Have you ever been betrayed in a way that makes it difficult for you to trust anyone? And if you have been in a place where you don’t trust, has it been hard to take risks with other people?
If you answered yes to these questions, you aren’t alone. Nothing erodes trust like betrayal. And, when you have a hard time trusting people, it is very hard to have healthy relationships with people. It is also hard to take chances, because you always fear that betrayal will happen again.
Michonne has clearly had some trust issues this season that had not been explained to us. It may be hard to remember, but at the end of last season, she was full of idealism and enthusiasm as she was putting together her charter. She also seemed up to the challenges of leadership, until we saw her at the beginning of this season. This season she has been guarded and suspicious. She and Daryl also have some scars on their back that were a mystery… until tonight.
Tonight, we learned about what happened during the six year time jump between the seasons that changed both Michonne and Daryl. And they both have emotional and physical scars as a reminder.
I can’t imagine how horrible it must have been to be put in that situation that Michonne was put in by Jocelyn. She had to make a choice to kill child soldiers, in order to save her own children from being killed. It may seem like an easy decision, but it was not. Just ask any soldier who has ever had to fight against child soldiers. But we can’t forget that it was Jocelyn, Michonne’s close friend from the pre-walker world, who put her in this tough situation. This is probably one of the toughest situations that any soldier could ever be in, and now we understand why she has trust issues.
While Michonne’s reaction has been to not let anyone in to her compound, we now understand why. We also learn that Judith remembers the situation, even though she was a toddler when it happened.
At the end of the episode, Michonne talks to Judith about it.
Michonne:I was standing right there, and it was like you didn’t know me. For a second, I thought I thought I was too late. I thought that you’d changed and that I’d lost you.
Judith:You didn’t look like you. Because of the blood. But then I saw it was. And I was happy you’d found me.
Michonne:You remember that? What else?
Judith:Jocelyn. Her kids. They were nice to us the whole time. I remember they made it all seem like a game, so we went with them. But she was a bad person. They all were. It’s why you did what you did.
Michonne:All this time, I thought you didn’t remember. I hoped you didn’t. And you… You never said anything after that first year.
Judith:Because it made you sad.
Michonne:What I’ve done at home I thought you didn’t understand because you didn’t know. But you did. So how the hell are we here right now?
Judith:Our friends need our help.
Michonne:Oh, Judith, it’s not that simple.
Judith:Yes, it is. You’re my mom. You chose to be. Because you love me, and I love you.
Judith:And loving someone means doing whatever it takes to keep them safe, right? But when did we stop loving Daryl? Aunt Maggie? Carol? The King?
Judith:Then why does it feel that way?
Judith remembers Michonne killing Jocelyn and most of her child soldiers (except for Winnie who is still out there. What are the chances we might run into her again?) But Judith also doesn’t understand the trust issues that Michonne is going through. This may be something that she will never understand, unless she becomes a mother someday. But fortunately, it seems like this conversation has made Michonne rethink why she is so suspicious of everyone.
Perhaps she is realizing that she is surrounded by people who she can trust already. She also may be realizing that her fear of betrayal is preventing her of taking risks that really need to be taken. It is hard to say, but in the next two weeks we are probably going to know.
In my life, I relate to this. I have been betrayed and I have betrayed people in the past, and both things have made it hard for me to trust. For those whom I have betrayed, I feel guilt and frustration that they are no longer in my life (this is often what happens). I also learned about how capable I have been of making terrible decisions. For those who have betrayed me, I have had to learn to forgive. Especially in the light of some of the things I have done to others. But I have also had to learn to trust. And, for me, learning to trust has always been about where I stood.
For Michonne, she stands in a place surrounded by people she can trust. For me, I stand in a place surrounded by people I can trust, but more importantly, I have a God whom I trust. And that has made all the difference.
One of my favorite scriptures about this is in Hebrews 13.
For God has said,
“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”
6 So we can say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper,
so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me.
Hebrews 13:5b-6 (NLT)
While this verse is a reference to Old Testament passages in Deuteronomy 31 and Psalm 118, I love how the writer of Hebrews combines them. The author of Hebrews is reminding us that God’s faithfulness to us makes it so we do not have to fear. I love the quote from Psalm 118 that says “what can mere people do to me?”
If we can trust God in everything, who do we have to fear? Think about that for a minute. I admitted that I have betrayed people. Many of you, if you are honest, can say that you have done the same (probably most of you). But this just isn’t the case for God. He has always been trustworthy and He will always be trustworthy. And the fact that He will never fail us gives us a place to stand. It also gives us the freedom to forgive others, and the freedom to take risks in relationships.
The simple fact is that people will betray us. And that makes it harder to trust people. But knowing that God will never fail us, means that we have very little to fear. And that is part of the awesome beauty of being in a relationship with a perfect and trustworthy God.
SEASON 9, EPISODE 14 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
- Michonne didn’t want to let Lydia inside the compound. Do you think that was a wise decision?
- She eventually let Lydia in because she trusted Daryl. Did that surprise you? Why or why not?
- Daryl and Michonne shared this terrible experience in common. What do you think that did to their relationship?
- While Michonne clearly has trust issues, do you think it is true that she doesn’t trust anyone? Why or why not?
- Jocelyn was a trusted friend who betrayed Michonne in the worst possible ways. How do you think that this contributed to her other relationships?
- Do you think the fact that this happened while Rick was gone, changed how Michonne would have dealt with it?Why or why not?
- Have you ever betrayed by someone who trusted you? How did that affect your relationship with them and others?
- Have you ever been betrayed by someone you trusted? How did that affect your relationship with them and others?
- Have you ever noticed how it is easier to trust people when you are surrounded by those you trust? If so, how do you account for that?
- Does knowing that God is completely trustworthy change how we view relationships with others? Why or why not?
- Do you need to rethink your own trust issues, in light of these bible verses? Why or why not?
Thom McKee Jr. is a husband, father, pastor… and film geek (and brother of Jonathan McKee). Thom lives in Northern California with his wife and two kids.