Friendly Fire, is a term used by the military mostly to describe a wound or a kill of someone on your own side. It’s tragic. It’s accidental. And it happens.
Today in Denver a Policeman is being buried after being killed by Friendly Fire. Another officer mistook this man for a suspect. One officer fired. Another officer died. A tradgey. A mistake. It happened. In a flash – two lives destroyed.
But there is another kind of Friendly Fire we seldom hear about. It’s tragic. It’s accidental. And it happens. A lot!
It’s the emotional Friendly Fire we inflict upon ourselves and others. Sometimes blood is spilled, but more often than not our spirit takes the force of the blows. Our self-preserving shields can withstand a lot, but even they have their breaking point.
Emotional Friendly Fire destroys everything in it’s path as much as any rocket or bomb. It rips apart families, marriages, friendships and worst of all, it rips apart your soul.
A man wakes up and starts his day. Within a few hours he learns that his bank account is nearly depleted. Luckily he has a savings account. He transfers money from his savings account to cover incoming expenses. Although he should be grateful he has a savings account on which to draw, he loads a round into the chamber and pulls the trigger. Bang! Then, instead of light… Darkness.
An emotional bullet finds its target. His heart and his mind explode. On the outside he looks perfectly healthy. But inside, he is badly wounded. From the muzzle of self-hatred comes a second round. This time of much larger caliber. This bullet carries a message along with pain. It’s the message of worthlessness and despair. Of uselessness and failure. The message hits home and rings like the peel of a doomsday bell. “You’re finished. Washed Up. Good for nothing.” Friendly Fire.
Though critically wounded our man stumbles through the day, looking for help in all the wrong places. Instead of seeking shelter and healing, he unleashes a barrage of Friendly Fire from his emotionally broken gatling gun. He fires aimlessly at everyone in his path. His wife and children run for cover. But there is no place to hide. His co-workers hear the unmistakeable sound of Friendly Fire in the office and tremble in their cubicles, praying the Soul Assassin will not find them. During lunch a clerk makes the fatal error of asking, “How’s your day going?” The look from our wounded soldier tells him, he’d better bring the food fast and not say another word. Soon hours have passed like minutes. Carnage is everywhere. On the streets. At work. At home. But mostly in his heart. Friendly Fire.
Strangely, along his path of destruction he remembers hearing a still, small voice. “I am here. I am with you. I will help you. I will heal you.” Crippled by the pain and bleeding tears, The Soul Assassin turns. With his last ounce of anger-fueled strength, he hurls one more volley of hate-filled missiles at the main cause of all this calamity, frustration, pain and anguish. God!
“Don’t you talk to me ever again. I’m through with you and everyone like you. I’ve followed your rules, attended church, prayed for help weeks ago. Months ago. Years ago. But have you ever once answered my prayers? Have you ever once allowed me a moment of peace. Of feeling like I’m worth the foul air you forced into my lungs at birth? No. Where were you when I needed you? Where were you when my business was failing? Where were you when my marriage was crumbling? Where were you when my child was dying? Where were you? Answer me! Where were you?”
The man, now sweating from exhaustion and anger, slumps to his knees. His weapon falls to his side. “You’re not real. They were right. You’re a stupid myth. A crutch. A bedtime story. Well, you’re too late. I’m sick of fighting. I’m tired of struggling every single day. When do I get to feel good? I HATE YOU!!!”
Collapsing to the ground breathing shallow breaths, a tear streams down a child-like cheek. “Help me God”, he painfully whispers. A warm loving hand touches his head. A still, small voice, almost like a lullaby, floats to his ear. “I am here. I have always been here. I knew you before you were born. I am healing you. Not because you asked. Not so you can go back to war with yourself. But that you may know that I am God.” “Today like everyday, I am your shield, absorbing every round of Friendly Fire. Though you were hurting immensely, I received the brunt of the pain. I did that to show you how much I truly love you.”
“Oh ye of little faith. When will you raise your white flag? When will you stop fighting yourself and every one you encounter. When will you give up the hurt, the pain, the deep self-loathing.” “Don’t you know you are so much more to me than your bank account? Don’t you realize that I don’t care what you do. I care who you are.” “Dear sweet child, come and rest and let me heal all the those self-inflicted wounds. Let me apply my heart-healing love to every portion of you. Let me give you the life you never knew you had. And let me show you what love truly is.”
“I know you have little strength, but I will lift you up. Lean on me. Take up my burden, for it is light as a cloud. Pleasant as the voice of a newborn babe. Sweet and light as the freshest high mountain breeze. Let my love comfort you while you trudge through this winter of time. I will keep you warm and safe. I will guide you if you’ll let me. For on the other side, I’ll be waiting.” And I will surely welcome you home.”
The man rises slowly. He feels a bit foolish. “Was I dreaming?” He takes a calming, life-giving breath. Then another. His moistened eyes now drying, he picks up his friendly firearm which casts long shadow more cross- like than a weapon of self-destruction. Soul Assassin no more, he sees the task ahead. Sheepishly, he asks forgiveness from those he has injured. The Friendly Fire was not meant for them.
Alone that evening, safe – warm – resurrected. He lifts his voice and quietly says “Thank You Father.” Sleep comes softly, sweetly to a heart renewed by love.