Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you~ Matthew 5:11-12 NASB
I feel the need to offer a brief disclaimer.
I am not, nor will I ever be a supporter of Bernie Sanders political and social vision for America. In my judgment his very best ideas are half-baked and hopelessly naïve. Despite his declarations to the contrary Bernie is and always has been more of a communist than a socialist. Communism is an absurd notion that deserves to die already. Communism is the governmental equivalent of a ponzi scheme.
It has swindled and subjugated millions in the name of “social and economic equality”.
Communism promises plenty but only delivers material, spiritual and moral poverty. Once it takes root, it destroys the ambition of the people and with that all economic and human potential. Communism only works if the people view the state as their sole benefactor and provider; therefore faith in God is a serious threat to communism, which makes communism a serious threat to religious liberty.
Equally as critical, I simply cannot envision myself casting a vote for anyone who is clearly worse at math than I am.
Now that I have that little rant out of the way, I have to confess I felt nothing but compassion and empathy for Bernie Sanders when it was disclosed this week that power-brokers in the Democratic Party schemed to block his path to the Democratic nomination. I may not like or support his political vision, but I have to concede that it was the dirtiest of deals and more than a little unfair.
Most of us have been where he’s at, at one time or another. We were just doing life, going about our business, attempting to do our best with the gifts, talents and opportunities God has given us, only to discover that people, sometimes people we trusted, had betrayed or cheated us in a significant way.
We can be cheated out of opportunities, as was the case with Bernie. Or we can be swindled out of money or cheated on by a spouse. Other times it’s our reputation we are cheated out of of when we are slandered or misrepresented in some way.
Whatever the details, being cheated is the ugly stuff of life. It tests even the most patient among us (sometimes to the breaking point) and has the potential to destroy our trust in people and our faith in the goodness of God.
I am convinced that the feelings of anger and hurt that follow a betrayal or cheating incident are not sinful or wrong. It’s normal and perhaps even healthy to feel anger towards someone who mistreats us in some way.
It’s how we deal with our feelings that matter.
How we handle our feelings will determine our future spiritual health, the people we become and the condition of future relationships. If our anger and hurt is permitted to fester into resentment we will be destroyed by our own bitterness and useless to ever do anything good. Conversely, being mistreated can, over time, make us wiser, more compassionate, and more sensitive people if we allow God to use the experience to mold us into better people.
Dealing with a betrayal in a healthy way has to begin with a deeply held belief that God really is good and that He has a plan for our ultimate good (Jeremiah 29:11), even when life is unfair and people cheat us.
Belief that God loves us and has a plan for our good is the only thing that enables us to forgive those who have wronged us. Forgiveness is not easy and is almost always a process rather than an event. Sometimes we have to repeat the process over and over again until it sticks. We know we’ve forgiven when we are totally free of anger and bitterness towards the person or people who wronged us.
Betrayal, like every other ugly thing we are stuck with in this sin-sick world, has the power to make us either better or bitter.
The choice is ours to make.