Ever been deeply hurt? Ever find it kinda it hard to trust? Ever felt — well… kinda betrayed? I get it. And I wrote these words for you…  I wrote these words as the foreword to a brand new book, Beyond Betrayal:Overcome Past Hurts and Begin to Trust Again by Phil Waldrep . These words from the very depths of my heart, from this book, are for you, for all of us who have ever been hurt:

written by Ann Voskamp

You have to know how I mean it:

I am sorry.

I am sorry for the pain that’s been burning a searing hole out the side of your heart, that’s scorched your days and profaned your moments with the lingering stench of betrayal.

Please know: I am sorry your trust wasn’t prized — and a hard won bit of you was painfully lost.

I am sorry for what now is….  that should never have been.

You didn’t sign up for this.

You didn’t sign up to have your trust torched, your kindness kindled into flame, your security to go up in smoke.

You didn’t sign up to be duped and deluded, used and abused, and you didn’t for one moment expect anyone to play Judas and play false with the story of your life.

They got what they wanted, and you got shafted in ways you never planned. They got the upper hand and you got taken advantage of. They got what wasn’t theirs, and you got what you never wanted.

Sometimes? The gravest wrong isn’t how they betrayed you — but how you ever trusted them.

Sometimes? Betrayal feels like holding hands with what twisted into a trap that chewed up and spit out part of your heart.

Sometimes? An enemy’s frontal assault hurts less than the backstabbing of a friend.

And now, you’re desperate for a sign that points the way out of this mess.

This moment is a sign from God for you, a roadmap, out of where you never expected to be.

You get to choose to trust others again, you get to choose to forgive, you get to choose the bravest story.

You get to rise courageously because:

Forgiveness only happens where a death has happened.

Forgiveness only happens where hope has died, expectations have died, plans have died, reputation has died, fairness has died, dreams have died.

You get to be brave in the face of betrayal and choose: If you don’t die to something, so you can forgive someone — it’s your own quality of life and very soul that begins to die.

There is never any forgiveness without someone getting to pay for it. 

That is always the choice you make every day when you look in the mirror: Either I can happen to pay for the wrong  or I can try to make the betrayer pay for it.

There is always the choice: I can pay the price — and die to my anger.

I can pay the price — and die to my revenge.

I can pay the price — and die to my desire to get even and give even the betrayer the grace even I have been given.

Because the thing is:

Every time you try to make someone pay, they are the ones who get to be in charge of your life.

When you try to make someone pay, they dominate your thoughts, they take control of your energy, they seize your heart and mind and time.

When you hold your forgiveness ransom until someone pays you back and earns your love — you’re the one whose quality of life gets poorer and poorer.

Time is non-refundable and every betrayal has already stolen so much from you — you can’t betray your own soul by spending another moment on animosity.

The betrayal wounded you once. Bitterness doesn’t get to now multiply the wounds.

You know it: Wishing another ill will — only makes you ill.

You believe it:  Everyone has been betrayed.

But betrayal doesn’t get  to destroy your trust in everyone. Just because every betrayal begins with trust, doesn’t mean every betrayal has to end with cynicism.

You choose it: Wisdom is different than cynicism.

Whatever that betrayal took from you — it doesn’t get to take every relationship from you.

You get to turn the rare gift of these vulnerable pages that hold life-giving healing and radical freedom, and you get to turn to the face in the mirror and ask:

“How can I not pass on the cup of grace that I have drunk so deeply from?

How can I refuse anyone the mercy that I have needed to stay alive?

How can I weigh what anyone has done against me as heavier and what Jesus has done for me as far lighter?”

To live forgiven — live forgiving. 

Remember what Jesus has done for you and you will remember how to forgive.

Forgiveness is only hard when we only remember what has been done against us and when we forget what Jesus has done for us.

You can’t know how sorry I am for the pain you’ve experienced.  And you have to know how the lifeline of these pages  will meet you in that pain and show you how to experience the freedom you were always meant for.

Even now: Trust… that you can trust again.


Phil Waldrep is the founder and CEO of Phil Waldrep Ministries, host of Women of Joy, Gridiron Men’s, and Celebrators conferences—building up leaders and equipping nearly 60,000 annual attendees in the knowledge and love of Christ.
We all know what it’s like to be lied to, cheated, tricked, or swindled.

Phil had no idea of the steep journey that lay ahead of him when two men walked into his office and revealed an unfolding story of a friend turned colleague who was living what amounted to a second life.  For years following, Phil sought to heal the wounds of this broken relationship and confront the pain he felt in the aftermath of this betrayal. Along the way, he discovered God’s solutions to overcoming resentment.

In Beyond Betrayal:Overcome Past Hurts and Begin to Trust Again, you’ll learn about the biblical principles and practical tools that can help you identify betrayers in your life and name the pain you feel, rediscover God as the healer of your wounds, avoid bitterness and express your anger in healthy ways, learn to remain open to trusting others again as you build new relationships, and choose forgiveness and develop strategies to prevent future betrayal

Whether you’ve been hurt by a family member, friend, colleague, or trusted leader, you are not alone. Even Jesus was betrayed. You don’t have to let past hurts limit your future relationships—you can move beyond betrayal.