Recently, I put out a double-sonnet entitled “On Friendship” which seemed to cause a number of interesting reactions. In this little article, I want to address those reactions. But first, as it’s only brief, let me present that double-sonnet to you:
There’s nothing more unsettling than to find —
when setting out on virgin paths untrod —
that many friends you thought were right behind,
and moving with you, were a patent fraud.
They said they’d always watch your fragile back
and stand with you when life got deadly tough —
protect you from irrational attacks;
but in the end their words were just a bluff.
And so you learned your lesson well that “friends”
can be your enemies who haven’t yet
revealed themselves. In shock one comprehends
they’ll leave you in the lurch without regret.
For every faithful friend you have in life
a dozen more plunge in your back their knife.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
True friends are those who are content to let
you be yourself. For then your soul can grow
in liberty. Their love for you will show
if, when you’re free, they find it not a threat.
I fear that friendship true is on the wane
as narcissism now holds such wide sway.
Betrayal over honour rules the day;
for people now use others, in the main.
Thus, if I try to count true friends on hands,
(well, fingers should I say, to be precise?)
I could not tweak my digits more than thrice.
Why not as much as grains of desert sands?
Behind all this, the truth is starkly shown:
That in this life we’re mostly on our own.
That double-sonnet raised many questions when I put it on social media (which, of course, is what I expected). There is much that many refuse to face up to and even misjudge when one speaks about the subject of betrayal or false friendship, or what one can call “fairweather friends”. It certainly seems to trigger many. However, if one is going to be a real Truthseeker and forthteller of Truth (as opposed to a mere dabbler or dilettante), one needs to be aware of certain realities which can be very shocking to the sensitive soul. In fact, nothing can prepare you for what will happen, as your pie-in-the-sky, sentimental ideals will be shattered! But such dis-illusionment is a necessary part of our spiritual growth. If you draw attention to the reality of false friendship and betrayal, you will be accused of “playing the victim”, of being “bitter”, of “harshly judging others”, and will be told to “stop whining” or even to “man up”. Somehow, so many folks want to put you down or shut you up when you reveal a glaring but blanked-out truth concerning relationships in this world: That betrayal and false friendship, or “fairweather” friendship — especially when faced with Truthtelling — is a huge reality in world affairs today. In fact, it is one of the biggest elephants in the room. The reason why so many cannot see that huge reality is that they have adjusted to the fact that almost everything propagated by humans in this world is fake, while living almost completely fake lives in the way they relate to others. What many people call “normality” is just a form of fakery. You may find that to be a shocking statement but if you examine it carefully and without prejudice, you will realise that it is true. Fake media, fake television, fake promises, fake politicians, wars based on fake premises, fake smiles everywhere, fake TV programmes, fake movies, fake advertisements, fake fidelity, fake products, fake marriages, fake appearances (clownlike lashings of makeup and facelifts, nips and tucks), fake philanthropy (e.g. charity as a tax avoidance technique), fake contracts, with masses of scams and frauds based on fakery.
If you really think about it, posers are everywhere. Religious and spiritual posers are among the worst! Mostpeople wear a mask and hide behind a plethora of disguises. 🤡 It is no coincidence that the highest paid people and the most revered in the world as “celebrities” are those who pretend to be other people for a living. Hollywood is the ultimate factory of fakery! Then, when some little nobody like me writes a sonnet about fake friendship and betrayal, people get bent out of shape and feel motivated to write to me accusing me of being judgemental, bitter and unloving. Frankly, I find it ridiculous that more people are bothered about me exposing the fakery than they are about the fakery itself! 😃 My role on this earth is not to make you (or me) feel comfortable and cosy with all that fakery. It is my solemn duty to expose the masks, disguises, lies and deception in the world (including my own) and to point the way to Truth and reality. It is also my (and your) ongoing duty to destroy our own masks and untruth before I (and you) can practise the sovereign Art of Self-Unravelling honestly. Beware though… once your own fakery is falling away and you begin to see through the fakery of this world (for you can only see through that when your own fakery is dissolving), you will be a declared enemy of the state and of religious people and anyone else who seeks to control or destroy, whether human or demonic. Be warned! Mask-wearers do not take kindly to being unmasked, as we know from personal experience!
