Friendly fire isn’t friendly.
It’s when people on your side, on your team accidentally shoot you. The only problem – when you get hit, it hurts just as much as if an enemy shot you!
And the crazy thing is, in the heat of a battle, people may not even realize they’re hurting you.
Sadly friendly fire happens a lot in ministry. And the wound of it goes far beyond the pain of what happened. There is something so deflating, so disheartening about being shot by your own teammates. It’s actually worse than if an enemy shot you.
But never forget Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” Oh your teammate may have pulled the trigger, but whenever friendly fire happens you can be sure there’s someone else behind it.
There is a much greater battle raging! And the enemy loves to use anyone he can, especially people on our team!
I’ll never forget when I started coordinating the women’s Bible studies for our church and the sweetest older woman, one of the other Bible teachers who had been teaching the Bible longer than I’d been alive, suddenly lit into me, yelling and screaming, because she didn’t agree with the way I was running the first meeting. To say I was totally surprised would be an understatement. Before this, I’d never even heard her raise her voice. My heart literally felt torn to shreds.
It may look and feel like the battle is against those who’ve hurt us, but I’m telling you, even though they may have pulled the trigger, or said words that cut us to the quick, according to the Bible our battle is not against them, but “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.”
So note if we don’t quickly forgive – not just for what happened but also for how it made us feel – so easily this can morph into bitterness and our true enemy gains an even greater victory.
Remember, when you are on the front lines, not just following Jesus yourself but helping others do so too – the enemy is doubly eager to destroy you! And he is so ready and eager to use any opportunity that presents itself. So beware! Recognize his warfare for what it is and don’t let bitterness enable him to rob you even more!
And remember, when you are discipling with a generational mindset, well you’re raising up future targets for him, so it’s vital you prepare those you’re meeting with to excel in forgiving – this isn’t just a nice topic to cover, it’s vital for survival in this broken, fallen world… especially for those on the front lines spiritually!
In the “Heal” section, I’ve included resources I use when forgiving and when helping others learn how to forgive.
Honestly, it was a huge struggle to forgive that older woman. Especially as I was young and not at all expecting this. I felt so disillusioned that someone who had taught God’s Word for so many years could act that way. But then I realized, this side of heaven we all blow it! Me included!
I’m so thankful the Lord poured on the grace enabling me to forgive her, because that proved to be the first of many close encounters with friendly fire! And not just requiring me forgiving, but also me needing to be forgiven. We need to beware of inadvertently shooting others too!
Jesus even had to rebuke Peter when the enemy was shooting through him. (Matthew 16:23) This is part of the cost of following Him. But the beauty is when this happens to you, you begin to understand even more what He willingly endured because of His incredible love for us!
Does that ever make it worth staying in the battle!