BetrayalWhen you have been betrayed, how do you get rid of the pain? When you’ve been the betrayer, how do you get over the guilt? Carol has “been there and done that”!
The music began; everyone stood and sang. Shortly after, I was introduced as the conference speaker. I walked up to the tiny podium and placed my Bible there. My message that night was the story of my life. I had been brought up in a dysfunctional family filled with alcoholism, infidelity and violence.
As a young girl, I had been sexually abused by a family acquaintance. My father was mentally ill, and we lived in fear of his behaviour. I shared about my early pregnancies and the abortions that I had out of the fear of having a child. How I lived in guilt and shame for terminating these precious lives! I spoke of my journey into a life of drugs, drunkenness and witchcraft. I became mentally ill and attempted suicide.
After years of physical and mental abuse, my body gave out to a terminal liver disease and peptic bleeding ulcers. They said I would be dead in a few short years. “I didn’t care if I lived or died,” I told the crowd that night. “I was dead already, as far as I was concerned. To have died at that time would have been a welcomed release!”
As I was speaking, I watched the faces of the women, each one captivated by the events in my life. I saw tears in their eyes as I explained how I had searched for love in all the wrong places and how years of rejection had left scars. I shared about the guilt, shame, and hate that grew in my heart for others, as well as myself.
When I had finished telling about my broken life, I explained about the night that a young woman named Linda invited me to church. “I certainly wasn’t interested in going to church,” I said laughing, “but Linda was such a loving person that I found myself drawn to her.” I then proceeded to tell them how I had walked into the church addicted to heroin and cocaine, dying of liver disease and suffering from mental and emotional problems. My life was such a mess, I had tried to kill myself more than once, and I was full of hurt and bitterness. But I left the church that night a different person. I finally found love which I had never experienced before.
I continued to explain how that love went deep into my damaged heart and began a healing that would eventually change my life. I was on the road to recovery and, in a few short months, I was radically different – all because of the power of God. It was nothing less than miraculous! Gone was the desire for drugs, I was healed of hepatitis B that I had contracted from shooting up with dirty needles, and the peptic ulcers were healed as well.
I once heard a man say, “There is no high like the Most High!” That is so very true. My mind was restored as I began to read and meditate on the Word of God. I was changed from the inside out. The spirits that had entered me during the years of my involvement in witchcraft were no longer welcome in my life. As I was filled with God’s Holy Spirit, those unclean spirits had to leave. I was set free in a way that I cannot express in words.
There are many people who can relate to my testimony. They are in terrible pain brought on by the betrayal of others. There are also those bogged down by the guilt, shame and remorse of their own act of betrayal. Many have never been able to forgive the one who betrayed them or forgive themselves for hurting someone they cared for. Instead, they live in unforgiveness and hate, unwilling to discuss the act of betrayal that caused so much pain. Some suffer for years as their hearts grow cold and hard. Others have their spiritual growth daunted by the pain of this trauma. There’s a saying that goes, “Been there, done that!” Well, folks, that’s me. I have been betrayed, and I have been the betrayer.
As I reflect back on my life, I certainly would have done things a lot differently. Unfortunately, I cannot go back, but I can say from the bottom of my heart that I have learned from my mistakes. How does one get on with their life and live with the fact that they have hurt innocent people? Or how can one who has been hurt truly get over it?
God is so full of grace; a grace that has brought salvation to the whole world. What’s also wonderful is that if we make mistakes, the Lord forgives us even when men and women won’t. The Apostle Paul knew this secret. I often wondered how a man who had persecuted the church and put innocent people into prison for worshipping the Lord he now served could say he had a clear conscience. It’s clear that Paul was truly sorry, for he expressed that in his letters to the Church. But I often wondered, how does he live with himself? How does he deal with the regret and sorrow of having caused so much suffering?
Paul shared his secret with the Church at Philippi, saying, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). This must be our determination. With our will yielded and our position secure in Christ, we can overcome any type of betrayal. Our Lord’s healing balm is readily available. So, my dear friend, be set free!
Carol Kornacki is the founder and president of Carol Kornacki Ministries, an organization birthed from her riveting testimony. She is the author of Betrayal - The Deepest Cut.
Originally published in Betrayal – The Deepest Cut. Copyright © 2007 Carol Kornacki. Published by Creation House. All rights reserved. Reprinted in the Crossroad's Compass, April 2009.
Used with permission. Copyright © 2009 Christianity.ca.