“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” -Winston Churchill
The Apostle Paul had to confront Peter…it wasn’t pretty, yet necessary. Confrontations still occur in the Church (big C)…sometimes it’s necessary, sometimes it is personality conflicts, sometimes it’s just plain sinful.
Questions: How can we tell the difference? How do we know when we’ve been a victim of friendly fire and what can we do about it?
Thoughts like “I thought you were my friend“, “I guess I finally see your true colors“, and “how could you? How could I be so blind and dumb?” run through your head but it still doesn’t eliminate the hurt and ache of the heart. It could take years for that sort of pain to finally fade away. Friendly fire causes hurts that no enemy could ever inflict because friends are closer, friend should be trusted, friends should have your back…not stab it.
Call me a cynic, but I’m no longer as naive as I once was. Friendly fire happens, and it is most definitely not absent from the church, let alone this army. When it happens we run the possibility of losing trust, every last bit of remaining trust in others including fellow comrades in this fight.
To the offenders of “Friendly Fire” –
Before You Pull The Trigger
What will it benefit?
Who is your target?
Is it motivated because of pride, power, ambition, a need to be right?
Is it motivated by righteous indignation? Will it help or hinder the mission of Christ?
Is it necessary? What will the fall out be? Have you prayed about this? Is this really what God would have you do?
This isn’t Black and White…
There is no simple answer here.
We cannot chalk every instance of “friendly fire” up to someone being right and someone being wrong. Pride and even arrogance sometimes plays a part in these tragedies. Wrong motivations tainted with pride, arrogance and rage should be called what it truly is – SIN.
Let’s face it, friendly fire can be an amazingly effective tool used by the Father of Lies to divide and conquer God’s people. Far too many incidents of friendly fire have been executed with ill intentions towards another part of the body of Christ. Brothers and Sister in Christ, THIS CANNOT BE! We cannot allow ourselves to be taken in by such a sickness. We are all sinners saved by grace, there is no one, no not one (Rom 3:10) who is perfect or holier than another saint in this Army. We are all still in need of redeeming and of this unmerited grace. We must come to the well of holiness daily…even moment by moment. When we fall victim to friendly fire whether we are the perpetrator or the one being shot, we reflect more of the world than we do of Christ.
Yes. These do and should happen from time to time. Spiritual discipline is both scriptural and necessary if done correctly. They must be conducted with every ounce of grace and love that is humanly possible. But remember this: we are in the salvation and restoration business not the firing squad of judgement and damnation.
Disagreements and Personal Difference Of Opinion?
Yes. We are uniquely created. We possess various opinions and view points. We all grew up in many different home life scenarios and our worldviews have been shaped by these experiences. We will not always see eye to eye with each other on a vast realm of topics from politics, sports teams, favorite books, genres of music, artists, even practical thoughts on what “worship” looks like. We are all different…yet we are all unified by one amazing source of hope, liberation and love – Christ Jesus. Will we disagree from time to time? Absolutely. We will probably attempt to avoid these disagreements. We will probably squabble about our view points and sometimes struggle with the need to always be right…yet…be mindful of our unifier. Be mindful of our foundational cornerstone. Be mindful of how unique and diverse this body of Christ truly is.
From the Word:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
“I (Paul) appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” 1 Corinthians 1:10
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:13-14
“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” 1 Peter 3:8
Be careful dear fellow soldiers in this great army of Salvation. Love each other. Be the best representation of Christ to your fellow comrades in this fight as you can be! Reflect Christ not only in the corps halls but in your daily lives. Pray about certain things like pride and arrogance in your life. We all struggle with these emotions and temptations from time to time. Take care to lift each other’s burdens up before the Lord in prayer. Think first before you pull the trigger on any kind of harmful action upon a fellow soldier, officer or adherent. Don’t allow Satan a foothold in this fellowship. Don’t become divided because of selfish desires or ambitions grounded in this fallen world. Instead be a source of hope and love. Rise above any and all malicious intent or evil action. Take charge of your life first and be led by the Lord in both word and deed. Live above any influence that is contrary to the lives that we are called to live as children of God.
Avoid friendly fire…forgive those who shoot you. That seems impossible, yet we hold the power to display Christ or the power to display our old ways of living…it’s our choice to make.
Something more for our Army world to ponder today. To God be the glory.