Today, we are a nation under friendly fire.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Prov. 14:34).
The Bible says that righteousness exalts a nation, but sin disgraces it. It’s not the wars waged on the outside that wreck havoc and depress a nation and its families. It’s the sin within. It’s the inside job — like friendly fire in a war.
Friendly fire is the hitting of a target without realizing that our own troops are nearby and, therefore, our own end up as casualties.
Yet, it’s not only in the war zones that our nation is under friendly fire. It’s also happening in our hometowns. Our families—even our churches—are being broken from the inside. It’s not what is outside that’s broken up; it’s what is inside.
Friendly fire is one of the devil’s ways of coming against people. Collateral damage can happen in our families. How do we reduce friendly fire that destroys churches, families, relationships and friendships?
- Overcome the Confusion About Who the Enemy Is
“The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had finished off the army of Seir, they turned on each other” (2 Chr. 20:23).
When there is confusion about what the target is, we end up killing one another. The Bible helps us to realize that our spouses, children and bosses are not the enemy.
God reminds us of this again and again because the truth is that the devil is the adversary of our soul. He may use or work through a boss. If we attack symptoms and think we’ve conquered someone, the devil cackles because then, we just killed, ruined or destroyed one of our own.
We must understand that we war not against flesh and blood … not against humans.
“For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realm” (Eph. 6:12).
The Bible says that, if we come under the authority of Christ, He protects us from the evil one. The devil knows that, so he lets us forget who the enemy is and tries to have us destroy one another. Thus, whenever something goes wrong, we fight one another.
- Understand Forgiveness and Repentance
We all need forgiveness.
“… forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ. Since you are God’s dear children, you must try to be like Him” (Eph. 4:32-5:1).
Here’s one thing that will help to reduce collateral damage: when you and I receive forgiveness, forgiveness ignites change.
In other words, when I’ve made a mistake and I receive forgiveness, it ignites change. I change so as to not make that mistake anymore. God has given me the chance to change without holding me to a past mistake. But if I ask for forgiveness or am forgiven but it doesn’t ignite change, then I don’t really understand forgiveness.
It’s all right to ask for forgiveness. If it’s the 100th time that we’ve received forgiveness, then we should be 100 times better. If we’re not, then we don’t yet understand forgiveness. We should ask for forgiveness, but remember — forgiveness ignites change.
- Take Nothing for Granted
Once we take things for granted, life becomes expendable. I am convinced that God is more concerned about our being grateful than just about anything else. If we are grateful, then there will be effervescence — there will be a good sprit in our family. If I lose gratefulness, then everything becomes expendable.
“In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 51:128).
What is God’s will? It’s that in everything, we give thanks. When you have a grateful spirit, everything stays up. There is a sense of treasure; there is a sense of value.
Do you know what one of the first symptoms is that I am losing a sense of gratefulness?
We Get Angry Easily
“… But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
When I find that I am getting angry easily, I know that I’m taking things for granted and things are becoming expendable.
Resolve Rather than Grumble
Do things need to be resolved? Yes, but one of the ways is not by grumbling. When I get angry easily and I start to grumble, it gives birth to all kinds of discontent.
“We must not complain, as some of them did — and they were destroyed by the Angel of Death” (1 Cor. 10:10).
When you are grumbling and complaining, it’s almost like opening the gates to an angel of death into your family.
You see, what happens when we are complaining and grumbling is our spirit gets warped. It mutates our soul. Something happens and the enemy begins to warp us on the inside. That’s why grumbling is so bad.
What do we do then? Figure out a way to resolve it. Resolve rather than complain and it will decrease a lot of the collateral damage.