This article is continued from Linda Garrett-Johnson’s article, “Finding the road to healing after experiencing friendly fire.”
Before we look at how to find and access this road, let’s talk about the impact to the body of Christ, the church, when we have ‘casualties’ or ‘walking wounded.’ God meets needs and works through His people. Each of us has been created with a unique purpose and role in God’s salvation plan; and have been given gifts (that must be developed and refined) to fulfill it. And as it states in I Corinthians 12:18 (NIV), “God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” In other words, God predetermined before our birth our role in His salvation plan and our place in the body of Christ (Jeremiah 1:5). When we leave the body of Christ because of a painful relational ‘friendly fire’ experience it leaves a void, because our role is empty, our gifts missing. When we are a part of the body of Christ, but are not allowing God to fully work through us and use the gifts He placed in us, it leaves another type of void. It’s like having a hand with a finger that is not fully functioning. The impact is that collectively the body of Christ is not as effective at advancing God’s plan to “seek and save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10 NLT).
Finding the road that leads to healing and taking our place in the body of Christ starts by understanding the primary reason our common enemy uses ‘friendly fire’ as a tool (weapon) within the body of Christ: to render us ineffective for use by God. One of the ways we find the road to healing and connection is by way of the path of forgiveness. Forgiveness turns on the switch that lights the path to healing. Forgiveness is what we do and it is not contingent upon a response from the other person; although God requires us to forgive others (Matthew 18:21-35). Forgiveness does not necessarily mean that a damaged relationship will be fully restored. Forgiveness is first between us and God because we forgive someone from our heart.
Love is the power by which we access the road to healing. And I can hear it now, “You’re asking me to love the person who hurt me?” Love in this case is an action or behavior. I remember having many candid conversations with God I’ve had after experiencing a ‘friendly fire’ experience. My feelings at the time,did not change the fact that as a part of God’s family my action of love toward those who hurt me meant I would not be keeping a “record of wrongs” (I Corinthians 13:5).
When we turn on the switch (forgiveness) and the power (love) begins to shine light on the path it allows God to begin the process of healing our wounded heart. The road to healing, by way of forgiveness and acting in love, allows God access to our heart to plant in it the desire to once again find our place and connect to other and the body of Christ.