Proverbs 12:18 – Reckless words pierce like a sword.
How painful are the wounds of a friend. The pain goes deep and lingers. We walk in disbelief that someone so close to us, someone we trusted, someone who has access to our heart and emotions, could cause such pain. Friendly fire: “fire, as by artillery, by one’s own forces, especially when causing damage near or casualties to one’s own troops.” At one moment, you are in the battle together, moving forward; the next moment, you are hit by someone in your own unit. Confusion, shock, and disbelief. How could this happen? The safety and strength you felt as part of a stronger force suddenly disappears and you feel vulnerable and unsure. Maybe I am walking in the wrong direction. Maybe I don’t know my fellow soldiers as well as I thought. Was I too trusting?
When we have been hurt by those within the body of Christ, we can go to our Lord and Savior for understanding and compassion. He suffered in this area more than any of us ever will. The ultimate betrayal – Judas’ kiss – was from one he loved dearly. Did Jesus stop loving him? No, he didn’t even lash out in anger. Christ knew that this was all a part of God’s plan – God would use it for good. This is the part that we can’t get our minds around – how God can utilize hurt, pain, and suffering for good. In our culture, these conditions warrant outrage and even judgment. In God’s kingdom, we are to turn the other cheek and pray for them. Obviously, this is a supernatural act – our human nature recoils at this response. As we consider the hurt we have sustained, let us also be reminded of the myriad times that we have walked in disobedience, dishonored God’s name, and said cruel words that have hurt others. We are not blameless ourselves, and we need as much mercy and grace as the one who has caused us such deep pain and sorrow.