In the 55th Psalm, King David grieves over having been betrayed and persecuted by someone close to him (perhaps Absalom or Ahithophel). The psalm alternates between asking God to deal with the adversary, and David proclaiming his trust in God despite the circumstances.
You know, it’s one thing to be mistreated by our obvious enemies… it’s quite another when it is someone close to us. When our known (or expected) enemies persecute us, it’s like taking punches in the face, or blows to the body. We feel beat up, but it feels external in a way.
When a friend, family member or someone close turns against you, that can feel like someone stabbing you straight in the heart. Or the back. Getting “stabbed in the back” is one of those oh-so-pleasurable experiences in life that never comes at the right time. But if you have a heartbeat, most likely you have experienced it. If you haven’t, don’t worry, you probably will.
No matter how deep the hurt, the answer is always the same: trust God.
The emotions that David experienced are still the same for us today. His answer to them should be our answer as well (summarized: trust God). Maybe you have experienced the agonizing emotions of betrayal from a friend. You may have deep emotional injuries and haven’t found the words to express it. Maybe you are going through the pain of “friendly fire” right now. If you’ve ever experienced the pain of being hurt by someone close, you will relate to David’s words. Let’s take a look…
In the first 8 verses David pours out words of pain. Many of the expressions might be considered “melodramatic” today, but in the privacy and loneliness of suffering, his words reveal the universal agony of suffering treachery at the hands of someone close (“friendly fire”). He starts out imploring God to hear his prayer, to stop and listen. He tells how he is unable to rest and moans noisily because of the oppression and betrayal he is suffering.
In verses 4-8 David leaves no room for guessing how he felt. In modern language, it might go something like this:
- My heart is broken, torn in two. I feel like I’m going to die. I am deathly afraid.
- I am shaking with fear. I am shocked and horrified at what is happening.
- I wish I could fly away from here. I would fly far, far away where this trouble couldn’t reach me.
- If I could, I would just start walking and wander as far away from here as possible. I would do anything to get away from all this.
- I would leave right now if I could.
David goes on to ask the Lord to deal harshly with his wicked adversary (v. 9-11). Then we find out the source of his intense pain. David had been betrayed by a friend and expresses something like this (v.12-14):
“This would be a lot easier if it was an enemy who was persecuting me; or if it was someone who hates me or wants to see me ruined. But it’s not! A friend has betrayed me! Someone I have spent time with, had long talks with… we even went to church together!”
Now wait a minute… we’re Christians. We would never hurt each other, right? Do we play on the same team every Sunday but then turn the guns on each other during the week? Unfortunately, yes; and all too often. It has been said that Christians are one of the few species that eat their own. What does that mean?
It means that instead of protecting each other and being loyal to our spiritual family, we all too often attack and mistreat each other. As Christians, we already have enough enemies and plenty of people who hate us including a whole world out there that would just as soon see us disappear. There are legions of “others” wanting to hurt us; we shouldn’t be hurting each other.
It’s one thing to suffer at the hands of someone that you know hates you. It’s still another to feel the sting of betrayal from a family member or friend. And it’s quite another for a fellow Christian to become your tormentor.
To suffer at the hands of someone you sit next to every week
and worship God… now that’s just extra special, ain’t it?
Has someone close to you hurt you? Maybe a co-worker or family member; maybe a good friend or worst yet, one of your fellow Christians. No matter which, the answer is the same…
- v.16 – call upon the Lord, He will save you.
- v.17 – morning, noon and night cry out to God in prayer.
- v.18 – God will give you peace in the midst of the pain no matter how many are against you.
- v.19 – God take care of you no matter how persitent your tormentor is.
- v.22 – Cast your cares on God, He will see you through; God will never permit the righteous to be destroyed.
- v.23 – Trust that God will deal with the wicked in His own timing and own way.
When you suffer “friendly fire”, God can comfort you and give you peace in the midst of the storm. Oh, it will still hurt, no doubt; but God has promised to care for us, sustain us and deal with those who are wicked. What father doesn’t care for his children when they are being hurt? How much more then will the Perfect Heavenly Father care for His own?
We may not understand His methods or timing, but we can rest in the fact that they are absolutely perfect and complete. Whatever God does, whatever timing He chooses, whatever the result is… as Christians we get the benefit and joy of knowing that everything is working according to God’s plan (Rom 8.28).
Maybe you are hurting today from friendly fire. Maybe it happened a long time ago and you have buried the pain and resentment. Either way, call on the Lord. He will save you, rescue you, give you peace, take care of you and sustain you. Cast your pain on Him and He will heal you.
Let me close with this…. are you the one doing the hurting? Maybe you think the other person deserves it. Maybe you are right. It doesn’t matter. Put yourself in their place; what would you want from them? Mercy? Patience? Forgiveness? Or would you prefer the persecution you are inflicting on them because “they deserve it”?
Read Psalm 55:4-8… these are the emotions that your victim is probably feeling. Do you feel good about that? Maybe you should leave the revenge and chatising to God. What good would occur today if you went to the person you have been hurting and asked for forgiveness and began ministering comfort and peace to them? Hmmm…….
Lord, Help us love those who hurt us, even when it is a close friend or fellow Christian. Thank You that You are faithful to hear us, comfort us and give us peace when life hurts. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Are you suffering at the hands of a friend, family member or fellow Christian? How are you responding? Are you responding the way David did (a “man after God’s own heart”)? Are you allowing the pain and despair to consume you or are you casting your hurts on God?
Application: Suffering at the hands of friends, maybe someone we onced loved or a fellow Christian, can be one of the most painful experiences in life. When a known enemy comes at you, that’s a fight that is just part of living in sin-cursed world. But when someone close to you hurts you, it’s like somebody reaching inside your chest and ripping your heart out. Only God can comfort and heal during those times. Thank God that you know the Great Physician and pity those who do not.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?