There is an expression from my childhood, common to many in India, what simply asks “what to do?” The question usually comes at the end of a sentence. It has little direction connection with the question itself; rather it is a statement of frustration, futility, and harsh reality. Life throws wicked questions at anyone lucky enough to try to walk its’ paths. Conundrums confront the brilliant and the weak. Nightmares reside in the dreams of old and young. At the reality of the blues set in there is a natural question that remains unanswered; what to do?
I find the question particularly difficult when it comes with someone who is in theory on your side. How can the person you have defended, gone out on a limb for, and mentored betray you? During the past few months the creeping realization of just how far the betrayal had gone began to become clear. Yesterday the reality of it all was fully and completely out on the table. The only step left is to confront the individual involved with the evidence. The question of my childhood remains. I know he is a cheat, liar, and one who destroys, but what to do?
As I confront life’s reality there is an interesting model I find myself reflecting on. In the final days of Jesus life he “became visibly upset, and then he told them why. ‘One of you is going to betray me.’” (John 13.21) The actions that followed next is a model that you and I can use today.
First, don’t ignore the betrayal. In gentleness, kindness, and with resolve, confront it in the simplest way possible. This includes clear facts, controlled emotion, and balance.
Second, apply compassion to the wound. Mercy and unconditional acceptance are at the heart of this move. The action is more about doing the right thing instead of getting any particular result.
Third, generously give freedom. Let the individual have a choice. Wrap this choice is extraordinary compassion filled with acceptance and love.
Love long, deep, and fully. Let freedom come.
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