Updated: Sep 8, 2021
Dr. Stephen Phinney
“For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4)
Grace is a part of the character of God. In fact, it is the personhood of Jesus Christ. Grace is the most frequently spoken word in the modern-day church. However, it is the most abused. Fake grace produces fake love. Fake love is the fuel for the betrayal of family, friendships & co-workers in Christ. Furthermore, fake love is the cornerstone of the structure of fake Christianity.
Most believers encounter the grievous experience of betrayal. Classically from those who tempt us to question our view of ‘love.’ Yes. Some of these individuals committed to a type of friendship ‘until death do we part.’ You know the type – sharing your joys and pains of your walk-in Christ, but yet they use those intimate expressions against you. However, whatever their style of betrayal is, you quickly realize it was fake love. How do you know this? In their betrayal, they probably used your confessions to destroy you while packing their punch with lies. Lies that were supplanted by others who betray as a default. Some can even claim to be ‘Christians.’ But yet, their madness method matches the description that Jesus gives of His enemy – an accuser of the brethren.
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. (Rev 12:10)
Betrayers function as liars, and they don’t even know it – minimally don’t admit it.
The expression of such hate could devastate us OR cause us to reexamine authentic grace vs. those who turn the grace of God into a license to destroy.
One of the primary check-marks of authentic salvation is, you shall know them by their Love. Furthermore, authentic Love never uses the knowledge of sin to destroy.
Love is patient, Love is kind and is not jealous; Love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the Truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1Co 13:4-7)
When a supposed Christian is impatient, jealous, arrogant, acts resentful, seeks self-justification, rejoices in a brother’s sin while avoiding Truth, they confess a kind of love that is not only fake but is demonic. Fact. Satan’s worldly love method grants people the erroneous right to rub loved ones’ faces in their wrongs. This is not the kind of Love that comes from God. It is earthly, natural, and demonic. (James 3:15)
Why do ‘Christians’ backstab’ those they ‘say’ they love?
The quick answer is they’re in pain. The more acute answer is a bit more vexing. They’re victims of betrayal; thus, they betray. The Bible is filled with stories of betrayal. So much so, Jesus Himself was flanked with betrayal on every side – his step-brothers, Judas, Peter, and even His remaining disciples – outside of the beloved John. Jesus’s grace response was, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.
Betrayal is a payback response for perceived harm done to self. It’s mean, vindictive, and displays the grievous act of cowardice. It sets up the one being betrayed as the sin-eater for the wrongs of the betrayer. Betrayal is a flesh response of attempting to rob the safety & security of the betrayed through a breaking of trust while punishing them with silence. Most authentic Christians overcome the heartache it causes by returning the favor of silence. However, soon the indwelling Life prompts the betrayed one to hand over such suffering to Christ, thus allowing Him to fight the battle. While most betrayers stand firm in their personal boundaries, this is only a defense pattern to block confrontations of their unconfessed hatred. Ironically, the real hatred is in their own misfortune. The results? They remain in their bitterness, hatred, and queen-bee control until death parts them. Experienced betrayers rarely can be fronted, nor do they change in the long run. They hid behind the Christianized lie of being ‘more right’ than the one they have betrayed. It all concludes in the betrayer being ‘god’ over the lives of those they betray, which is an erroneous lie.
What is the betrayed to do?
While it is easier said than done, each needs to show the real-deal Love that is only found in the indwelling Life of Christ. So…if you’re not authentically saved, sadly, you are on your own. If you indeed house the Holy Spirit from within, release Christ to do the loving through you.
Let all that you do be done in Love. (1Co 16:14)
Since Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore Love is the fulfillment of the law (Rom 13:10). Your actions in Christ of loving those who persecute you releases you from the law forced upon you by the betrayer. You become the one who will live in freedom.
Recently, I was rejected and abandoned by someone very close to me, someone I trusted closely with confessions, struggles, and victories in life. The pain of the betrayal was intense, and I longed to be understood by family and others close to me. Since empathy can only come via Jesus Christ, the expectation altogether made the betrayal even more unbearable. I was forced into the corner of my flesh, which, as expected, drove me inward to the comfort of the Holy Spirit. After the Spirit delivered comfort and guidance, I was able to join the fellowship of His sufferings. It is in this place; I remember what Jesus had to go through.
In agony far beyond my suffering, Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot into the hands of the Jewish religious leaders. The mental anguish caused by the betrayal of Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples and many other ‘close friends,’ is often minimalized. He had invested in each of those lives. He loved them with the passion of His Father. He cared intensely for all. He was discouraged. He hurt. He embraced & felt the pain that came with betrayal. He wept.
If you have been betrayed, take to heart, you are in good company. If you are functioning as a betrayer, repent – and fix what you broke. Go to those you are punishing through your silence. Reconcile with them. If they need time, wait. And finally, remember this mandate.
For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness? (1Co 4:20-21)