acceptance, Applejack, backstabbing, betrayal, Bible, Christian Life, Christianity, devotional, faith, fandom, Fluttershy, Gladmane, God, inspirational, Jesus, motivational, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, New Testament, Old Testament, secrets, trust, Viva Las Pegasus
Inspiration for Today’s Devotional: “Viva Las Pegasus”
Most of this episode centers around the owner of a resort in Las Pegasus named Gladmane who has some of the most talented performers in Equestria working under him, although each one is talented enough to move onto bigger and better things if they want. On the surface, it seems that they stay purely out of loyalty, as Gladmane prides himself on being everyone’s “friend” and keeping them happy. Yet it turns out as the episode progresses that all is a farce. In truth, he keeps the performers poisoned against each other and constantly fighting so that they won’t ever pair up long enough to leave him for better deals or greater success. Yet because he acts so friendly and concerned all the time, no one ever suspects anything. They assume he has their best interest at heart the entire time, when in reality he was taking their trust and faith in him and violating it.
One of the greatest sins that can be committed, not only in terms of damage it does externally but also internally, emotionally, and spiritually, is betrayal. Taking someone’s complete trust and then purposely and willfully violating it completely. It’s such a terrible crime that when Dante wrote the “Inferno” he made it the worst possible sin in Hell…one Satan himself is guilty of. And as anyone who has ever suffered betrayal in one form or another knows, what it leaves behind is terrible. A more recent example in history is the people who sunk their life savings into Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme and will now never see a fraction of that money back, nor will any amount of time he spends in prison undo it. Debatably, such a crime does far worse damage than theft, burglary, or property damage, even though those crimes usually carry stiffer penalties.
Betrayal is a crime against trust. We all know that we take a chance when we trust people with anything. Some risks are small and some are high, and how much we trust someone with is a measure of faith we put into other people. How badly that trust is violated hurts our faith in others that much worse. It’s likely that those victims of Madoff will never trust anyone with a single dollar of theirs again, even if a different investor has a good chance of recuperating at least some of their losses. Nor are they likely to trust anyone else asking for money, such as a charitable organization that fulfills a genuine need or a church asking for a tithe. In that sense, the wound of betrayal continues to linger on and impacts others downstream.
While many of us may be lucky enough to have not been a victim of a loss of retirement or savings, chances are all of us have had to deal with betrayal before. Some of us have been have had it come from someone we genuinely trusted and perhaps even loved. And it’s likely to have impacted how we regard others in the future and how we treat them. The emotional wound that it leaves behind is terrible, because it doesn’t easily heal. Having exposed ourselves to the chance of being hurt so badly before, it is unlikely after feeling that pain that we’ll ever want to expose ourselves again. It can lead us to locking other people out, keeping them at arm’s length, or simply shunning the company of others. It can also lead to warping our perspective of humanity rather badly.
But the worst impact of all is how it effects us in our relationship with God.
A good part of Christianity is based on faith and trust in God. It’s the ultimate foundation for our faith, right back in the Old Testament with the patriarch Abraham, (“Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Genesis 15:6) and stemming all the way to the Apostle Paul (“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9). In between, from Moses to Joshua to Samuel to Daniel to Solomon to Mary to Jesus Himself and with everyone else who came before and after them, it was all about acts of faith and trust in God. But if we’ve been betrayed in the past, we’re likely not to have much trust in others; including God. And if we’ve been betrayed by a different religion or even a “Christian” Church, then that much more less so because that’s what we associated God with.
On a personal note, I know someone who’s suffered most of their life with feelings of distrust toward others. They feared that they can never expose the truth about themselves and certain things they’ve done because no one would ever look at them the same way. Yet this dishonesty, both with themselves and others, did nothing to help anything. By thinking they couldn’t expose it to others, they ended up thinking that a part of them was evil and unlovable…both to others and to God. And that came out in a brutal way when they finally did confess, and it almost ended up disastrously. And that’s bad any way you look at it.
As Christians, it’s not only important to recognize God is love (1 John 4:8), but to also accept it. If we fail to do so, if we see God as only a judge and someone “out to get us”, we’ll never fully trust God to forgive us of our sins; much less be with us in difficulty or in whatever he calls us to do. And if we don’t trust God to be with us to lead us and guide us in times of trouble, and we don’t trust that God loves us, then we won’t act from that perspective and do anything for the Kingdom of God, because we feel we’ll be “on our own” everywhere we go.
While it’s important to be careful about whom we choose to trust, we can’t go through life never trusting anyone. As I mentioned in earlier devotionals, humans are social creatures. We need relationships to live: both with God and with others. Anything less is failing to live as a human and sentencing us to a miserable life. But if our trust is violated, or we never had much trust in others to begin with, how do we learn to trust other people?
That’s not an easy answer, especially to someone who has had their trust violated. It might require psychiatric help or counselling, or facing up to a lot of painful things. I have no universal answer because all people are unique. Yet from my perspective, the biggest thing I can encourage is we need to take a chance to at least look for someone to trust. When one is emotionally wounded, the only way to ever be cured is to risk getting hurt again, unfortunately. We have to find someone we are willing to take a chance on trusting. (That’s also why I suggest a professional, because they, at least, are required by law to keep your secrets or they can’t practice.) Once we’ve experienced that we can trust someone with who we are, and all of what we are, we can accept that others, including God, will do the same.
As uneasy, uncomfortable, and fearful as this might be, I strongly urge anyone wrestling with this trust issue to do so. Don’t be like the person I knew and spend years of your life needlessly living in fear of what will happen if people know the “real you”. Remember, God already knows the real you and accepts you completely (Jeremiah 1:5).
Suggested Prayer: “Lord God, thank you that you have promised to never leave me or forsake me, and that this saying is trustworthy even in the darkest of times. If I am having trouble accepting this, or having trouble placing my trust in others, especially if I am still hurting from an earlier betrayal, please help me to open my heart to others once again and to seek the help I need to open up once again. In doing so, I will be better able to minister to others and fulfill the Kingdom of God. Gratefully in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”