So let’s dig into all this a little more…
I. HOW DO PEOPLE REACT WHEN YOU SPEAK THE TRUTH ABOUT FALSE FRIENDSHIP?
There are certain kinds of people who do not want all this to be said. It offends their equilibrium. They want it shoved under the carpet. Snowflake liberals don’t want it said, as it disproves their “everyone is essentially good” mantra. (I will deal with this delusion below). New Age folks don’t want it said, for it defies their “positive energy, positive thinking only” mantra. They tell me that “what you think is what you’ll attract” and that if I expect to be betrayed then that will make it happen because, according to them, “we create our own reality”. What a load of poppycock! Such a philosophy is nothing less than witchcraft and sorcery, a blend of sympathetic magic, “New Thought” ideology, and lashings of wishful thinking. If we create our own reality by simply wanting or expecting something to happen — wishing it into existence, so to speak, with the power of thought and imagination — then how come there aren’t piles of multi-millionaires each week from the lottery? 😃 I have found in life that the greatest things which happened to me have been those which I least expected to happen, and the most terrible things which I thought were going to happen to me never actually occurred! So this “Law of Attraction”, as they call it, is just New Age baloney, as I have proved in previous articles to this. I do not generally expect to be betrayed. I always hope upon hope that it will never happen. I still take people on face value until they go on to prove otherwise. So to say that I am “attracting” betrayal is just nonsense. When I speak as I was doing in those sonnets and as I am doing here in this article, I am simply reporting what I have seen to be true after more than seventy years of experience in life — not so much my own experience but also that of many others who I either know of or who have come to me for counselling. Even many church people don’t want me to say these things, as it upsets their idea that “nothing’s bad in the body of Christ” (which I will deal with in a later section below).
However, anyone who has lived a life, trouble and strife — lived it real, stripes and weals — knows very well that betrayal is the order of the day in this broken inferno of me-me dreams. Frankly, anyone who has never been betrayed by false “friends” has never lived a real life, never stood up for big Truth, or is propped up on a self-administered drug-cabinet of denial, or psychological bypassing, or what must surely be a deliberate obfuscation of that Truth. As to that “nothing’s bad in the body of Christ” idea… well, I’ll deal with that below too. The kind of reactions I get when I point out the level of betrayal in this world in terms of false friendship are that it’s not very “Christian” to think like that, or what a sad specimen I must be, or that I am being judgemental and am plainly filled with bitterness. None of those things is true. So, let’s deal with this…
Christ’s Experience of Betrayal
Many think that Christians (or what they think of as “Christians”) should not be speaking about the betrayal of friends as this is judgemental of those friends and is also playing the victim. Someone even said to me, “Jesus said we are not to judge, so what gives you the right to judge others by saying they are betrayers?” Where does one even start with such an ill-informed position? Firstly, Christ only said we should not be judging if it is hypocritical judgement — that is, if what we are specifically judging others for is something which is in us too (as can be seen in the relevant passage in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 7, verses 1-5). That is the context of Christ’s statement about judging. (I have written an entire article about this which appears in my recent book, “Narrow Gate ~ Pathway Strait”, as an appendix). Christ also said specifically: “Do not judge according to appearance; but judge with righteous judgement” (Gospel of John, chapter 7, verse 24). So it’s okay to judge, so long as it is being done with necessity and justly, for the right motives. Secondly, if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I am entitled to judge it to be a duck! If someone betrays another, then it is legitimate to recognise that as betrayal. People seem to be more concerned about a betrayer being judged as such than they are about the betrayal itself! That is truly bizarre and sums up the zeitgeist of the moment. It reminds me of the time when I wrote an article in 2003 showing that it was bullshit to claim there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as a contrived pretext for invasion. Many of my readers were far more disgusted with my “disgraceful” use of the term “bullshit” than they were about the dishonesty of their politicians! 😃 Incredible!
