pot, but I don’t feel great about using it. I feel worse about the lack of ‘fellowship’ in my life.

  6. I accidentally published before I was finished with the above post. The sentence I started with But WHERE, is the transformation I have been hoping for for sooooo long? It clearly isn’t found in a system of kept rules, it is not in religious behavior, and…. it can’t be hurried. But I feel like I’m running out of time. All I can do is look to Jesus for all of my crap and trust Him. Sorry, this is just me being real.

  7. “Wisdom from Under the Bus”. That would make a great book. Bet we could all contribute a chapter or two. 🙂

    It seems to me that nothing made Jesus more upset than hypocrisy and the mistreatment of others. And yet our religious institutions seem unable to operate without them…

  8. I sure hope listeners tuning in to the podcast for the first time don’t think most of us left Institutionalized Religion simply because we felt betrayed…

    Living bitter, focused on how others have hurt you in the past & running from the hurt… isn’t quite the same as focusing on living for and loving the journey and loving the people God places on our journey.

  9. Bill, I hope you’re right, but people make that accusation anyway. None of this podcast was about leaving organized religion because of being betrayed. Though that can be the result, it doesn’t have to be done out of bitterness any more than removing your hand from a hot stove is done in bitterness. Sometimes it’s what health requires you to do!

  10. I agree with you about “The Tale of 3 Kings” book. It’s one of my top 5 too. Another one of my top 5 is “So Ya Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore”. And a third one is “Myth of a Christian Nation” by Greg Boyd. All those books came at such a time when I needed them and were pivotal points in my journey. .What are your other 4 books Wayne? What about you Brad?

  11. If anyone is interested in books that are in the same genre as “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore”, one that I think is an oldie but goodie is “Divine Nobodies” by Jim Palmer.

  12. Nancy,

    Struck by your asking; “WHERE, is the transformation I have been hoping for for sooooo long?… I feel like I’m running out of time”.

    I have these same thoughts. Here is sort of the concept I think I’m coming to believe. If you got a different take, love to hear it.

    God is the master craftsman creating masterpieces from broken material, that mostly doesn’t cooperate and in the middle of an enemy determine to wreck every piece and yet He lovingly works on unthwarted. He loves the piece (us) regardless of where He is in the process and in some mysterious manner through Christ has already made us something new (regardless of our recognization of that reality).

    Our heart knows this because it is a new heart given by Him, but in turning the old saying upside down, our problem is allowing Truth to flow from our new heart to our head which is still distracted by what we have been “taught” by this world since our birth. (thanks to the TrueFaced guys for that idea)

    It seems that He allows us the freedom to impede the process, so does He give us the freedom to speed it up? I think maturity in our walk comes with believing that this change has/is taken/taking place and gaining the confidence to live out of that reality.

    So while I don’t believe there is any 6 steps to greater spiritual freedom nor do I see much these days in the “church” culture (be it big church or homegroup), I’m thinking there is something to be gained in the way we view/believe/participate with Father by walking with fellow apprentices and learning from the steps of those that have “gone before us”. Is there something I can learn from the walk of a Frank Laubach or Eric Bonhoeffer? Maybe it is all individual discovery learning, but maybe not. If He did it in them, maybe He is doing it in me. Blessings

  13. Sorry Wayne, I was in a hurry and didn’t write my question very clearly. You said “The Tale of 3 Kings” was in your opinion 1 of the top 5 best spiritual books ever written and I agree, so I was wondering what the other 4 books were that you put in your top 5. Then I was wondering what Brad’s were. Sorry for the confusion.

  14. Brad,

    FYI: Free range isn’t just about being kind to animals… It’s actually healthier for you and I. Watch a film online called “Food Inc”, and the light bulb will turn on.

    Caged animals = sickness & disease animals spreading their diseases (like ecoli) into people.

