In 2016 I was working at a job that was paying me very well for an entry-level position; I was getting paid $14 an hour. I knew that I was blessed to be getting paid so well, so I didn’t take advantage of it. I worked hard even though I didn’t like the job because I know how hard people have to work in countries like Mozambique. And people in Mozambique were most likely working much harder than I was at that time.
Now I’m not one to brag about how much money I make, so I was careful to not share how much money I was making with my other coworkers. But one day one of my coworkers decided to ask me how much money I made since I told him that I was blessed to be getting paid so well. At first, I hesitated, but then I thought, “Well he seems like a good guy, and we’ve kinda built a friendship. I can trust him.”
So I told him that I was making $14 an hour. Shocked, my co-worker told me that he was only making $10 an hour, and he’s been working for the company much longer than I’d been working there. Since I could feel some jealousy arising in him, I changed the subject as quick as I could, but I thought nothing more of it than that.
Later that day, my manager told me that he wanted to speak to me privately in his office for second. Confused, I followed him into his office to see what this was all about. Then my manager looked at me and said, “Did you tell one of your coworkers in here how much money you make?”
“Ya, I did. Is something wrong?” I asked. Then my manager lowered his voice so that no one else would hear what he was about to say, and said, “You can’t go around telling everybody how much money you make because none of these entry-level guys are making as much money as you are. If they really wanted to, they could complain to the corporate office and demand a higher salary, all because you’re getting paid $14. Don’t ever do that again.”
To say I was mad would be an understatement. I was furious. I thought I could trust my coworker since we’d built a friendship, shared secrets with each other, and we even had moments of vulnerability. But, when I found out that the coworker I built this friendship with is the same guy who went behind my back and complained to the manager about how much more money I was making than everyone else, I felt betrayed, to say the least.
After processing my thoughts for a while, I prayed and asked God to help me to forgive my coworker. Then God spoke to me and told me that my goal wasn’t just to forgive him but to not allow that bad experience to prevent me from trusting other people in the future.
Most, if not all of us would agree that when someone betrays you, you should never share anything of value with that person again until they change. I think that’s the easy lesson to learn. The hard lesson to learn is to not allow betrayal to prevent us from trusting other people.
Whenever we’re betrayed, the first thing that happens is we wanna shut down and protect ourselves from everyone around us. This is the same thing that happens when some people touch a hot stove by mistake, and then they’re forever afraid of fire.
In a metaphorical sense, the danger isn’t the fire itself, but it’s thinking that fire should always be avoided at all costs. When we think like Jesus does, the burn from betrayal doesn’t cause us to withdraw and never trust people again, but it causes us to become wiser WHEN we trust again. Betrayal is a terrible thing, but I believe that regressing to a mindset that tries to protect us from the people Jesus died for is a much bigger problem.
No matter how terrible the betrayal is, it’s important that we do the opposite of what our feelings are telling us to do following that experience. While we may feel like withdrawing from people, what we really need to do is take even greater risks when it comes to trusting the people God has put in our lives. The second time around we’ll be a little wiser, but it’s still a risk.
Wisdom doesn’t derive from self-protection, but it flourishes when we take risks to trust again even when our experiences tell us otherwise. True wisdom doesn’t cause us to withdraw when something bad happens, but it causes us to take an even greater step of faith forward, even when our feelings don’t agree.
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