Mostly, when people say that my sonnet “isn’t very Christian”, it’s because they haven’t got the foggiest idea who Christ was, what He stood for, or what He said. They also do not know what a real “Christian” is. It will surprise them to discover that it is VERY Christlike to speak about betrayal in this way. Betrayal is more or less the norm in this fallen world, as Christ knew very well. He knew all about the fallen nature of humanity, as is graphically shown throughout the gospels. One particular passage brings this out with great poignancy. After He had performed a number of miracles, there were many who believed in Him. But there was no way He was going to fall for that and entrust Himself to them. As the account by John puts it:
“Many people believed in His name because they saw the miraculous signs He was doing. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, because He knew all people. He did not need anyone to testify about man, for He knew what was in man” (Gospel of John, chapter 2, verses 23-25).
The word “man” is a direct translation of the Greek word, anthropos, and it is being used there generically, to refer to both men and women. Christ knew very well what was in people — namely, a seared conscience and vanity, cowardice and compromise, coupled with self-seeking, faithless, fairweather friendship which will walk away from you when the going gets tough. I have seen this so often. One minute people are all over you like a rash, saying how wonderful or special you are, bla-bla; then, at the least provocation (e.g. if you happen to say some little thing with which they disagree or you rightly — even lightly — criticise something they said or did), or you trigger something in their unwashed unconscious, they will drop you like a stone, often in a hail of bullets.
It is a common belief that all people are born good but that unfortunate circumstances and experiences which they undergo make them behave otherwise. As Christ shows, this is not the whole story at all. People in this fallen world come into it with a fallen heart which has a distinct propensity for amorality, situation ethics and self-delusion. The human ego (which is disfigured more than most realise) renders the human being into a deeply-flawed, self-centred character. This pans out in different ways with different people. For example, men (if they are not spiritually awakened) have a tendency towards psychopathy, sociopathy, cold rationalism and aggression; while women (if they are not spiritually awakened) have a tendency towards narcissism, gullibility, irrationality and emotionalism, with varying degrees of extremes on those two spectra. All are essentially unstable at heart unless they are spiritually awakened. No wonder that Christ “would not entrust Himself” to people, because “he knew what was in Man”.
Essentially, one cannot put one’s trust in humans, generally speaking. Christ’s whole life experience on earth is a testimony to this. He said to His own disciples shortly before His arrest, “This night you will all fall away because of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered’” (Gospel of John, chapter 26, verse 31, quoting the prophecy in the Book of Zechariah, chapter 13, verse 7). Remember, these were guys who had been with Him through thick and thin for three years, who had seen Him prove His divinity, and who believed Him to be the long-promised Messiah (though they had not yet really received the Holy Spirit, after which it would be a different kettle of fish altogether). Yet, sure enough, when He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, it is said: “Then all the disciples left him and fled” (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 26, verse 56). Of course they did! One of His disciples had even sold Him for money to the authorities by revealing His hiding place, while another of His closest disciples publicly denied on a number of occasions that He even knew Him (even though he had earlier vigorously promised that he wouldn’t!). This is how it goes. As the prophecy about Christ says:
“He was despised and forsaken by humanity, a Man of sufferings and acquainted with affliction. People hid their faces from Him; He was despised, and we failed to give Him His due esteem” (Book of Isaiah, chapter 53, verse 3).
Yet, all He ever did was good! But this is how it is in this world. His own people (the Jews) rejected and ultimately betrayed Him. His own disciples (prior to their receiving the Holy Spirit) ultimately betrayed Him. Anyone who has ever unequivocally made a stand for Truth, or goodness, or for Christ or for the Light in general in this life knows that what is being said here is true. Generally speaking, people will not stand with you — even if they have previously professed that they will. I am not speaking about standing up for some political or ideological criterion, or some pet religious notion. I mean pure unadulterated Truth. This is the case even on a secular level if, for example, one is a whistleblower exposing some skulduggery in corporate life. In that case, you will find that you are mostly, if not completely, on your own when push comes to shove. Imagine how much more this is the case if one is standing up for spiritual Truth and is arraigned by the authorities under pending threat of death! And if your life is in danger for being a truthteller, or your reputation is unjustly in tatters, just see how many will then stand by your side. Very, very few, if any at all. Yet, one of the supreme hallmarks of friendship is self-sacrifice. To put it in Christ’s words: “No one has greater love than this — that one lays down his life for his friends” (Gospel of John, chapter 15, verse 13). Preserving our own lives is unimportant when the integrity of Truth is at stake.
Christ’s Disciples’ Experience of Betrayal
Christ also prophesied about betrayal in relation to His disciples. He revealed that His appearance will naturally cause division and betrayal (see e.g. Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verses 49-53). He shows how disciples of His will discover the astonishing fact that “his enemies will be those of his own household” (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 10, verse 36), resulting in betrayal to such an extent that “brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against parents and have them put to death” (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 10, verses 21-22). Elsewhere, Christ said to His disciples, “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will have some of you put to death” (Gospel of Luke, chapter 21, verse 16). Such betrayal cannot ultimately solely be confined to the experience of Christ’s personal disciples at the time. Surely, when He prophesied to them about the conditions surrounding the fall of the temple in A.D.70 there is also an equivalent application to the runup to “the end of the age”, such as when He said, “Then many will fall away into apostasy, and they will betray one another and hate one another” (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24, verse 10). For any genuine disciple of Christ who is uncompromising in his or her upstanding for Truth and Light, betrayal by friends and relatives will be the order of the day.
We see this betrayal pan out in the experience of the apostle, Paul. Speaking of his arraignment in Rome, being brought before the emperor Nero’s judgement seat: “At my first defence, no one appeared in my support; instead they all deserted me — may they not be held accountable for it” (Second Letter to Timothy, chapter 4, verse 16). In such a hearing, the accused was able to bring personal character witnesses who could raise a defence, but not one of his friends or fellow-disciples was there. He was entirely on his own. Paul just reports this as a matter of fact. He is not bitter, as can be seen in the fact that he asks that those who betrayed him should “not be held accountable for it”. He is not “projecting his own screwed-up ideas”, or playing the victim with negative thoughts, as the New Agers would put it. It is just reality which he is reporting. Paul had said earlier in the same letter that “everyone in the province of Asia deserted me” (Second Letter to Timothy, chapter 1, verse 15). Everyone! Then, at the first hearing before the authorities in Rome, no one turned up to testify in his defence. These are facts. Though it is rather strange that this should be so. In fact, it is especially amazing because Paul had a great and faithful following amongst the disciples of Christ in Rome. In the first chapter of his letter to those disciples of Christ in Rome, Paul had written: “Your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world”; and in the last chapter of that letter, he wrote: “Your obedience is known to all and thus I rejoice over you”. (The word “obedience” is being used there to denote compliance with Truth. That can be seen in the context where their “obedience” is deliberately contrasted with “those who create dissensions and obstacles”; see the Letter to the Romans, chapter 16, verses 17-19). So where was all that faith and obedience to Truth when Paul was being persecuted and imprisoned? He does say that just one faithful friend, Onesiphorus, visited him when he was in prison. But not a single soul pitched up at his trial to say a word in his defence. However, Paul does say: “But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me” (Second Letter to Timothy, chapter 4, verse 17); and this is the key. When your back is really against the wall and your life is on the line, do not ever rely on people as they will likely either desert you or betray you; for you can only rely on the Divine. Sorry to say it but people will most likely desert you when your back is against the wall. All of them. But God will never desert His faithful disciples. It is as simple as that. Thus, what such betrayal should never do is drive us into a state of depression or bitterness or despair. If anything, its purpose should be to drive us into “the arms” of the Divine in dependence and trust.
