Friday, April 11, 2008

Friendly Fire

One of the tragedies of war is something called "Friendly Fire". In the American Heritage Dictionary it is defined as

n. Discharge of a military weapon that injures or kills a member of one's own armed forces or an ally.
Normally this happens because of obscured vision, the aim was off, or bad intelligence was provided. The consequences can be tragic. A soldier can lose their life. If they suffer physical injury, they must live with it daily that the injury was caused by a comrade.

As a Christian we are in a spiritual war against hell itself. We are in the field with enemy fire all around us. The "friendly fire" we face in our battlefield can be just as devastating.

A stray word meant for someone else can actually ricochet. One comment I hear from non-church goers is, "Why would I want to go be with a bunch of hypocrits? The way some christians talk is no different from non-christians!"

Gossip cloaked as prayer requests can rally a well-meaning Christian to blast another for possible sinful behavior, and another casualty of war falls out of church.

The most common instance is being blinded by our own sin, we strike out in anger at our own loved ones like they are the enemy. When the smoke clears, we want to take back those words and recall the bombs we lobbed but it is too late. Our loved one's trust is mortally wounded and it may take years to recover.

How do we avoid "friendly fire" in our walk with Christ? The Bible says do not associate with a gossip. (Proverbs 20:19) Be careful how you receive prayer requests. Are you truly praying for that person, or are you "passing it on" to the next "concerned" friend?

Proverbs 26:18-19 says that a person who deceives his neighbor and then claims it as a joke is like a crazy person shooting flaming arrows. Think about what you're saying before you let loose with cutting remarks. Saying you were joking does not repair the injury at all. You're only trying to duck the blame for the pain you caused.

In Matthew 7:1-6 Jesus tells us to check ourselves before we try to point out what another person's problems are. When you find the statement, "You know what your problem is?" bubbling up in your mouth, stop and make sure what irks you about someone else is not exactly what God wants you to deal with!

Today you can start over--that's what God is all about: new beginnings. Ask God to remind you of those you have hurt with friendly fire. Go to those people or write a letter and ask forgiveness. Our God is a god of restoration. If they refuse your apology, don't get angry. You've done your part. After that it's God's turn to work on their heart.

Finally, if you do find yourself in a battle with a loved one, stop and do what a good friend once told me. Take that person's hand gently and tell them, "You are not my enemy!"

We are in a war and the book of Revelation says we will win. That should strengthen your resolve to keep up the good fight. Just remember to be sure of your target.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual {forces} of wickedness in the heavenly {places.}
Ephesians 6:12

1 comment:

A. M. Wilson said...

Well said, dear friend.