Last Sunday, after I arrived at church, I realized my sermon manuscript was not synced to my iPad due to sync failure. So, I had to create a very short summary of my message in a pinch and preach from my memory. I think it went ok. My wife said she didn’t notice except a few spots. Once I got home, I set up an app that allows me to access my computer remotely so that next time it happens, I can do something about it.
After the day was over, I felt a sense of “betrayal.” I trusted a service, but it failed me when I needed it the most. In the same way, we experience a sense of “betrayal” from time to time. Even the most reliable products or services fail sometimes. The most painful betrayal comes from people. Most of the time, people don’t try to betray us but because people can’t live up to our level of trust 100%. In a church, pastors and members can feel betrayed by each other, even though there is a mutual sense of trust, because of unmet expectations.
So, how do we handle a sense of betrayal? Bible does give us a clear guideline: “Don’t trust in man.” (Psalm 146:3) It doesn’t mean we should never trust anyone, but it means not trusting them as people who will never betray us. Regardless of how faithful and committed we are, we will betray someone’s expectation.
Also, we need to expect to be betrayed. Parenting is a series of betrayals, and so is ministry. Parents provide everything for a child, yet the child may want to do something against the parents’ wish. Ministry is the same. You invested your time and care to raise someone, yet you have to be ok with that person leaving or disagreeing with you.
But the best response to betrayal is not to stop trusting anymore. It is to trust the one who is more reliable. Jesus knew his disciples would betray him, but he continued to entrust his work to them because he trusted his heavenly Father. God is trustworthy, and he will never betray anyone’s trust. (Romans 10:11) Moment of betrayal can be an opportunity to trust God more, not to stop trusting people anymore.