Thus, we can see here that it is actually very “Christian” to recognise the level of betrayal in this world among friends and others when calamity strikes. But what about in the churches? Should betrayal exist there? It has been said that the body of Christ should be very different. Well, one has to realise that there is a vast difference between churchgoers or church members and the genuine “body of Christ”. There is the “visible church” (what you can see with your eyes) and there is the “body of Christ” (which is the invisible church, the ekklesia which Christ came to inaugurate and build). The two are not synonymous. In fact, they are as different as chalk and cheese. That’s a good analogy as they can both look the same on the outside to the superficial gaze. But inwardly there is a huge gulf. This is the source of so much trouble in churches, for false Christians very often subtly seize control of churches or they undermine those faithful souls who are striving to create a real work of true spirituality. Not only have I personally witnessed this in my own time as a pastor, but I have counselled very many people (including a number of pastors) who have been abused in churches by those who are impostors. This is a massive unsung issue. These impostors are the ones who will betray you. It only takes one to stir up trouble. Then, of course, they bring the name of Christ into disrepute. When those who profess to be disciples of Christ commit acts of betrayal, one can only assume either that their fear outweighs their (very weak) faith or there is no faith at all. This is something which they need urgently to address.
So, while it is true that in the body of Christ (i.e. among genuinely spiritually awakened people) things should be very different — in fact, it should be “the suburbs of heaven” — the reality is that, with some exceptions, visible churches are not largely made up of the body of Christ (genuinely spiritually awakened people). Thus, it should come as no surprise that within visible churches betrayal can and does occur as easily as in any secular context. In fact, it is even more likely to occur there in dramatic fashion because of the desire of the demonic realm to undo all spiritual good on this planet. The failure to reckon with the spiritual battle in this cosmos is what makes it so hard for so many to see why betrayal should be so widespread. Bear in mind that the fall of angels which produced all these demons/archons (fallen angels) was a huge betrayal of their Creator. Therefore, it should be no surprise that those humans who are “the offspring of their father, the devil” (as Christ put it) would find it so easy to be betrayers too. Like father, like son or daughter. For Satan is not merely a liar but is an arch-betrayer; and in this life, one is either a slave of Satan or a servant of God.
Having spoken about the various reactions of people to betrayal and false friendship, we must also ask the question…
II. WHY DO SO MANY “FRIENDS” BETRAY TRUTHSEEKERS & FORTHTELLERS?
I would like to proffer two reasons for this. Firstly, it is…
1. Because of the Radical Dynamics of Truth
If you are going to stand up for Truth in this world in any way, then you had better be prepared for the maelstrom of madness and fury which will be hurled in your direction. I keep thinking I’ve seen it all in life, and that I’m getting street-savvy about human nature; but each new experience makes me realise that I’m still comparatively naïve! 🙂 It doesn’t even have to be spiritual Truth; it can be any kind of whistleblowing activity through which one exposes the lies and corruption of others. I’ve seen it all before, many times, in both secular and spiritual environments, both inside churches and outside them. For every time you become involved in overturning stones to expose darkness and proclaim the glory of the Light, all hell will break loose from those who have most to lose by your endeavours… and you will be betrayed. This is as sure as night following day. If you read my book, “Narrow Gate ~ Pathway Strait”, you will see that I have catalogued some of such situations in the opening biographical section. However, that was mostly in the secular world. I never thought it would be like that in the “Christian” milieu, which never ceases to surprise me. But it is at least the same or even worse! Fact is that wherever you are, if you are a truthseeker or forthteller, people will tell lies about you. Truth attracts lies. If you are a truthseeker or forthteller, most or even all will abandon you, betray you. In fact (and some may find this shocking for me to say), the larger the following a person has in this world, the more likely that person is to be peddling untruth and disinformation. This is because Truth is the most unpopular commodity in this fallen world (though that should not, and never will, prevent the propagation of it). Shills, false teachers and false prophets will never have any problem gathering a huge entourage and fanbase in this world. But Truthtellers and forthtellers will be largely despised and will only see small things happen through their teachings and ministrations. This is the world in which we live. A largely fake world living on lies and delusions. Those who deny this are themselves living in a fog of deception.
