For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Galatians 5:13-15
There are misunderstandings and there are misunderstandings.
Less than two weeks ago, a military patrol made up of Afghan military and coalition forces came under attack. The patrol, which had completed an operation and managed to arrest some insurgents, was headed back to the base when the shooting began.
Believing they were being attacked by the enemy, the patrol returned fire and called in an air strike to take out the enemy's position. It was then they realized the position was that of an outpost manned by Afghan's National Army.
A representative of the government called it a "misunderstanding." Another individual said it was a "regrettable incident."
It was a misunderstanding that left two dead and a number of Afghan soldiers wounded.
It is always a terrible tragedy when your own troops are brought down by "friendly fire." It is a tragedy in war; it is a tragedy in the Church. Sharp tongues, inconsiderate behavior, overzealous positioning can all can lead to brother and sister Christians being wounded or killed.
Friendly fire certainly isn't what Jesus wanted, and it's not what the early Church encouraged.
St Paul's warning to the Church in Galatia is representative of the urgings given to the Church in general: we are to serve each other in love. When that happens, when we love our neighbor as ourselves, everyone is built up and the witness we make to an unbelieving world is a positive one.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, even as we pray none of our loved ones will ever become the victims of friendly fire on the battlefield, so we pray our fellow Christians may be kept safe from friendly fire. May we always be known for the way we love and support each other. In Jesus' Name, I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries