There is nothing more personally hurtful or challenging in life than betrayal. The reason? The only people who can possibly betray you are those closest to you. Yes that’s right— those you’ve loved, trusted, poured into, and affirmed. You’ve sacrificed for them, tolerated them, and even took personal harm to shield and protect them. Most often, they’ve had access to you that only the closest to you have.

Simply put, betrayal is only possible from those you’ve loved and trusted enough to make you personally vulnerable! Obviously, the people we trust at that level will always see us and know us in a way most never will. They have access to information we would never make public or post on Facebook or Twitter.

Because they’ve known our human weaknesses and imperfections, they choose to use them against us when they finally give in to their deception, which is most often the root cause of betrayal. They’re deceived into thinking that somehow we’ve become their enemy instead of the one who, next to God, is the only reason they’ve been validated at all.

Remember, there is just enough truth in deception to make it believable. It’s so important to understand how the enemy works when going through a season of betrayal. Never forget, it is a season, even though the pain will often last years—if not a lifetime— when not dealt with properly.

Satan never attacks strength. He’s smarter than that. He preys on four basic groups: the ignorant (lacks understanding); the wounded (physically, spiritually, or emotionally); the weak (physically, spiritually, or emotionally); the offended (physically, spiritually, or emotionally).

Those of us who have tasted the bitterness of betrayal usually find ourselves most vulnerable when dealing with one or more of the four. In an effort to protect ourselves, we become tempted to be reactionary to an extreme instead of an activist. Reactionary people tend to take extreme measures to ensure they will never be betrayed again. Many times to a fault.

In those extreme measures we build invisible walls around us, determined to never allow ourselves to ever trust anyone again. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20. As painful as it is, some of the greatest life lessons are only learned in the crucible of betrayal. Regardless of what we could have or should have done differently, there is usually no guarantee anything would be different.

The greatest spiritual leaders recorded throughout Scripture all dealt with bitter betrayals during their life and ministry. As much as I wish it wasn’t true, it seems to be synonymous with the high and holy calling to Apostolic ministry.

Is there one example in Scripture where God’s chosen and anointed escaped betrayal? Jesus, our model and example, was betrayed. Who among us can compare to Him? When Jesus prophesied during His last supper with the twelve that one of them would betray Him, every one (not just Judas) asked if it was them. Regardless of how we think about it, God used the act of betrayal in His divine plan to enable salvation to become reality for all humanity.

As bitter as betrayal may be, if somehow by God’s grace our attitude can be like Jesus who chose to act in forgiveness instead of reacting with vengeance, there will be an amazing resurrection of power, anointing, and spiritual authority released on the other side of it.

It will also cause a spiritual awakening to the spirit world. Passivity and a false sense of success will be replaced with a sincere revival of personal prayer and seeking after God. Then and only then will some things be spiritually discerned and understood.

Most importantly, as we make our way back to our prayer closet where our ministry was birthed in its infancy, an attitude of true humility opens the floodgate of fresh revelation, which is needed for the next phase of the journey. A renewed and even expanded vision and focus of God’s purpose will produce the spiritual boldness necessary to lead where we’ve never led before!

F.J. ellis is the founder/president of Purpose institute and contributor to the Ohio Apostolic News.