Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'”
~Mark 14:27 ESV
Have you ever been in a difficult or dark time when you felt all alone? Did it feel as though everyone you knew had forsaken you? Maybe it was a crisis in your family or marriage, and your friends didn’t know how to handle it. A difference in beliefs or convictions can drive a wedge and leave us feeling heartbroken and isolated.
Years ago, my husband and I shared a friendship with four couples. We attended the same church, dined at each other’s homes, worshipped and studied God’s Word, and shared life together. I loved these friends as though they were my own flesh and blood.
One day as my husband and I prayed about the new Bible study I was preparing to teach, the Lord warned my husband the Bible study would come under attack. Consequentially, we asked our team to pray for us as leaders.
Halfway into the Bible study, a division within our ensemble of friends developed. The split was not because of the Bible study, but it resulted from one couple walking away from the church and their faith in God. No one knew what to do, so they ignored it. As a result, it divided us. Because I wanted to fix it, I reached out to my pastor for advice. My friends viewed that as disloyalty—to them, I was a snitch.
Our once close friends now treated my husband and me as if we no longer existed. It was horrible. Not only had our group lost a great friend, but our brothers and sisters ostracized us for seeking help outside the group and left the class. I was miserable, but I continued teaching the study. My family sat alone during Sunday services while the remaining three couples of our once tight-knit group filled a separate row.
God did not leave me; He moved in closer. I experienced a more intimate relationship with Him than I had never known. God healed my hurt and my wounds when I chose to forgive my friends. We no longer see each other, but I hold nothing against them and have told them this. Because I have chosen to walk in forgiveness, I am free.In difficult times, God did not leave me; He moved in closer. @DPavlantos Click To Tweet
Jesus experienced dark days near the end of his life. The men with whom he had spent three years of his life abandoned him when trouble arrived. Heavily armed guards sent by the chief priest and scribes arrested Jesus after He prayed all night, preparing for the upcoming universal battle between life and death. His disciples saw Him walk on water, feed thousands of men, women, and children, heal the sick and give sight to the blind; they even saw Him raise the dead. Yet, they deserted Him.
Jesus forgave His disciples, restored them, and used them mightily in the days that followed. He never left them nor forsook them because His love for them was unconditional. He modeled forgiveness, and because of His example, we can choose to do the same.
We all are sinners in need of a Savoir. God teaches us in His Word that if we forgive those who have wronged us, Father God will forgive us. If we do not forgive others, He will not forgive us of our sin. Matthew 6:14 ESV reads, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” When we consider the debt God forgave, we see the necessity for us to extend the same forgiveness to our friends. Choosing forgiveness brings freedom. Jesus came to mend the brokenhearted. Our Lord Jesus is here for us, for He “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 ESV). God knows our pain and wants to heal our broken hearts.
Will you forgive those who have left or betrayed you?
Heavenly Father, Thank You that You never leave me or forsake me. You are my Father, Deliverer, Savior, and Friend. I am Your daughter. You love me and I love you. You have given me everything I need and continue to bless me with your grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Help me to be more like You. Help me to forgive those who have hurt or betrayed me. Help me to be a friend to the friendless as You are. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
Copyright 2020: Betrayed, but Not Alone: Author Stephanie Pavlantos: All Rights Reserved.
Meet Our Contributor
STEPHANIE D PAVLANTOS
STEPHANIE D PAVLANTOS
Stephanie Pavlantos is an award-winning writer who is passionate about getting people into God’s Word. She has taught Bible studies for over fifteen years, speaking at ladies’ retreats, at her church, and over the internet.
Stephanie is an ordained minister, holding credentials with Messenger Fellowship in Nashville, TN. Stephanie works for the Besorah Institute for Judeo-Christian Studies in the Student Services department, as well as teaching their online classes.
She serves as Social Media Manager for VineWords Devotions and More.
She is published in Refresh Bible study magazine, Charisma magazine, and Christian Broadcasting Network. She is a contributor for Faith Beyond Fear, and VineWords.
Stephanie is a contributing author for Feed Your Soul with the Word of God (Lighthouse Bible Studies), and Love Knots: Stories of Faith, Family, and Friendships (VineWords Publishing).
Her book, Jewels of Hebrews, won third place at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, and an Honorable Mention at the Florida Christian Writers Conference.
Married for twenty-seven years, she and Mike have three children: Matthew, Alexandria, and Michael. Stephanie loves animals of all kinds and has adopted into her family an assortment of dogs, ducks, goats, and chickens.
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