Betrayal. Infidelity. Dishonesty.
We call this being “stabbed in the back.” As far as clichés go, it provides an accurate picture. Betrayal feels like a knife in the back and just like being stabbed, it affects so much more than the heart. The whole person is drowned in a flood of shock, pain, and confusion.
The Scripture puts perfect language to this.
My heart is in anguish within me;
Fear and trembling come upon me,
Betrayal is not just a heart pain, but a horror which “overwhelms.” There is something about this sort of pain different from the suffering caused by strangers. In fact, Psalm 55 continues and articulates this same reality,
“For it is not an enemy who taunts me—
But it is you, a man, my equal,
We used to take sweet counsel together;
David, the human author of this Psalm, had experienced betrayal by his son Absolam and his counselor Ahithophel (you can read more about this in 2 Samuel 15-18). God chose for David’s experience to be written down for us (see 1 Corinthians 10:6). We are meant to gain something from this. But, when we get to David’s crescendo, we are left wanting more:
Cast your burden on the Lord,
– Psalm 55:22
As I read that, I hope I’m not the only one who thinks, “Really God? You’re going to conclude this Psalm with a cliché like that! Yes, I hadn’t thought of that option yet!” If we were honest, we’d recognize that these sorts of verses often put a bad taste in our mouth (which is something we may need to bring before the Lord in repentance, but that is a point for another blog). These sorts of verses are expected to give us instant comfort (and often don’t). It often seems the one trying to encourage us is trying to pacify us.
“Cast your burdens on the Lord.” I’m left asking, “What does that mean?” I mean, I know what the words mean, and even the picture it paints. But, how exactly do I do that? Fortunately, God offers us the whole Psalm to help guide us.
What does it look like to “cast my burdens” on the Lord? How do I place my betrayal in His hands? How do I give Jesus the knife that was left in my back?
Psalm 55 offers 3 considerations.
First, giving the knife to Jesus means recognizing you’re bleeding. This may seem unusual, but I know I am tempted to put on the “fake it till I make it” face, especially around people who can see right through it. I am not suggesting you air all your dirty laundry for the world to see (please, don’t put it on Facebook!). It does mean that you should pursue confession. Don’t pretend that the pain isn’t there. Stop pretending. Miranda Lambert sings the song “Tin Man.” She sings,
"Hey there, Mr. Tin Man
You don't know how lucky you are
You shouldn't spend your whole life wishin'
For something bound to fall apart
Every time you're feeling empty
Better thank your lucky stars
If you ever felt one breaking
You'd never want a heart"
I fear many us try to live like a Tin Man. No heart, no emotions. That is not how God made us!
“Attend to me, and answer me;
”- Psalm 55:2
Honesty is the beginning of healing. Don’t worry, God loves embracing messy people. In fact, messy people are the only kind of people God loves- because messy people is all there is! Casting your burden begins with confessing your burden.
Second, giving the knife to Jesus means letting Him be the Judge. I said this in the last point and I’ll say it again- broadcasting your betrayal on Facebook will heal the wound. Declaring to the world, “I have a knife in my back!” does not take the knife out. Throughout Psalm 55, we see David letting God be God.
Paul picks up this idea in the book of Romans when he writes, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God” (12:19). Many people find the idea of God punishing evil abhorrent until something evil happens to them. God has a day when He will set the record straight. God will vindicate those who have been mistreated. We do not need revenge, let Him do His job! Casting our burdens on the Lord means letting God be God.