Relational Pain and Moving Forward

          Have you ever been emotionally hurt by another person?  If you have ever been in any type of relationship, then the answer is, “Yes, of course.”  In fact, when you read that question, you probably had someone’s name or face pop into your mind.  Relational pain is like that. It seems to stay fresh longer than other types of pain.  Nobody likes pain.  We avoid it at all costs. But relational pain, and the pain of betrayal, has a hidden advantage that we don’t need to overlook.  Before I tell you about the advantages of relational pain, let me say that I am not encouraging anyone to go seek relational pain...that would be stupid.  However, relational pain will come whether you look for it or not.  It’s simply part of life.  Relational pain has the ability to carve things out of our soul that keep us from moving forward into the great things that God has for us; Things such as sinfulness, pride, bitterness, chronic negativity, and unforgiveness.

          One of the heavy hitters in the Bible was a guy named King David.  He is an excellent example of a person who used relational pain, not as a deterrent, but as an accelerant, to move forward into the destiny that God had for him.  He was betrayed at various levels in life and each painful experience helped him step forward and not stagnate.


          In 1 Samuel 17:28-30, we see where David’s older brother publicly makes fun of him and humiliates him and what he does.  David doesn’t retaliate, he ignores the negative comments and gravitates to the positivity of others that were standing around and away from family negativity. 


          David starts working for King Saul.  A man that he admired and looked up to.  I’m sure he had him up on the proverbial pedestal like most people do with their heroes.  Here is what happened:


(1 Samuel 18:11) The next day an ugly mood was sent by God to afflict Saul, who became quite beside himself, raving. David played his harp, as he usually did at such times. Saul had a spear in his hand. Suddenly Saul threw the spear, thinking, “I’ll nail David to the wall.” David ducked, and the spear missed. This happened twice. 


        Twice!  I don’t know about you, but if somebody is throwing a spear at me, I am not sticking around for it twice!

But this is David’s mentor.  It’s his king!  Even though he didn’t like his actions or his decisions, even though every spear thrown at him felt like a literal spear to his heart, he remained faithful. 

            Have you ever had someone close throw spears at you? Not literal spears, but proverbial ones. Every word is like an arrow that tries to pierce your soul and wreck your life. What did David do in the same instance?  What can we learn from him out of this intense situation?  David honored the office, and leaned into the pain.  Another way to say it, is he embraced submission.


            Love comes in different forms.  Siblings can love each other like no one else.  They can hit each other, yell at each other and still love one another.  I think this is the lowest love in the family structure.  Then, there is the child to parent love.  It’s stronger.  It endures more and tolerates more.  But I think the highest form of love in the family dynamic is the parent to child love.  Once that baby comes out looking all slimy and gross, we fall in love with this thing.  We would literally lay down our life for this one.  So when a child (spiritual or physical) betrays us, it causes the deepest of wounds in our soul.  This is the betrayal that is flesh of our flesh, maybe a child or a spouse.

            In 2 Samuel 15, we read where David’s own son, Absalom, betrays him and takes the kingdom from David.  How does David respond?  Does he retaliate?  Does he gather his army and attack?  No. He allowed others to defend him, and God to rescue him.  As David was fleeing the city to get out of Absalom’s way, David penned Psalm 3.  Look at this small excerpt:


“But in the depths of my heart I truly know that you, Yahweh, have become my Shield; You take me and surround me with yourself. Your glory covers me continually. You lift high my head when I bow low in shame. I have cried out to you, Yahweh, from your holy presence. You send me a Father’s help.”


            No matter what level of betrayal and emotional pain you might be facing, God will be your shield.  He will protect you and walk you through life’s most difficult moments.  Trust him, and in all these situations, respond in a way that causes you to step forward towards your greatness and destiny.


For more on betrayal and relational pain check out Warrior King the book.  Now available at or