With the birth of the twenty-four-hour news cycle and the development of advanced, sophisticated weaponry, the general public has been made painfully aware of the term friendly fire. During the 1990’s, incidents between coalition troops in the Persian Gulf region brought that deadly phrase into the headlines. But friendly fire is not a new problem, with one of the most significant friendly fire incidents occurring in May of 1863, at the height of the Civil War. The southern Confederate Army, although badly outnumbered, was better led, with General Robert E. Lee at the helm, and the slightly erratic, daring Stonewall Jackson at his side. During a five-day offensive at Chancellorsville, Jackson would be shot twice in his left arm, by his own panicked men. His arm would be amputated, but infection and pneumonia would overwhelm his body, and he would succumb to his injury, an injury inflicted by his own men.
As tragic as this historic record is to our senses, nothing compares to the spiritual pain caused by friendly fire, when we are wounded by a companion, a trusted fellow-worker, an ally; when our motives are questioned by those closest to us; when the source of the gossip is a friend; when the knife in our back is held by a fellow believer. King David understood that pain, “For it was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have borne it…But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.” I could have borne the pain if it were afflicted by my enemy, but the source of my heartbreak is my friend, my companion. When David was fleeing the wrath of jealous King Saul, it would come as no surprise that “Doeg the Edomite…would surely tell Saul” of David’s position. Doeg was an ally of King Saul, and the sworn enemy to those who could threaten Saul’s throne. Of course, he would betray David, but this “man after God’s own heart” was about to suffer the pain of friendly fire.
The men of Ziph were about to deliver David into the hands of the wrathful Saul. David had recently rescued their border town of Keilah from an onslaught of the neighboring Philistine army. David had risked his life to save this vulnerable town, and now God informs David that these same citizens he defended with his own blood would “deliver thee (David) up.” The sting of betrayal had to be intense, the desire for revenge, overwhelming, the up-swelling of bitterness, deeply rooted. All are natural responses to friendly fire, but none resolve the issue. But David left all thoughts of revenge on the altar of his trust in his God, “But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction…but I will trust in thee.”
God alone can heal the wound of friendly fire and replace revenge with forgiveness and love.
Psalm 55:16 As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.
Lord, when hurts come from those closest to us, the pain is deep. Help us to respond in love and forgiveness rather than in revenge.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-2797-628f5c19bc340' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=2797&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-2797-628f5c19bc340' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-2797-628f5c19bc340' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>