Different technological systems have been developed for friendly fire avoidance.
From time to time during military conflicts and wars, friendly fire incidents occur. These are occurrences where a person or vehicle from one side, accidentally targets and fires upon another person or vehicle that is on the same side. In the past, the technique for friendly fire avoidance was for the opposing armies to have their own recognisable uniforms. In modern times this type of clothing has been replaced by camouflage clothing designed to blend in, vehicles are similarly designed to not stand out. This has required a different approach towards friendly fire and different technological systems have been developed for friendly fire avoidance.
The Church has also had it’s share of friendly fire incidents.
Sometimes though, friendly fire is not accidental. Sometimes people who had previously fought side by side turn on each other. Both the US and England, have had civil wars in their past and during these times both countries would have been vulnerable to outside attack. Jesus said in Mark 3:25 from the English Standard Version, “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand“. It is perhaps because of the Christian heritage of both the US and England, that such attacks did not come and as such they continued to stand. The Church has also had it’s share of what could be referred to as ‘friendly fire’ incidents, although in most cases these have not exactly been accidental. These Christian against Christian attacks have been going on for centuries, sometimes in the form of physical attacks and sometimes in the form of verbal or written attacks.
The devil seeks to bring strife and division wherever he can.
I wrote about division within the Church in my post, ‘Diversity and Division‘, and now I want to look at things on a more personal level – within a church, or within a family. This is how The Living Bible translates Mark 3:25, “A home filled with strife and division destroys itself“. The devil is well aware of this, which is why he seeks to bring strife and division wherever he can. The tagline used on the poster for the movie Captain America: Civil War was ‘United We Stand. Divided We Fall’, a quote which has it’s origins in Mark 3:25. During the film, an antagonist seeks to turn Captain America and his fellow Avengers against each other. But he does this very subtly behind the scenes, only revealing his involvement when the damage has already been done. This is exactly the way that the devil operates, he subtly seeks to cause disagreements and then pushes people to stand their ground because they are in the right. But we need to recognise what’s going on, we need to recognise that the devil is seeking to ‘divide and conquer’. If you want another good reason to avoid strife, there is a very strong warning given in the King James Version of James 3:16, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work“.
We are not attempting this in our own strength.
Avoiding strife is not always easy, especially when you are not experienced at avoiding it – like anything, it takes practice. But the incentive to keep on practicing is to ask yourself the question, “Do I want to open the door to confusion and every evil work?“. I’m guessing you probably don’t, so how do we do it? How do we avoid strife? Well firstly, lets remember that we are not attempting this in our own strength, Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”. It is through the power of Christ within us, that we will get the victory in this area and it begins with us asking God for His help and making a decision to avoid strife.
Let someone else have the last word and you keep your peace.
Let’s look next at some practical ways that we can avoid strife. Sometimes the problem is that we are convinced that we are right, and therefore we are determined to have the last word. We need to remember though, that even though we may well be right (or quite possibly not), what’s more important is to shut the door on “confusion and every evil work“. Instead of trying to get the last word, let someone else have the last word and you keep your peace. You keep your joy. Contrary to popular belief this will not make you look weak, it’s just the opposite—the strongest person is the one that humbles themselves and steps back. This is by no means easy and it will certainly take perseverance because it goes completely against the grain of natural human behaviour.
The devil’s attack will have been thwarted.
Other times, strife may seem to come completely out of the blue and you’re not entirely sure what happened. In this case, the answer is the same – hold your peace. Strife is fueled by words, so by stopping talking about the issue – not even trying to backtrack and find out where things got into strife – will remove the fuel from the fire and the devil’s attack will have been thwarted. Simply put, the best way to stop strife in it’s tracks is to cease talking. As I said, this goes completely against the grain of the natural human response, the natural response is the desire to have the last word in every argument. We need to make a concerted effort (with God’s help) to re-wire our brains. We need to train ourselves to act differently than how we have acted in the past. We need to train ourselves until instead of wanting to have the last word, our natural response is to let it go.
Quit wasting your energy on arguments.
For far too long we, as Christians, have unwittingly allowed “confusion and evil work” easy access into our lives and then wondered why our progress in the things of God seemed to have been hindered. So wise up! Quit wasting your energy on arguments. You have a destiny to fulfill. You have an assignment to accomplish – don’t allow anything to distract you from it, don’t allow anything to pull you off course.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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