When friendly fire comes
When betrayal comes from inside your circle, it can be all the more devastating for the intimacy that’s disrupted. If that’s something you’ve experienced, take heart ; you are not alone and you do not have to stay in that place. Here’s what I’ve learned through my own healing process:
- Take stock of what you know to be true. In the middle of my situation, it was hard to actually know what was true and what were lies. The scariest part was that I came very close to believing the lie that I was somehow to blame for everything. Indeed, it was even tempting to believe that I just wasn’t cut out for ministry—not because of who I was, but because I was a woman. Instead, ask yourself how much you are responsible for. How much of it is out of your control? Take time to think through the situation. Pray about it. It might be you’re responsible for 80%—or maybe less than 10%—but until you can own that percentage, it will feel overwhelming, and even more tempting to believe the lies.
- Do what it took me years to do—pray for the person who hurt you. It took me two years to be able to pray for them by name without cringing. Honestly, we left seven years ago and it still hurts. When you do pray, pray whatever you need to pray so that you start healing. We have a God who hears and knows every piece of us—our anger and rage, our quiet peace and joys. If your prayers are rage-filled, stay with them and stay with God—it’ll leak out. Sometimes the venom has to be drained first. Above all, our God is big enough, so trust God and keep praying.
- Talk about it. Pick people you trust to constructively talk about what you’re struggling with. At first, the need to talk could easily become ranting, but the more you persist in clinging to what you know and to praying, the easier it’ll be to discern what is useful and what is not. The one thing you don’t want to do is compound the problem with idle gossip. That can take an already bad situation and make it worse. And it’s tempting to do because it feels good in the moment, but it ultimately doesn’t help cauterize the wound. Constructive talking to a loved one or a counselor (someone outside the situation) can bring healing as they help you probe the truth and deconstruct the lies.