But how often are friendly fire incidents actually hurt feelings incidents where no biblically defined sin has been committed. Let me give you an example; I heard Dr. J. Vernon McGee say in a sermon that when Satan was cast out of heaven he landed in the choir loft. I use this as an example because it highlights the point we just made. Many Christians have unmended relationships that experienced brokenness over non-sinful issues. One persons child sang the solo in the Christmas program and not another’s, rumors of favoritism begin to swirl, soon the director of the program experiences a smear campaign by disgruntled parents, the child’s parents who got the solo in the Christmas program hears of the dissent and become infuriated with the other set of parents and they quit talking and a rift grows between former friends and the children are no longer allowed to play with each other and eventually, one family leaves the church. Think this is extreme, believe me, it is not! My counsel to those who have been wounded in this manner is simple; Stop it! When no biblical sin has been committed do not become ruled by feeling and emotions, after all, isn’t the Christ child the most important child in the Christmas program and not your child?
We are called to love one another, a command which is directed at our behaviors and not our feelings, and not all personality types within the one body of Christ or extended families are going to mesh. I say this because we need to remember that we can love someone and not like them and the goal here is not to learn how to have the warm fuzzies with every person you meet. The point is what to do when personalities rub and words cause wounds to feelings and emotions and the Bible teaches us that when legitimate sin has been committed provision for how to handle it, this needs to be followed. When friendly fire comes from the non-sinful category, examine it for truth, learn from your critics and do not become overly focused on the method of the messenger. When the friendly fire keeps coming with no relief in sight, do not abandon the Bibles instructions to you in such times and compound the problem with personal guilt. Meditate on praiseworthy things and remember you’ll never find them unless you look for them. We long had a statement from a sermon I gave years ago in our refrigerator door that read: “Love thinks the best even when best might not be true.” This is where dealing with friendly fire must begin, by thinking the best.
As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:13; We have the mind of Christ and this is where friendly fire must first be engaged. Yes, there will be impossible people, but as much as depends on you, be at peace. Yes there are people who do not now nor will they ever want to reconcile with you or stop hurting you, but don’t let them own you. Focus on the praiseworthy things in your life not strictly the hurtful things. You and I will have to examine the words for truth in order to determine if there was sin committed against us or just truth that hurt us because of the method or the messenger rubbing us the wrong way. The truth is the vast majority, though certainly not all, of severed relationships between friends and family members were completely avoidable and mostly repairable. Do the right thing as defined by the word of God and do so for your own sake, and in hopes of restoration where possible and learn to Dance with the Scars of friendly fire.
Excerpt from “Dancing With the Scars” now available on Amazon.