There are many reasons for this abandonment and betrayal of Truthtellers. Apart from the obvious fact that you may be exposing something which they hold dear, people are often jealous of those who seem to have nothing to lose and who exercise a freedom of heart, mind, and soul. Others simply like to maintain the status quo and don’t like the boat to be rocked. Some just want a quiet life and wish you’d buzz off (or something more graphic!). Mostpeople underestimate the raw power of Truth. In this world based on fakery and lies, Truthtelling is like throwing a live hand-grenade into a crowd which scatters. It elicits a negative knee-jerk reaction in those who do not want to receive it. Others will claim to support you and be with you all the way, but if it means personal sacrifice of any kind, they will abandon and betray you. I have seen this many times. I say all this without personal bitterness, but I am simply reporting the facts. One of the reasons why corrupt leaders continue to behave as they do with confidence is because they know very well that no matter how many disapprove of them, mostpeople will not take their concerns any further than privately voicing them. They know that those who disapprove will shut up, put their heads down and say nothing if their jobs or reputation, or even their lives, are on the line. This means that those who are brave enough to continue their dissidence will be isolated and effectively betrayed. This is a shame, because they are the very people who need hands-on support and presence, though they will go without if they have to, for their true support comes from outside this world and dimension.
The second reason why so many betray Truthtellers and forthtellers is…
2. Because They Haven’t Yet Obeyed Christ’s Call to “Deny Themselves”
As we saw above, the life of the greatest Man who ever lived (and the most perfect model of manhood) was one long episode of betrayal. That was Christ’s experience. This is what happens in this world when you don’t play along with the game of fakery and egocentric folly known as normality. If you get “out there”, live a real life fearlessly, speak your mind honestly, love uncompromisingly, stand up for goodness, honour and virtue, don’t accept any bullshit whatsoever, always expose deception, speak often about the Truth and Light personified in Christ and generally tell it like it is — no matter how nice you otherwise are — you will be spurned, scorned and betrayed. That I can guarantee. Genuinely decent people who refuse to play along with bullshit do not thrive in this world. They will know betrayal from all sides. Those who are not transformed by the power of the Light in this life will be betrayers by nature; because their “me” is more important than anything else. The only way out of this spiral of vanity in this life is to do something which cuts completely across everything that one is taught, starting from childhood, about needing to boost our self-esteem, big ourselves up, love ourselves and be a big shot. That ‘something’ is to “deny ourselves”. Here it is:
“Then Jesus called the crowd, along with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to become My disciple, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me’” (Gospel of Mark, chapter 8, verse 34).
Becoming “spiritual” without being a disciple of Christ just leads to a kind of religious narcissism, which involves virtue-signalling about how cool one is (ostentatious yoga-mat carrying and multiple yoga selfies, constantly self-obsessing about one’s health and diet, bragging about “detoxing” or fasting, constantly quoting Rumi or Eckhart Tolle, running off to Bali or India cos it’s cool and trendy and you can make loadsamoney out of your yoga workshops, changing one’s name to something Indian-sounding, etc.). However, when one walks through the narrow gate onto the difficult way (or pathway strait) that leads to life so as to become a disciple of Christ, the very last thing one wants to do is to “big oneself up” in any way. For one is filled with quiet wonder at the greatness and purity of God and at the fact that he should “save a wayward wretch like me”.
People may assume that to deny yourself means that you will become nothing — like a blob. But quite the opposite is true. This is another of those beautiful paradoxes of the spiritual life. For when we deny ourselves (and it is always the false ego-self that we imagine who we are which we are denying), then our true selves (our souls, in fact) can begin to shine and the Divine will work effectively through us, within us and alongside of us by His Spirit. When one denies one’s false self (effectively a kind of ego-death), suddenly there is room for the true self to manifest — a self which doesn’t need to be denied, a self which is aligned with the will of God. In other words, we need to get out of the way of ourselves so that we can be who we are really meant to be in the supreme will of God.
A big part of this process of denying oneself is, as Christ says, taking up our cross: “If anyone wants to become My disciple, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me”. All Christ’s disciples will have a cross to bear. This is a natural phenomenon which grows directly out of becoming His disciple. For you will no longer really belong in this world as it is presently constituted. You will be at odds with the world, part of a sacred counterculture, no longer fitting in. Your whole mindset and outlook will be at variance with the vast majority of the world’s population. You will be at the cutting-edge of the spiritual life — part of a great counterculture which is the ekklesia of Christ. That in itself is a cross to bear. For you will be presented with dilemmas at every turn and you will be tempted to compromise and fall in line, follow the herd and go with the crowd to avoid discomfort and curry favour with your peers. But you will not do so, for this is your cross and you love it.
