What does the Bible say about backstabbing?

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By BibleAsk Team


Backstabbing

Backstabbing is defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary as betrayal (by a verbal attack against one not present) especially by a false friend. Betrayal and backstabbing are unfortunate aspects of human relationships that have been present since ancient times. The Bible, as a source of moral guidance and wisdom, addresses the issue of betrayal in various contexts.

Cain and Abel: The Genesis of Betrayal (Genesis 4:8)

The Bible opens with the tragic account of Cain and Abel, brothers whose relationship soured due to jealousy and betrayal. In a fit of envy, Cain betrayed his brother, leading to the first instance of murder in human history. This narrative serves as a cautionary tale about the destructive consequences of betrayal.

David and Absalom: A Father’s Heartbreak (2 Samuel 15:12)

The story of David and his son Absalom is another poignant example of betrayal. Absalom’s cunning and deceitful tactics to usurp his father’s throne resulted in a heartbreaking betrayal. This narrative highlights the pain and sorrow that often accompany betrayal within the family unit.

Joseph and His Brothers: From Betrayal to Redemption (Genesis 37:18-28)

The account of Joseph and his brothers showcases a different dimension of betrayal. Joseph’s own brothers, driven by jealousy, sold him into slavery. Yet, through divine providence, Joseph ultimately forgave his brothers, illustrating the potential for redemption and reconciliation even in the face of betrayal.

Judas Iscariot: The Ultimate Act of Betrayal (Matthew 26:14-16, 47-50)

Perhaps the most infamous act of betrayal in the Bible is Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus. For thirty pieces of silver, Judas handed over his Teacher and Friend to the authorities. This betrayal set in motion the events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion, underscoring the severity of betraying trust and friendship.

Proverbs: Warnings Against Deceit and Betrayal (Proverbs 3:29-30, 12:22)

The Book of Proverbs is replete with wisdom concerning interpersonal relationships. It warns against scheming and deceit, emphasizing the importance of honesty and integrity. Proverbs 3:29-30 admonishes against planning harm to neighbors, while Proverbs 12:22 extols the virtues of truthfulness.

Walk in Love

Jesus spoke against hate and backstabbing. He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another“ (John 13:34). This command to love was not in itself new. It belonged to the instructions given by the Lord through Moses (Leviticus 19:18). The command was new in that a new example had been given of love, which the disciples were now asked to follow.

In Matthew 18:21-22, Peter asks Jesus about the limits of forgiveness, and the Savior responds with the parable of the unforgiving servant. This parable highlights the importance of forgiveness, demonstrating God’s mercy and grace. By Christ’s life and death, He had opened to men a new revelation of God’s love (John 3:16).

A person can’t claim to love God without loving his fellow men. Jesus said,  “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?“ (Matthew 7:16). People can pretend to love their fellow men but the acid test of their love is their actions. In the great hour of testing that lies ahead, only those who know the truth and practice it will be able to exhibit the loving qualities of their Master which will be free from backstabbing and all evil (Hosea 4:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10).

Likewise, Paul admonished the believers on how to respond to backstabbing and betrayal saying, “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:2). Love is not just words but actions (2 John 1:6).

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, encourages believers to avoid bitterness, wrath, and malice. Instead, he urges them to be kind and forgiving, mirroring the forgiveness God extends to us. Ephesians 4:31-32 emphasizes the transformative power of forgiveness in healing relationships damaged by betrayal.

Walking in love is the first fruit of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22,23). These qualities naturally develop in the life when the Spirit of God has control in the life of the believer (verse 18). Backstabbing, gossip, slander and hate are certainly not the fruits of God’s Spirit. They are the fruits of sinful nature ruled by Satan.

Conclusion

The Bible provides a comprehensive perspective on betrayal and backstabbing, illustrating its devastating effects on individuals and communities. From the early accounts in Genesis to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, the scriptures offer guidance on how to navigate and respond to backstabbing and betrayal. Ultimately, the message of forgiveness, redemption, and the importance of maintaining integrity in relationships emerges as a central theme in the biblical narrative. In the face of betrayal, the scriptures call believers to emulate the divine qualities of forgiveness and love, seeking reconciliation and healing.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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