Few people reach adulthood without experiencing betrayal at the hands of someone they love—someone who they believed loved them in return. The pain is agonizing, and the grief is deep, prolonged, and sometimes life-changing. Betrayers come in all shapes and sizes, in the form of husbands, lovers, sisters, brothers, friends and neighbors. Nobody is immune — not the wife of a president, not a rich and famous movie star, not the mates of idolized sports figures, and certainly not the rest of us. So, the question is less about how we can avoid being betrayed (because we probably cannot), and more about how we respond to that betrayal.
Some support, and even advocate curing your grief and sorrow by exacting a brutal revenge. You’ve all heard the bitter witticisms: “Don’t get mad, get even,” or “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” or “An eye for an eye.” In its most destructive form, revenge has a way of annihilating both the betrayer and the avenger, as it eats away at all positive thoughts and feelings. You simply cannot seethe and plot and punish without tainting the fabric of your own character. The choice that is left to you, then, is whether to choose the path of vengeance or karma, or to choose the path of grace.
There are those who believe that most people are living out their lives through karmic cycles, based on a belief in cause and effect. According to this belief, your past experiences, and the choices you make based on those experiences, affect your future. If you make good choices in your life, and affect people in positive ways, then you will have good karma. On the other hand, if you make poor choices, which affect people in negative ways, then you will be plagued by bad karma. Followers of the karmic pattern react in predictable ways. In negative circumstances, they become victims of the situation, merely reacting to the betrayal and lashing out. Essentially, they give up any real control of the situation, engaging in an automatic response of retaliation and revenge.
The Graceful Journey
Fortunately, there is another way to live your life — the way of grace. Through grace, you will be able to forgive others, even your betrayers. Instead of holding onto negative feelings and attacking others in an attempt to exact vengeance, you choose to rise above your baser emotions, and simply let go. Realizing the finite amount of time each of us has on this planet, grace allows us to value our own time here, and choose the gentle, quieting, healing way of forgiveness instead of squandering our life-force on rage and revenge. It was Confucius who said, “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”
If you are a wise human, you will choose grace, thus taking control of your karma, neutralizing the negative energy and transforming it into a life-affirming event. When you embrace the beauty and grace available to you in your own life, you will have no need of revenge.