We’ve all been betrayed… and whether intentional or not, we’ve all been in the role of the betrayer.

Jesus knew the sting of betrayal and once again we see a man who chooses forgiveness above feelings.

Use this lesson to remind students to always choose to forgive when they are betrayed.

-Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth

YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON BETRAYAL

Written by Tiffany Hollums

DOWNLOAD THE PDF OF THIS LESSON

Bible:  Luke 22:47-63

Bottom line: When you are betrayed, choose to forgive.

OPENING ACTIVITY: BETRAYAL ISLAND

This activity is a combination of ‘Wink’ and ‘Mafia’ – 2 popular youth group games.

As the youth arrive, choose one person and tell them they are the ‘Betrayer’.

Let them know it will make sense when you explain the game but not to let others know they are the Betrayer.

Say: We are going to play a game that will test your will and judgement because you won’t be sure who you can trust.

One of you has been chosen as the Betrayer.

If you’re not sure it’s you – it’s not… because the Betrayer knows they are the Betrayer!!

The Betrayer will let me know who they are sending off the island by glancing at them… without anyone else catching them.

If you guess correctly who the Betrayer is – you won.

But, guess wrong and you too are going off the island.

As play begins, the students will look around nervously, but you need to be careful not to give away the Betrayer.

When The Betrayer glances toward someone in a sullen voice, say: “The Betrayer has betrayed ___________ (name) and they had to leave the island because __________ (make up a funny reason they had to leave such as they accidentally fell in a lagoon or caught bat fever).

Continue play until everyone but The Betrayer remains, or the Betrayer is caught.

Then, choose another Betrayer – have everyone close their eyes and then tap on someone’s shoulder.

TEACH

Say: How did it feel to be betrayed?

To the Betrayer:  How did it feel to be the Betrayer?

We’ve probably all been both the Betrayed and the Betrayer at some point, and both can feel pretty awful, right?

Share a time in which you were betrayed.

Being betrayed is never fun but it is especially hurtful when it is someone you trust.

Think about a time when you were betrayed – what emotions did you feel?

Ask for a few students to read Luke 22:47-63, or to act it out (stressing that the kiss is an ‘air kiss’).  

Choose someone to be Jesus, Judas, Peter, woman at the fire, guards, and narrator.

How do you think Jesus felt when his friends betrayed him?

Jesus is real – he knows what it feels like to really care about a friend.

Jesus chose twelve friends to walk with him.

These twelve were special to him.

They ate together, laughed together; they watched Jesus heal and perform miracles and they heard his amazing words.

They saw at the heart who Jesus was,  and yet, two of the disciples betrayed Jesus while the rest did nothing.

And their betrayal didn’t just ruin Jesus’ reputation – no, their betrayal helped lead to his death.

Wow, imagine how that must have felt?

Jesus knows thet pain of loving someone, of trusting them, and then they turn their back on you or hurt you.

And even though the scripture doesn’t spell it out, you know it hurt.

But what does Jesus do when in anger, Peter chops off a guy’s ear? He heals it.

And at the last supper, Jesus knew then that Judas was working against him.

He told Judas to go ahead and do what he needed to do.

Jesus told Peter, in advance, that he would betray him three times.

Jesus knew, and probably knew all along, and yet he chose them.

He loved them.

Now, what this isn’t saying is to go out and find friends who will betray you and turn on you… so what is it saying?

The betrayal has more to say about the person betraying than it does about you.

Just like Jesus, you may know you are being betrayed.

But,  just like Jesus, you are called to forgive.

To keep on the path you know God has for you, and if someday the person comes back to you, like Peter does to Jesus, you could show again the love of Christ.

Peter went on to do amazing things for God.

Imagine if Jesus had not forgiven him.

Betrayal hurts.

Here’s a few things to remember when you are betrayed:

1. Let the friend know they hurt you.

Jesus went to Peter and asked him three times if Peter loved him.

Sometimes a friend has betrayed you, but will genuinely be sorry if you let them know the pain it caused.

2. Forgive them.

Forgiving doesn’t mean you weren’t hurt by their betrayal.

You forgive BECAUSE you were hurt.

Forgiving also doesn’t mean that you allow someone to hurt you.

Forgiving means you let go of your anger and admit what they did hurt you, but don’t allow it to have ahold of you.

3. Let betrayal remind you how to treat others.

Remember how it feels to be betrayed the next time you are tempted to betray someone else.

Think of the person or people who have betrayed you.

We are going to silently pray for them and keep on praying for them because God can do amazing things in the lives of people.

Or maybe you’ve betrayed someone and you need to go and apologize to them.

Let’s pray.

Close in prayer.

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1.  Think of a time you were betrayed – how did you react?
  2. How does it change how you think to hear and read how Jesus was betrayed?
  3. Is there anyone you’ve betrayed?  Commit to ask them to forgive you sometime this week.
  4. Think of the person who betrayed you-why forgive?

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