What Does the Bible Say About Backstabbers?

Backstabbing, gossiping, and betraying others are serious issues that the Bible addresses multiple times. As Christians, we are called to love others, be peacemakers, and walk in integrity. However, dealing with people who undermine, slander, or hurt us can be incredibly challenging. In this comprehensive blog post, we will explore what Scripture teaches about backstabbers and how we as believers should respond.


Backstabbing or betrayal occurs when someone you trusted turns against you, often through slander, gossip, or undermining your character. This causes deep hurt and can severely damage relationships and reputations.

As Christians, it’s important we handle these situations biblically by:

  • Examining our own hearts first
  • Forgiving those who hurt us
  • Seeking reconciliation when possible
  • Trusting in God’s justice and timing

Rather than retaliating, Scripture calls us to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Though painful, these trials can strengthen our faith and refine our Christ-like character if we respond righteously.

By studying Bible passages about backstabbing, we gain wisdom for navigating tumultuous relational conflicts. Let’s explore what God’s Word reveals about detecting false motives, guarding our tongues, restoring broken trust, and leaving room for redemption.

What Does the Bible Say About Backstabbers?

Old Testament Teachings on Backstabbing

Several Old Testament verses address the damage caused by deceit, slander, gossip, and betrayal.

Proverbs 11:13 warns that a gossip or backstabber cannot be trusted, stating that “a talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”

Psalm 41:9 records King David’s grief when his close friend Ahithophel betrayed him, foreshadowing Judas’ later betrayal of Jesus: “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”

Proverbs 26:24-26 cautions that malicious people disguise their motives with pleasant words, saying:

“He who hates, disguises it with his lips, and lays up deceit within himself; When he speaks kindly, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.”

These verses advise using discernment rather than taking everyone’s words at face value. Since backstabbers hide their animosity, we must look past flattery to discern people’s authentic character.

Furthermore, we should avoid sowing discord or listening to slander, which Proverbs 16:28 calls “a whisperer who separates the best of friends.” Proverbs specifically warns against the type of “whispering” that undermines others’ reputations.

How Jesus Handled Backstabbing and Betrayal

In the Gospels, Jesus himself was betrayed by one of his own disciples. Judas conspired against Jesus for his own gain, an ultimate act of backstabbing.

Yet Jesus knew Judas’ heart from the beginning, as indicated in John 6:64: “But there are some of you who do not believe. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.”

Despite his foreknowledge, Jesus extended unrelenting grace to Judas, even washing his feet (John 13) shortly before Judas handed Jesus over to be crucified. Jesus displayed perfect love and forgiveness even when he knew Judas’ duplicity would soon lead to his suffering and death.

Similarly, we are called to graciously love those who hurt and betray us, following Jesus’ example.

Luke 6:27-28 records Christ’s words:

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”

We all betray Jesus through our sin. Yet he showers us with mercy, longing for us to repent and know him deeply. We must extend this same grace to others, regardless of how deeply their actions wound us.

Additionally, Jesus warns in Matthew 5:11-12:

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

When others slander or undermine us for righteous reasons, Jesus says we are blessed and can rejoice, keeping an eternal perspective. Though innocent, we share in a small portion of the persecution he endured.

Biblical Principles for Dealing with Backstabbing and Betrayal

Scripture outlines several godly strategies for navigating betrayal and backstabbing.

Examine Your Own Heart First

When experiencing opposition, our first response should be self-reflection. The verses below reveal how important it is to examine our own hearts and motives during conflict:

  • “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3).
  • “Let a man examine himself” (1 Corinthians 11:28).
  • “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord” (Lamentations 3:40).

We all have blind spots and make mistakes. Sometimes, we unintentionally provoke others through our own sin. By humbling ourselves and asking God to reveal any wrong attitudes or behaviors, we can grow through hurtful situations.

Forgive and Release Bitterness

Scripture strongly warns against holding on to bitterness and vengeance. We must seek to forgive even extreme betrayal, just as Christ forgave us:

  • “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:31).
  • “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Hebrews 12:14-15).
  • “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25)
  • “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’” (Matthew 18:21-22)

As these verses demonstrate, forgiveness is an essential part of the Christian walk. Releasing hurt prevents further root damage in our own hearts. Forgiveness also opens the door for potential reconciliation.

Trust God’s Justice and Timing

Rather than taking vengeance, Scripture calls us to trust God to handle injustices in His perfect timing:

  • “Do not say, ‘I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work’” (Proverbs 24:29).
  • “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
  • “The Lord is righteous within her; he does no injustice. Morning by morning he dispenses justice, and every new day he does not fail” (Zephaniah 3:5).

God sees all deeds done in darkness and will bring them to light. We can trust Him to make wrongs right in His perfect way and time, even if we never see justice served in our lifetime.

Avoid Slander and Gossip

Rather than perpetuating lies, Scripture calls us to speak truthfully and keep confidence when someone betrays our trust.

  • “A perverse person spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends” (Proverbs 16:28).
  • “A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much” (Proverbs 20:19).
  • “An evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue” (Proverbs 17:4).

These verses warn strongly against participating in gossip or slander. The most appropriate response is distancing ourselves from toxic conversations that breed discord and distrust. We must also guard our own tongues from retaliating through false accusations.

Seek Reconciliation When Possible

When safe and appropriate, we should open the door for reconciliation. Below are biblical principles for restoring broken relationships:

  • “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother” (Matthew 18:15).
  • “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
  • “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” (Colossians 3:15-16).

With wisdom and discernment, we should lovingly confront issues and give people a chance to make amends when reasonable. Our heart posture should lean towards grace and restoration.

Overcome Evil with Good

Rather than paying back evil for evil, Scripture exhorts us to overcome betrayal and hurt through righteousness:

  • “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).
  • “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17).
  • “See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all” (1 Thessalonians 5:15).

While incredibly difficult, we have the power to walk in integrity and kindness even when attacked unjustly. This breaks destructive cycles of offense and displays Christ’s love in action.

Conclusion & Key Takeaways

In closing, Scripture makes it clear that backstabbing, slander, gossip, and betrayal are very serious sins that deeply damage relationships. As Christians, we should:

  • Examine our own hearts first when conflict arises
  • Forgive those who hurt us and release bitterness
  • Trust God’s justice rather than taking vengeance
  • Avoid participating in gossip or slander
  • Seek reconciliation when reasonable
  • Overcome evil with good through grace and integrity

Though incredibly painful, these trials can refine our Christlike character when we respond biblically. By leaning on God’s strength and wisdom, we can walk in freedom even when deeply hurt by others. Through His transforming power, we can even extend forgiving love to those who persecute us.

I pray this overview equips you to navigate these difficult relational dynamics with grace, discernment, and love. May we all grow in reflecting Christ’s character to a hurting world.

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