You will experience elements of yourself disintegrating as part of the process of spiritual development and maturity. This, too, is your cross. You will also be called on to perform difficult tasks as part of your mission. You may even have to be prepared to be abandoned by everyone and killed by false authorities rather than pay homage to some despotic crackpot (for this life is just a brief experimental preface to the one to come). So be it! This is your cross, which you willingly “take up”. The true disciple of Christ regards his or her cross not as something to be shunned or to be bitter about but as something to be borne with honour and even joy. Yes, joy! Remember joy? This joy concerning the taking up of your cross is the unique spiritual place (I nearly said “palace”, which would be true too!) in which you will find yourself, if you really are one of Christ’s disciples and follow Him alone as your Light and Guide.
Until one has denied oneself and taken up one’s cross and walked in the footprints of Christ, one will inevitably be a betrayer in some way of those who have done so, and a betrayer in some way of those who make a stand for Truth. Betrayal will always be the weapon of cowards and until one has the strength from God within, empowering one’s faith, one will be such a coward. This is what lies at the heart of Orwell’s book, “1984”. I know it is seen as a novel about oppressive totalitarianism. But it is really a superb study in betrayal. For that is what people do best when they are cowards and under threat, or when they are filled with jealousy and pride, or are mere tools of the realm of darkness.
Earlier in this little article, I wrote the following words:
“When your back is really against the wall and your life is on the line, do not ever rely on people; for you can only rely on the Divine. People will most likely desert you. But God never will desert His faithful disciples. It is as simple as that”.
This is the principal lesson that I want you to take away from here. (Re)Discovering our relationship with the Divine eradicates our propensity for betrayal. For then one could no more betray a Truthteller than one could betray God Himself, the author of Truth! But testing times will come. Do not be surprised if, at the times when you are most in need of support and true friends, you will be deserted. As a wise man once put it:
“Friendship is always tested by calamity; and when affliction comes, they who in the days of prosperity were surrounded by many flatterers and admirers, are surprised to find how few there were among them who truly loved them.” (Albert Barnes)
It does not matter if people evaporate around you when Truth falls from your mouth. Truth itself can never evaporate, and that’s what counts. Truth really is the inextinguishable flame. It can be suppressed. It can be dampened. It can be maligned. It can be fought against. It can be verbally trashed. It can be “taken to the cleaners” (to no avail, as it already is spotless! 😉). It can be left to lie bleeding in the gutter. It can be made to stumble in a marketplace. It can be mitigated. It can be compromised. It can be existentially denied. Humans who speak it can even be assassinated (and are more often than you may realise). It can even be legally banned! But the cosmic comfort is that Truth can never be wholly extinguished. Just when you think that it’s been reduced to a pile of ashes in a trash can in the back of beyond with all its tellers slain, it will rise like a phoenix from those ashes and rekindle its supernatural mission. And woe to anyone who stands in its way!
So, do not be surprised by betrayal or the falsity of “fairweather” friends. In any case, it’s all a test; as indeed is life itself. We are living in a vast gymnasium (school and exercise unit) in which we are being tested concerning our devotion, depth of faith and willingness to align ourselves with the Divine rather than our ego’s false shine. If we tread the difficult path (the pathway strait) of the spiritually awake, this testing can be profound. However, blesséd is the one who has managed to find a spouse who is stable, faithful, devoted, and a rock in your life; for that is a rare thing in this corrupted world. But nevertheless, only when we’ve given up on total reliance on people and instead trusted solely in the Divine for our strength and succour can we know (though our real friends be few) that our devotion will accrue and our faith is tried-and-true.
© Alan Morrison, 2019
[Although copyright, this article is a labour of love and may be freely shared, on condition that such distribution keeps exactly the same title, format, details of origin, and design in which it was published, and that nothing is added to the text and nothing is taken away from it].