Pat Tillman played safety for the Arizona Cardinals for four years. He was offered a 3.6 million dollar contract in 2002 but he chose to leave his football career behind and join the Army. It was the attack on America on 9/11 that motivated him to join the military. He was trained as an army ranger, which is an elite force equipped for special operations. He was sent to Afghanistan to fight in the war on terror in Operation Freedom. He was killed on April 22, 2004. The sad thing is, he was killed by friendly fire from our own artillery.
During the Persian Gulf War, our troops took on the Iraqi forces and won an outstanding victory. We had very few casualties but the majority of our troops were victims of “friendly fire” from our own artillery.
Friendly fire is when your own soldiers become your worst enemy. You can’t prepare for it and you never see it coming.
Friendly fire is one of the few things that can destroy a church. We’ve seen from history that persecution or a major tragedy can’t destroy a church. In fact, in most cases, it will strengthen it. When churches have burned to the ground, the people rally and declare they will build again and be bigger and stronger than ever. Let someone attack the church from without or have believers hounded or jailed for their beliefs and church folks will get riled up. But if you want the church to split, let someone start a rumor or start sowing discord. Let someone start a whispering campaign and it won’t be long before people will start looking for another church. There are a lot of churches in existence today simply as a result of church splits.
The fact is, we can destroy each other with our words, we can destroy the church with our words, and we can hurt and devour one another with our words!
Proverbs 21:23 (NLT)
23 Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble.
It’s been said that talk is cheap but nothing is further from the truth. Talk can be very costly!
“The reason a dog has so many friends is because he wags his tail more than his tongue”
Whoever came up with…“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me”…was only making a rhyme! Sticks and stones can break your bones and in time they will heal, but insults, ridicule and sarcasm can hurt and leave wounds and scars for a lifetime.
There’s no worse pain than the pain of betrayal. It’s often in the church where you experience the Judas kiss of betrayal; even Jesus experienced friendly fire!
6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
All it takes is one second, one mistake and one firing of a missile; once it is fired it cannot come back.
The missile is headed for you and the one who fired it is in your own camp.
9 Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.
The tragic thing is that this is not Afghanistan, Iraq, the Battle of the Bulge, or Pork Chop Hill; This is the CHURCH! This is supposed to be a sanctuary, a place of comfort, encouragement and refuge, but there are far too many walking wounded in the body of Christ who have been hurt by friendly fire. A missile that should have been fired at the enemy, but it hit you instead. The truth is our pews and pulpits are filled with hurting people, people who have been hurt from within more so than from without.
It makes no difference how much talent, charisma or ability someone has if they are filled with venom and vile. A caustic and self-righteous spirit will cause you to shoot your own from your arm chair or the back seat. Why would anyone attack their own? Why would anyone criticize and complain against their own who are doing their very best to fight the enemy? Are we not on the same side? Are we not fighting for the same cause?
Galatians 5:15 Amplified Bible
15 But if you bite and devour one another [in bickering and strife], watch out that you [along with your entire fellowship] are not consumed by one another.
When you’re hurting, the last thing you need is to be surrounded by a vicious mob of self-righteous people who are rooting for your downfall and demise.
Job 24:12 a
12 Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out.
Our relationship with God comes into question when we are bent on destroying one another. Friendly fire and being wounded in the house of friends is tragic especially where there should be compassion rather than condemnation!
Ephesians 4:3 Amplified Bible
3 Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful].