Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bitter, or better?

"Beware the ides of March."

Huh? That's the response of the majority, unless they think you're talking about last year's George Clooney/Ryan Gosling movie. Well, sadly, no ... therefore, here's today's mini-history lesson, so you will be well-equipped to answer any question that comes your way about those dang "ides."

The word "ides" is in reference to the 15th day of the month in the Roman calendar for the months of March, May, July, and October. The "ides" (meaning 'half-division') for the other eight months of the year takes place on the 13th.

Historically, in 44 AD, Julius Caesar was stabbed (23 times) in the Roman Senate by conspirators, including, according to tradition, some of his closest friends and compatriots.

Thankfully, in our modern era and culture, we rarely have to deal with actual executions and physical assassinations. What we DO endure, however, are social assassinations. Betrayals of friendships, confidences or relationships for the sake of social, political, or monetary gain are not as obvious as they were in Caesar's day, but they are equally painful. defines "betray" like this: deliver or expose to an enemy by treachery or disloyalty: Benedict Arnold betrayed his country. be unfaithful in guarding, maintaining, or fulfilling: to betray a trust. disappoint the hopes or expectations of; be disloyal to: to betray one's friends; to reveal

Murdered? Nah.  But how often do we expose one another's weaknesses to the enemy through our whining and grumbling and complaining? Ouch. 
How often are you unfaithful by failing to keep your promises, failing to keep a confidence, or failing to maintain a promise made? 
Have you ever disappointed the hopes or expectations of friends and family by putting your own needs or desires first?  

I have. And I've had all those things "done" to me.  The pain of betrayal, and the scars it leaves behind, are worse than almost any other wound known to man. Thankfully, we can look to Jesus, whose personal experience with the pain of betrayal rivals any of our own ... remember Judas's kiss and Peter's denial (in triplicate)? Jesus knows the pain of betrayal and He will help us recover from the wounds we've experienced if we'll turn to Him.

Betrayal can make you bitter, or better, depending on how you respond to it. Don't let betrayal turn you into a bitter believer!

 About the Author: Niki writes fiction, blog posts, articles in the local newspaper, grocery lists, and Facebook status updates. She can be found at her own blog, In Truer Ink, in addition to posting here. She was a 2009 finalist in the Faith, Hope, and Love "Touched by Love" contest.


  1. Thank you, Niki. Wise words.

    Isn't it funny how one 2000 year old event can spark a saying? You rarely see The Ides of March on a calendar for March 15th, yet I learned of the day in school and think of it every time March rolls around.

  2. Someday I want to look up the etymology for lots of those sayings and phrases we toss around. It's very interesting!

    I learned about this one in my high school Shakespeare class. One of the few classes I remember! : )

  3. Funny the ides of March always comes after Pi day.

    Thanks for the reminder, Niki. I find it all too easy to respond in bitterness, without ever thinking how one of my careless words might hurt someone else.

  4. Niki, another great as usual, and you could be talking to me. I've struggled with bitterness, even though I'd rather not admit it! Thank you for the encouragement.

    Barb, we always note Pi day too! Last year, one of my kids ate pie at school and had to memorize pi as far as she could. Can't remember how many digits she recalled. But it was a lot.

  5. I forgot all about Pi day!
    We celebrated it when we homeschooled. With pie, of course.

    Thanks, Barb!

  6. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a single soul who hasn't had the opportunity to get into a bitter place in their lives, Susie!

    Betrayal, disappointment, discouragement, mistreatment, rejection, resentment ... all opportunities for bitterness to creep in. Maybe that's why the word is likened to honey and sweetness, to get the bitter out!

  7. I can say the last time I really felt betrayed was about 7 years ago. Does that mean I have nice friends, I'm hard to offend, or I'm a hermit? Not saying I haven't been through other hurts and heartaches, just that it's been a while for this particular one.

  8. Thanks, Niki. Sometimes it's easy to think that since we haven't murdered a friend like Brutus, we're doing okay. But betraying a friend or damaging a person's reputation (as you say, social assassination) is just as much a violation of the commandment.

    And those social assassinations are so much easy to do than outright murder.

  9. Oh Dina, I'm chuckling... I think I'm just a hermit, but it's been about the same amount of time for me. Although I'd like to think I'm just difficult to offend. : )

  10. Amen to that, CJ. I really struggle when I hear Christians, esp. preachers, maligning the character of others and saying they "hate" this group or that group. It grieves my heart.

  11. My first betrayal was when I was ten. My "friend" not only stole my Bobby Sherman poster off my wall, she tore it into tiny pieces on her way home. I remember walking to her house to see if she took it, and it was like following Hansel and Gretel's breadcrumb trail.

    I try really hard not to hold on to hurt and bitterness. It's a struggle sometimes, but I do tend to block out a lot of the things that are far more deeply wounding than childhood mischief.

    Have I ever betrayed someone? Most definitely, and it shames me whenever I think about it. Why is it so much harder to forgive ourselves than to forgive others - even when we know God has already forgiven us?

  12. That, my dear Suzie, is an excellent question, and worthy of much contemplation.
    LOL. I hadn't even thought about those early betrayals! : )

  13. Niki, it's a question I ask myself quite frequently.

  14. Its strange, but I remembered an otherwise long forgotten betrayal by a 'friend' just today. I dont know if it really counts in the circumstances and was very trivial.

    I fear I have betrayed myself sometimes too, even if I did not realise it, Though I hope I did not cause any pain or harm by it.

  15. I remember reading a fairly second rate 'historical' novel some years ago in which the author seems to have had little grasp of the concept of the concept of loyalty and betrayal according to the norms of that period.

    For instance, the characters idea of loyalty was not being a 'tattle tale' and concealing or withholding information even from the King no matter how important it was, and what he negative consequences to the entire Kingdom would be because they regarded 'betraying' thier friends as an incomparable evil.

    Even it seemed when that friend had done something wrong and harmful to other people, and that 'friend' effectively used blackmail to silence them they regarded 'telling' as a bad thing.

    This rather made me think about this subject, and how out circumstances could be determine out response, as whether betraying our principles can also have consequences.

    I also rememeber a news story I heard years ago about an Dad who had raised his sons to be honest, but then turned to crime himself, and his sons turned him in to the police.

    Some would regard that as the highest betrayal. Any thoughts.

  16. I also just remembered that in aforementioned novel that the act which the characters were afraid to 'tattle' about was in itself a betrayal of the highest order, far more serious than the betrayal of a friend.

    The reason for the character not wishing to tell was because they did not want thier friend to get into trouble and be deservedly punished for what they had done, even though this was inevitable.


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