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Then there is a death by what is called "friendly fire". This happens more by accident and miscalculation than intentionally.  Mistakes are made. Misinformation is taken as gospel truth. Ignorance leads to wrong decisions (despite the decision-maker's sincerity) and soldiers die at the hands of their comrades in arms. This is a tragic way to die in combat but it happens.

Does "friendly fire" in the Church sometimes result in the wounding and maiming of our own people? Sad to say but "YES".  You and I know people who once were very active and effective in their Kingdom role. They were fighting the good fight but were hit by "friendly fire". Such fire is usually in the form of words - words can be very lethal.

These former warriors were wounded by sharp words, maybe critically wounded.  Whatever, they withdrew from the battle, resigned their commission and left the battle altogether. They haven't been seen near a parade ground (Sunday service?) ever since.

A few days ago I was talking with a fellow Pastor and explaining how a particular Church had been badly damaged by what was essentially "friendly fire".  His response was "Why do we do that? Why do we tear ourselves apart as though we didn't have enough spiritual opposition without fighting among ourselves?"

The army that is divided by infighting has almost no chance to ultimately win the war. Our enemy within is not so much those beliefs and values that are universally condemned by Christians everywhere but rather attitudes of pride, lovelessness, manipulation and control.

When I have to always be right and get my own way then my attitude becomes an enemy within. That's when I am most likely to be hit by friendly fire or when I am likely to confuse just who my brother and sister are and I misdirect my line of fire and they can be wounded by friendly fire.

I recall a preacher saying on one occasion, "Your brother is never your enemy! He may speak and act in such a way towards you that suggests otherwise but your brother is never your enemy".

How careful we must be with our words. They can wound or they can heal. May God put a guard on my mouth (or a muzzle!) so that my speech will build up my fellow warriors.

Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. (Eph 4:29 NLT)

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