Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I have been struggling with some relational issues recently and a number of questions have been circulating around in my head. They stir and they spin. They dance and they twirl. However, I cannot put them to rest because the answers that I come up with seem ephemeral. The moment that I begin to think that I have settled an issue in my mind, the answer coyly flutters away, the question unsettled. Peace remaining just beyond my grasp.

A: If someone you loved betrayed you, would you want to know?

B: If you did know of the betrayal, would you want to know the gory details in graphic fashion?

The questions appear similar, yet I think they are fully distinct and separate. I am not sure that either has a cut-and-dried answer.

Suppose your spouse cheated on you. They let their guard down in a time of extreme stress or weakness and gave themselves for a night to another. If they told you, it might wreak extreme trauma and emotionally destroy you. It could lead to the end of the marriage, and if there are children involved, what of their future? Your spouse might deeply regret their decision and take immediate steps that would not allow for such a mistake in the future. In such a situation, would you really want to know? If you did know of the situation, would anything good come from knowing exactly what they did together in all its vivid detail? Like a burgundy wine stain on a white carpet, those images would be ever-present and might be inescapable.

Suppose your child broke your trust. Despite all that you have tried to instill in them, all the values that you had hoped were imprinted in their fabric, they systematically wove a web a lies that stretched out thickly in all directions. If their acts came to light, would you really want to know all that they did? Every jot, every tittle? If their safety or their future were at stake, I assume that all parents would strive to get to the bottom of the truth, but would knowing the details actually serve to bring about healing?

I think the main thread in these sorts of questions involves the nature of all expressions of regret, remorse, or sorrow. Are apologies given solely because they are expected? Are they uttered only because sin has been unearthed? Apologies are never meaningful in the moments after they are uttered. It is only after seasons pass and behaviors are affected or left unchanged will we know if they were jasper or if they were wind.

The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.