Friendly Fire



Growing up in church was and is always interesting. You are certain to hear the stories of the Israelites forever fighting against their enemies the “Ites”. Amalakites, Perrizites, Cananites and Philistines in your Sunday school classes. 


We are captivated by the heroics of David defeating Goliath, the exploits and victories of Joshua, Gideon and Deborah. We are encouraged to model and imitate these heroes of the faith and know that we will be attacked by those who don’t share our belief system.


However, what happens when the enemy is an “ite” but of a friendly nature? When the enemy shares your beliefs? When the enemy is an Israelite?


What do we do, how do you handle the attack? We can learn a few things from scripture. David was pursued by his own son Absalom. Psalm chapter 3 gives us a hint as to how David in the midst of panic and confusion was able to be resilient. He still had to fight, he still had to face fear. He, however, rested and slept knowing that God would protect him from his enemies. 

Imagine asking God to defend you from your own family. Definitely not a happy place. 


Joseph was sold into slavery, not by the evil enemies of his father but his very own brothers. What was the root of this? Just plain jealousy. Joseph was the youngest sibling and simply shared a vision, a dream that he had, his God-given life purpose. His brothers didn’t appreciate the fact that he would one day “rule” over them.

We have the advantage of reading the narrative from beginning to end, however, Joseph had to live it. He endured every second of slave trading, every second of deceit, every second of jail. It is only at the end Joseph could say, you all meant this for evil but, in hindsight it was for all of our good. 


There are more examples I could list however, I would just do the best model of all Jesus. Jesus was a Jew who came to the Jews; the Jews rejected him and were the loudest voices and instigators for his crucifixion. Judas was hand-picked to become the rat that would hand Jesus over, the sell-out. When Jesus taught the disciples, he taught Judas too. When he prayed for them, he prayed for Judas too. When he washed their feet, he washed Judas’ as well. Funny that Jesus picked the man that would sell him out (that is for another time). Jesus never ill-treated Judas, he stayed mostly silent during his interrogations while the people he came to cried to crucify him, and still he asked his heavenly father to forgive them. 


As I survey my life, I recognize most of the attacks I have received did not come from hostile fire, it came from within the community that share the same beliefs that I do. The thing about the Sunday school stories is that they don’t prepare you for friendly fire. You anticipate attacks to come from the liars, fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals that exist outside, not from the community. Truthfully, many times I received more help, more grace, more support from outside. Not because I gave up my beliefs, but because I do my best to respect people and to work well with all who cross my path. 


How to deal with friendly fire? Here’s what I learned so far in my short sojourn on earth.


  1. It’s not about me – I am only responsible for and in control of my thoughts, my feelings, my action and my words. 
  2. Propulsion – I let it propel me to pursue my goals, my peace, things that I enjoy and people that have a genuine interest and care in seeing me do well.
  3. Silence – Silence is gold. I don’t always have to defend myself, I don’t always have to share my opinions and thoughts, I don’t always have to share my goals and plans. 
  4. Speak up – There is a time for everything. I choose wisely when to fight and when to walk. Sometimes walking is part of the fight. 


What do you do when the attack comes from friendly fire?