Pat Tillman, professional athlete turned Army Ranger, died 10 years ago in an attack in Afghanistan. The worst part about this attack is that enemy forces did not carry it out, it was carried out by friendly forces AKA Friendly Fire.
Friendly fire is loosely defined as “an attack by a military force on friendly forces while attempting to attack the enemy, either misidentifying the target as hostile, or due to errors or inaccuracy. Such attacks often cause injury or death.”
This was a terrible tragedy resulting in loss of life, a decrease in combat effectiveness, and utter embarrassment for the US Armed Forces.
This incident was a completely preventable occurrence. Of course in the course of battle it is sometimes difficult to discern what exactly is going on, where the enemy is located, where friendly forces are located, etc.
Here’s the thing though, friendly fire is not only occurring overseas during war. It is alive and well within the church.
Just think about it, we have a very real enemy that is out to “steal, kill, and destroy” and we have Christians battling each other over meaningless things.
Now don’t get me wrong, there is a place for debate within the church. Always has been and always will be. People have deeply held convictions and God is beyond our comprehension. There will be differences within the church.
What I am saying, is that we need to be careful that we don’t forget our primary mission when we engage in these debates with fellow Christians. Our mission is not to win debates against fellow believers. It is not to be right all the time. It is not to be a theological mastermind. And honestly, from personal experience, I can tell you that most of these debates are a waste of time.
Hear me on this, truly hear me on this and think about it:
The world is full of dying people that need the hope of Jesus.
Question- how effective are you going to be at 1) battling the enemy and 2) reaching the lost if you are engaged in a battle with your buddy in the trenches next to you?
Answer- Not as effective as you could be.
I pray that we would embrace this reality, and devote our full energy to the mission of Jesus Christ.