September 21, 1780, changed the way American’s think and speak. At the height of the Revolutionary War, the commander of West Point met with British Major John Andre. This clandestine meeting was to discuss the turnover of America’s Military school to the British. This would be a decisive blow against the fledgling republic. Fortunately, the plot was discovered, and action was taken for the preservation of this institution.
Here we are 200+ years later, still referring to this day. You may not recognize the date, but you have heard someone called a Benedict Arnold. General Washington trusted Arnold and now pursued him because of his treason. Betrayal is hard. It is hurtful, and by both definition and nature, we are most affected when the betrayal is someone close to us. We all have our “Benedict Arnold.”
Fortunately for the US and Gen Washington, a gifted and loyal leader was waiting in the wings. General Nathanael Greene served his country with honor and distinction. His actions in the southern US helped bring about the monumental surrender of British General Cornwallis’s army at Yorktown on October 19, 1781.
A few weeks ago, our family vacationed in the Historic Triangle of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown. Now, as a history guy, I loved all of them. But there was something about standing on the hill above the York River where the towering monument to this British surrender stands. From that spot, you can look out over the Chesapeake Bay and imagine its waters teeming with ships, men, and the fog of gun powder.
The betrayal of our nation and General Washington put into place a series of events that brought about the war’s end. As a result, an independent nation arose from the ashes—a strong nation devoted to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No one can look back through the eyes of time and see what could have been had Arnold not committed treason. We can see the result.
Washington and the nation must have felt profound betrayal and dealt with bitter feelings and hatred towards Arnold. However, we must consider this; if Arnold had continued as he was, would the war have been won? If it was won, would it have ended when it did? The most likely answer is not.
Betrayal is always painful, but God has a way of taking our painful situations and making good come from them. In your life, dealing with your betrayals, you have a choice. You can fixate on the hurt or move on with your life. Can you imagine the dire effect if Washington sat at his desk and sulked for the next few years? We find this question ridiculous but is that not what we do in our personal lives.
The Word of God tells us that we have been set free by Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. (John 8:36) Yet, we place ourselves in servitude to those that harm us because we live with unforgiveness and refuse to move on. Yes, you have been hurt. Yes, you will be hurt again. That is human nature. Our hurt or offense does not rob God of His power to heal, set free, and bring good from a terrible situation.
I would ask you today, from what betrayal does God want to set you free? Just as important is the question, will you let Him? More betrayals will come, but what you do with them can change.