“ET TU, BRUTE?” Don’t Let Betrayal Bury Your Heart By: Aaron Welch, LMHC, NCC

“Et Tu, Brute?”

These are the words of Caesar after he realizes his best friend and confidante was a party to his assassination, as written in Shakespeare’s well-known tragedy. Translated, this phrase means, “You too, Brutus?”

Wow! Only three short words but one can feel the genuine surprise and heartfelt pain that only surfaces when a person is betrayed by someone they believed they could trust. If there are situations that cause more pain than this, they are few. It is the husband who comes home early from work to discover his bride in the arms of another. It is the fluttering pain felt in the pit of the stomach when you stand alone, surrounded by laughing peers, and notice that your best friend is joining in with the laughter. It’s sharing your heart with someone you love only to have that person grossly mishandle it and allow it (or cause it) to shatter into pieces.

It is betrayal. And its effects on us are devastating and potentially lethal to our hearts. If we are betrayed severely enough, or often enough, we make a vow to never be vulnerable to it again. We silently swear that nobody will ever get enough of our heart again to do significant damage. And so we put up our walls, bury our heart or, at least, we lock it away in the dark, cold lockbox found in the basement of our souls.

From then on, life is different. Our security measures have worked like a charm.
Hallelujah! Insults are barely felt. Breakups sting but only for a moment before we move on to other relationships. Criticism irritates us but we wash it away with a few drinks after work. No doubt, locking our heart away like the damsel in the guard tower has done the trick; we are so numb that the sorrows of life seem more like a low drone in our ear than a loud symphony. We have effectively dulled the emotional pain of being vulnerable. Isn’t that awesome?

Then why does life seem so empty? Why do we feel so isolated?

Because, in the act of dulling our pain, we have also clipped the nerves that allow us to experience the greatest of joys. Just as an antibiotic arbitrarily kills the good bacteria with the bad, so burying our heart and protecting it from pain also disables our ability to fully love and to be loved. Truly, in our attempts to be free of pain we have actually constructed for ourselves an emotional dungeon, complete with manacles and heavy wooden doors and iron bars to boot. Instead of indulging in the sweet fruits of intimacy, we settle for the watery gruel that is
periodically pushed under the door to our cell.

The truth is that when we bury our hearts to escape betrayal from others, we actually betray ourselves and sabotage our ability to deeply connect with anyone.

How many of our hearts can relate to the awful feeling of isolation in the midst of so many people? Loneliness certainly does not require being alone, does it?

For those of you who have been wounded by the arrow of betrayal and have buried your heart because of it_______take heed, you are not alone.

When I say that, I’m not even referring to the millions of other men and women on this planet who have felt the knife of betrayal slice through their hopes and dreams.

I’m referring to God.

Yes, God the Father. I’m talking long before Judases’ kiss of death rested on the cheek of Jesus. I’m talking about the time before God had even breathed life into Adam’s nostrils. What I’m thinking of is the time when His most beautiful creation, to date, renounced his beauty, gathered together a heavenly army, and rose up in order to overthrow the throne of the Father. I’m talking about Lucifer, who we now call Satan. I wish we knew more about why the most magnificent of God’s angels would throw away his position and rock the very foundations of paradise. It makes me sad to think about it. And, if it makes me sad.......me, who have only known Satan as a liar and an adversary........how much sorrow must it have brought to the heart of God, who knew Lucifer as a beautiful creation, a master musician, the epitome of heaven’s beauty?
“Et Tu, Lucifer?”

If God reacted like many of us; burying His heart and vowing never to risk love again, there would have never been a garden in Eden. We wouldn’t be debating this subject because we would not have existed.

Instead, God created humans, and not just robot minions, programmed to love and follow Him no matter what. Wouldn’t that have been the safe choice? Instead, He created us with the freedom to choose whether we would love Him or reject Him. What a risk!

And when Adam and Eve betrayed His heart, ate of the fruit, and brought sin into the world? Did God bury His heart and say, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”? No. He kept pursuing relationship.

And when mankind became so evil that He destroyed everyone save Noah and his family? Did He give up? Nope...He sent a rainbow as a gesture of His continuing love and promises. It beats a dozen roses, doesn’t it?

And when the people of Israel continually gave their hearts adulterously to other gods? Did He lock himself away in the remote places of heaven and throw away the key?

No. Instead, He came to earth as a tiny baby, only to die violently on the cross; the ultimate pursuit of our hearts.

And what about the moments when I have personally betrayed Him in thought or deed? How about all the lustful, unforgiving, mean-spirited, self-centered moments in my life when God entered the room of my heart only to tearfully look at me and ask, “Et Tu, Aaron”? Does
He throw me out and vow to never let me hurt Him like that again?

Bless Him, He does not. And, because He continues to risk His heart in order to fully love me, He reaps the reward (and so do I) of those moments where He and I are truly intimate........connected.

And so to all of us who are not living, or loving, fully from our hearts; to those of us who have been hurt and have promised to never allow it again; to that same crowd who also ache and yearn in loneliness; who desperately want to release our hearts from the prisons we have banished them to and allow them to embrace the ecstasy of intimate relationships.......to us I say..............take the risk. Open the cage door. Endure the pain associated with failed relationships in order to eventually bask in the sunlight of love and intimacy.

I know it’s scary. I know the fear can almost take your breath away. God knows how excruciating the pain of betrayal is-He really does. And yet, I would risk it all for a place at the table reserved for lovers. To dine at the feast of true intimacy with God, and with my friends, and with my children, and with the wife I love.

For all of us who can relate to what Caesar must have felt when he inquired hurtfully, “Et Tu, Brute?”: I challenge you to let your heart live and love again.

God did.

About the Author: Aaron Welch is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who has devoted his life to reaching out and helping people to grow and mature through difficult life situations. Whether it has been through clinical counseling, pastoral ministry, youth camps and conventions, public speaking, leadership training, educational instruction, athletic coaching or small group ministry, Aaron has over eighteen years of experience in assisting people through life struggles and personal growth. His genuine love for people and his outgoing personality combine to create a safe and caring environment for putting the pieces of life back together. Contact Aaron @ 407-647-7005, http://www.lifeworksgroup.org/.

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