I have often said, ‘I forgive you,’ but even as I said these words my heart remained angry or resentful. I still wanted to hear the story that tells me that I was right after all; I still wanted to hear apologies and excuses; I still wanted the satisfaction of receiving some praise in return—if only the praise for being so forgiving!

But God’s forgiveness is unconditional; it comes from a heart that does not demand anything for itself, a heart that is completely empty of self-seeking. It is this divine forgiveness that I have to practice in my daily life. It calls me to keep stepping over all my arguments that say forgiveness is unwise, unhealthy, and impractical. It challenges me to step over all my needs for gratitude and compliments. Finally, it demands of me that I step over that wounded part of my heart that feels hurt and wronged and that wants to stay in control and put a few conditions between me and the one whom I am asked to forgive.  ~Henri Nouwen, ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’, page 129-130

It can be compared to slow and repeated torture.  You’ve told all of your darkest secrets.  Shared all of your craziest dreams.  Battled the enemy hand in hand together.  And then it happens, you’ve been loyal as a Labrador Retriever  and the next thing you know the malicious lies get back to you. 

When a close and trusted friend betrays you, it’s as if a sword goes straight through your soul—over and over and over again.   

The eccentric Oscar Wilde once quipped, A true friend stabs you in the front.  No need for explaining, if you have had a genuine friend (by no means perfect), and also a phony friend, you know the difference.  Here’s a hint: Phony friends always will  find some excuse to finally give up one you.  It should be known that their so-called “love” for you was ever designed and practiced for serving their own ends.  Once these snakes are done using you they discard you like a bag of useless trash.

King David understood the sting of betrayal and the thirst for revenge.   

9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
   who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
10 But you, O LORD, be gracious to me,
   and raise me up, that I may repay them!  (Psalm 41:9-10, ESV)

Returning the favor is an option after all. 

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