The Christian life is often likened to a battle. The armour of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 helps us understand that we’re meant to face the enemy head on. The Roman soldier that Paul was considering when he wrote about it was only protected when facing the enemy. There was no real protection from the rear.
However, sadly, there are times when the wounding comes from the very direction we didn’t expect. This has happened in almost all battlefield situations around the world. The soldier gets wounded or maimed, not from direct conflict with the known enemy, but from ‘friendly fire’ – wounded by his or her own people. `Friendly fire` is described as `weapon fire coming from one`s own side that causes accidental injury or death to one`s own forces`.
Paul mentions such ‘friendly fire’ in the passage we’re considering today. To be honest I don’t like the term. It isn’t friendly, and in the Christian life it really shouldn’t be happening at all. Paul tells Timothy he was deserted by everyone in Asia, especially by the two people he’d trusted the most. That wounding can also come through negative words, gossip, and slander from those we thought were watching our back, not stabbing it!
The wounds of so called ‘friendly fire’ are often the hardest to bear. King David expressed the pain experienced so well in Psalm 55; especially verses 12-14 where he’s referring to the actions of his son Absalom. These wounds bring us down, make us feel deeply hurt, and we can feel tempted to give up. What’s the answer? Paul encourages Timothy in 2 Timothy 2: 1, ‘You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus’. Grace – God’s grace that is in Christ Jesus. The same grace that God told Paul would be sufficient for him in 2 Corinthians 12:9. The same grace that was made perfect in weakness. We’re not to judge others, but to forgive them, and continue to fight on, leaning on Jesus and leaving Him to deal with the situations.
Has this happened to you? Have you been the victim of ‘friendly fire’? If you have then you’ll know only too well how painful that wounding can be. But don’t allow it to take you out of the battle; God’s grace will prove more than sufficient if you employ it. Or perhaps you’ve been the one who has initiated that ‘friendly fire’ and can see the devastating effect it’s had on a fellow brother or sister. Then let the Lord show you how wrong that is – repent, ask the wounded for forgiveness and link together again to face the enemy side by side. Don’t do Satan’s work for him.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You know all about what I’ve gone through or am going through and how painful that wounding from fellow believers has proved to be. I choose now to forgive them and not to allow the enemy to take me out of the battle. I trust that You will prove again that Your grace truly is sufficient for me. Your strength is made perfect in weakness, and I confess that right now I feel very weak – so I qualify! If I’ve been the cause of any wounding of my fellow Christian soldiers, please reveal it to me so I can repent and seek to put things right. In Your precious name I pray, Amen.
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