    Free range = organic, natural, healthy families

    Feel free to moderate this. I just had to comment to Brad for the sake of your son’s daughter, Wayne. ; )


  15. Michele, sorry to answer you again with a URL, but here are my favorite books to date: I don’t really have a top 5 per se, but a top 10. It’s just that TALE OF THREE KINGS would fall in the upper half of that, not that I’ve ranked them all. Brad will have to answer for himself, but I’m not sure how often he checks in here…

  16. Guys,
    I really appreciated this podcast.
    I can see in myself and others what Brad was talking about, placing my expectations of the “Ideal” on others and being disappointed when they don’t reciprocate my same effort or whatever you want to call it. I also know what it’s like to be that person who is held up to that ideal and how unproductive that can be.
    More than not I can say I have had many relationships with great expectations only to find disappointment, I have also bee betrayed in sort of the same way.
    I was in a marriage that I tried for years to make work and on the outside to many people it may have looked like it did. But I don’t think either of us ever got past our expectations and the betrayal that came on the back of that was just more than I could deal with.
    But through that experience I have learned about myself and other people.
    I am much better about being realistic in my expectations for other people and accepting them for the imperfect people they are. Better not completely cured 😀
    I also am a little quicker to see it when others are putting that expectation on me, although I still have huge issues on dealing with that. I think just communicating and being open & honest is the best thing but it’s not always well received in that situation.
    Do any of you have any insight about ways to deal with that expectation being placed on you?
    I really related to a lot of this podcast guys, thanks so much for continuing to do it.

  17. Thank you this couldn’t have come at a better time. You guys aren’t real good prophets you said “between the time I tryed to quit my church and June I would have quite the adventure… they let me go last friday. So much for that theory. I was wondering a long time ago you had a letter from a former pastor who was having more fun sucking crap out of campers then when he was a pastor. I need to know if he needs an employee. Maybe Walmart greeter, it still has an aspect of ministry… just kidding of course guys. Thanks for the pod cast.

  18. Anonymous
    I really felt your desperation from your above response. What I felt lead to share is that I also went to marriage counseling for years and statistically more marriages end in divorce after counseling than before. What happens is most counselors focus on need and roles, where it has to be about loving each other unconditionally!! I am in no way saying counseling doesn’t have its place, under the right conditions it can be incredible, I just wanted to offer a suggestion. I recommend a book called Two Fleas and No Dog by Craig Hill, I wish I had read it when I was in counseling and even more I wish I had been in a place back then to receive the truth behind it.

  19. Hey Wayne, I was looking at the recommended reads list you posted and was pleased to see the Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard up there. I like to listen to Dallas talk quite a bit. Aside from charming lilt in his voice, I find he sort of calms the turbulent waters of confused philosophy and fearful emotions that I tend to fall prey to. Christ has used him to speak to me on numerous occasions.

    If anyone is interested, there’s is a library of audio files I often visit. This link is to a page full of Dallas’ talks from that library:

  20. Im so thankful to have heard this podcast. Betrayal is a tough lesson to go through. Weather in a marital relationship or a relationship that is guised in the confines of “building the church”. Experiencing betrayal certainly creates empathy for Christ on a visceral level or even the other J.C. ( Julius Caesar) et tu Brute? Archetypal. Our humanity can be so petty on its weak and flawed side, not to mention an enemy that knows how to marionette our nature.
    Thanks again.

  21. @Mark – I so get that! I haven’t been married – just had a few relationships and I am finding the whole love unconditionally thing such a load. Love God and love one another – I just can’t – I try but I can’t.

    I think I am just over the whole love thing.

  22. Hi
    I wanted to comment on something from Ruth , she wrote “3) I MUST MUST MUST forgive as forgiveness is the bridge that I must cross to reach heaven!!!!”
    Salvation is by grace and grace alone. The cross is the dividing line between the O.T and the N.T.
    Hebrews 9:17 because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living.
    The translators made a huge error that has greatly screwed up many people. Matt.1:1 is not where the N.T. starts. The cross is where the N.T. starts. Jesus came to fulfill the law , that’s why He said “It Is Finished” right before He died. The law is the shadow , Jesus is the substance. In the O.T. the high priest made an annual sacrifice to cover whatever sins the people may have committed in ignorance.
    Hebrews 9:7 says ” But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.” Even under the law this sacrifice would have covered the sin of unforgiveness. Even O.T. saints were perfected together with us through the work of the cross. Hebrews 11:40 God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
    Jesus said Matthew 12:31 And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
    Matthew 12:32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
    Jesus said this before the cross , so by “this age” He meant under law. By “The age to come” He meant under grace. So blasphemy (the sin of unbelief in Jesus’ finished work at the cross) is the only unforgivable sin. After the cross in the N.T. The bible says Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
    So you forgive because your already forgiven. You don’t forgive to maintain your salvation. That is an insult to Jesus. I know it’s not done intentionally by Christians but we desperately need to get this straight. I had it wrong for years also , then God graciously showed me the revelation over time. Ruth , the Holy Spirit only covicts believer’s of righteousness. You have already received the gift of righteousness. God want us to have joy. This revelation on forgiveness has greatly blessed me. I pray the same for you.
    God Bless and Merry Christmas To All.

  23. Hey Debbie, don’t give up on love dear, but find true love, His. You wrote…Love God and love one another…but the first step is the most important…He first loved us. You cant love unconditionally, its impossible without truly knowing you are loved unconditionally by Him. I know it sounds hokey and if you had any idea who was writing this to you and what lies I lived in for years, living unloved, you would be shocked that God could heal and restore a man who was so incredibly selfish. I never believed He loved me, I lived in fear of love, I blamed God for everything and I really struggled, like yourself, with “the whole love thing”. Once I started believing in the truth about Him and His love, the lies started deteriorating. I am not sure what podcast it was but our friendly neighborhood freedom fighters said that “Once we lose sight of how much He loves us, we have to fix everyone else”, nothing is more true than in marriage, once we realize our spouses cant fill the gaping holes and wounds inside of us, we try to change and mold them into what we think we need……impossible task. Its why I recommended that book to anonymous, it talks about needing to get our needs met from Father first and in that we will be able to love our spouses. He loves you Debbie, in a way that will blow your mind….Believe it.

  24. Thanks Mark – thank you so much – I am slowly taking it on board that He loves me – been down the ‘fix ’em’ road as well – not pretty – LOL! but I learnt a lot.

  25. Merry Christmas Reg! All week I have been thinking about how The Holy Spirit convicts of Righteousness – how weird is that – thanks for your insights.

  26. Doug,
    Thank you for your response. I do agree with you, and am reminded of Paul in Romans 7. Wretched man that I am! But Jesus has, as you said, already done the work. He does indeed give us freedom and I pray that I am able to live in that reality in order see a “quickened” transformation if that is at all possible. I want true fellowship with others and have found it to be elusive. That too must be trusted to God. I was really afraid of the response I may get to my statements. I was pretty honest. I am most encouraged when I look at my marriage- 28 years, and it’s good and solid and I see God’s grace all over it. If God had not been pouring out mercy and grace- we would not be together. My propensity towards sin grieves me, and yet I see the power of allowing the grace of God to meet me even there, with trembling and fear that I would be guilty of crucifying Him all over again. I have a book by Bonhoeffer – The Cost of Discipleship. I couldn’t get through it the first time I tried to read it many years ago, but will take another look. Thanks Doug, I so appreciate your response.

  27. Hi Debbie ,
    I wish every Christian knew the Holy Spirit only convicts the believer of righteousness. I’ve heard many a preacher say the Holy Spirit reminds them of their sin. In the Old Testament God did that. But He stopped that at the cross. Hebrews 10:17 Then he adds:
    “Their sins and lawless acts
    I will remember no more.”
    In the Corinthian church , Christians (real born again Christians) were stealing , getting drunk , sleeping with prostitutes there was even a case of incest. Notice what Paul does. He lists a bunch of sins. He says Swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Yet He says to the Saints 1 Corinthians 6:11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
    Paul uses grace to change their behavior. Even though they were stealing , they were not considered thieves. Identity is always determined by birth , never by behavior. These Saints had already recieved “the gift of righteousness.” Paul starts out his letter 1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ–their Lord and ours:
    He calls them sanctified. Truly we rest in a finished work.
    God Bless

  28. Hey, guys, thanks for the podcast 🙂

    I had a couple of thoughts. Firstly, I was thinking, along the lines of what Mark was saying above, that the reason any of us are selfish is that we think it’s up to us to make sure we are taken care of. When we have had fallible parents, friends, and lovers shaping the foundations of who we believe ourselves to be and how valuable we are, one of the greatest lies we believe and live by is that “it is all up to me.” The ONLY remedy to this miserable lie is to know how deeply we are loved by our God. The deeper I swim into the depths of Him and His love for me, the less selfish I become. The less expectations I have of others. And the less their expectations of me matter.

    I was also remembering a time when I looked around at most of the people in my life and felt like my “love bank” was empty. Like when you talked about the fact we are taught that “love” has to do with what others do for us. I wanted to move away and start a new life with new friends who would reciprocate all of the “selfless” contributions I was making to their lives (gag). As I was then lonely enough that I was forced deeper into Him, my heart started to change (which is the most extraordinary thing.) I found that the people He had put in my life actually offered opportunity for real relationship that would not be self-serving or codependent, but rather would push us further and further into His arms.

    Now I look at the depth of relationship I am surrounded by and I am amazed. Have I been betrayed? Yes, I have. Have I been loved? Even more so.


  29. You Dudes sooo ROCK! You tell my story. I left a mega-church staff and a wanna be mega-church staff for these very reasons. The shared ministry became way more important than the people and relationships. Could not do it any more. Happy to be healing in a place less ambitious.

  30. “anonymous”, I am praying for you. I’m about to listen. Sounds like I need a box of tissues.

  31. Just catching up on December’s podcasts, and had some things come to me to add to the “broken bone” metaphor. Having gone through the actual process with my (then) 22-year-old son last year (a shattered vertebra, resulting from a motorcycle accident), there are two more relevant conditions to healing a shattered bone: stillness and time. My son was confined to bed in a back brace for a full month, with limited mobility (still in the brace) for the next two months after that.

    Likewise, if we want to see relationships of love built up in the Body of Christ, we must learn to “be still” (focusing on the Father, rather than trying to force relationships to happen–as Brad pointed out) and to be patient (we don’t get to tell God how long it should take, either).

    FYI, it’s been 16 months since his accident, and my son’s spine is fully healed–and that after a consulting neurological surgeon told us (only hours after the accident) that after his first look at the x-rays and MRIs that he was convinced that he was going to be dealing with a permanently-paraplegic patient (the vertebra was that shattered). The human body is truly a wondrous creation. I suspect that the Body of Christ is just as wondrous, if only we’d be willing to let it be what it was designed to be.

  32. I have been thinking about the content of this podcast and what really struck me was the couple splitting up after 30 years. Before I was married, I wondered how people could be together that long and then find themselves “not in love” anymore. I love my husband but the covenant of marriage has kept me going through this year of financial struggles, parenting differences, social frustrations and loss of respect. Every day I would wake up wondering how I was going to stay in this marriage and work through the issues occurring after 12 years of marriage. Every day I would wake up thinking about how hard “I” was working on fixing things or making things right, how “I” was supporting our family financially, how “I” was listening to Godly teachings and learning to live loved, how “I” was trying to be the balance and comfort my kids needed. It wasn’t until I heard this podcast that I was able to break out of that train of thought and realize that the only way this marriage was going to work was if I changed to focus to the relationship I have with my husband rather than the promise I made during my wedding vows. I think the covenant of marriage helps us work through the tough times but should not be the only thing that keeps us in a relationship. Thank you for reminding me that what I truly desire is to have a relationship with my husband that is strong enough to endure the challenges life throws at us, that “I” can’t do this on my own. Sometimes it’s the little comments that are made that have the biggest impact.

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