Skip to content

Killing Our Wounded

August 24, 2013


We are all familiar with the fairy take of a handsome prince who runs afoul of some wicked witch and is turned into a frog. His only hope is for a princess to kiss him, but what if instead of a loving kindhearted princess he is discovered by one with a hankering for frog legs? Sad indeed the picture of this legless frog being cast aside by the cruel princess to whom he had called out for help.
Just as cruel is a scene from some forgotten battle where a band of men fight against some enemy. Their weapons are powerful when they fight as one, but no matter how carefully they fight, the missiles flung at them by the enemy wound some of their number. The medic, who is there to aid and comfort the wounded, is instead moving among them shooting each in the heart!
What hellish visions are these? How could anyone be as cruel as the heartless princess or the uncaring medic? Look around you (and perhaps within as well); within the church today are countless men and women who seem to relish shooting our wounded whenever they have an opportunity. Those who become wounded in our on going battle against our only real enemy (Eph.6: 18) are often further wounded by the cruel remarks which their brothers and sisters throw at them. Why is this? Do we fear to be tainted by the sins of those who have fallen or do we perhaps see within others’ failures our own wounds that have not yet been made public?
God tells us that He looks at people differently than we do (1Sam.16: 7). He is never surprised by the fall of one of His children because He has watched the step-by-step descent that person has taken until, at last, his sin becomes public. Where we have seen a pillar of the community and a mighty saint of God, He has viewed with sorrow one of His own who chooses the temporary pleasures of this life over the call to be transformed, not conformed (Rom.12: 1, 2).
Perhaps this assault upon those who have fallen is the result of our anger at being deceived. Those to whom we looked as an example perhaps, who seemed to be doing so well; when their failures become known seem to bring such harm not only to their own lives, but the lives of others as well. Trust betrayed engenders the hottest flames within our hearts, but we forget with such emotion who it is that is the most injured party when any of us fail. When David stayed home and lived an indolent life instead of remaining at the head of the armies of Israel (as was his duty), he opened himself to the tempter’s snare. What began as laziness became lust and adultery. When he learned that Bathsheeba had conceived, he sought to cover up his sin through hypocrisy and deceit. Failing that, he plotted with Joab (David’s general over the army) to have Uriah, Bathsheeba’s husband, placed in a situation which would lead to his death.
David, the sweet psalm singer of Israel, the man after God’s own heart (1Sam.13: 14; Ac. 13:22) convinced himself that his problems were over thus further demonstrating the depths to which he had sunk. David had shamed himself, his throne and the nation of Israel. How tongues must have wagged at his ordering Bathsheeba brought to him and his efforts to cover over his sin. But the one he had most wronged was the God who had taken him from the sheepfold to the throne room (1Sam.11: 27; Ps. 51: 4).
When we further assault a brother or sister who has been wounded by our real enemy, we exceed the clear commands of God for confronting sin within the body of the church. God desires we do so not to hurt, but to heal and restore that one to fellowship within the church (Mt.18: 15-17; Ga. 6:1, 2). We must not condone sin, but neither should we cut the legs out from under one who is staggering under the wounds that Satan has afflicted him. We must look at our bothers and sisters as God does – not seeing their failures, but the person God is transforming them into.
Gideon was a man among a people who had lost hope. The Midianites had all Israel in their grasp; nothing in Israel was safe from their marauding bands. In an effort to hide his grain harvest from these invaders, Gideon chose to use a winepress in a valley to winnow the chaff from the grain. No hilltop breezes to cool him or help blow away the chaff. His fear and hopelessness drove him to a place where his labor was increased. Picture, if you would, the pathetic sight of a desperate, grain and chaff covered man flinching at every sound who is suddenly confronted by an angelic herald calling him a mighty or valiant warrior (Jdg. 6: 12)! I wonder if he turned to see who else was there.
God did not see the Jew afraid of his enemies, but He saw Gideon as he would be once God’s transforming power had worked in him. God knew Gideon better than anyone, yet He came to Gideon not to condemn him but to transform him. Gideon had lost faith in God (Jdg. 6: 13), but God had not given up on Gideon. Through the angel, God assured Gideon of His on going presence and patiently dealt with his weaknesses and ‘fleeces’. The Gideon in the winepress became the valiant warrior whom God had known was there all the time. He was the instrument that God used to deliver Israel from Midian.
So it is with us. We come to God without any excuses, empty of hope, filled with fear and unable to lift ourselves from the pit which we are all in by reason of our birth. We come to God with empty, bloodstained hands and wicked hearts. We crucified His Son; yet in His sovereignty He plants within us the faith we need to recognize our need, hear His Word, believe and respond to His invitation (Eph. 2: 1-9). He is the one who begins the work within us and it is only God who will see that work through to completion (Php. 1: 6; 1 Th. 5: 23). We do nothing to earn anything other than hell, yet He takes our tendency toward wild grapes and transforms us into a sweet wine pleasing to Himself.
While living in Florida, I had ample opportunity to drive through miles and miles of orange groves filled with trees producing luscious fruit. Not once did I witness a single branch on one of those trees struggling to produce a piece of fruit. As long as the branch remained a part of the tree, the fruit was a natural outcome. The branch did nothing to make the fruit and neither do we. I also never saw any branches pruning each other. It was always the gardener who did the pruning. Any credit for the fruit in our lives belongs to God in who we abide (Jn. 15: 1-5). A lack of fruit is a clear warning to assess how well a branch is attached.
Why then do we attack another whose sin has become public? There is nothing any of us deserve but condemnation, but God in His mercy continually reaches out to us. Even when we rebel against Him, He loves us still. Cannot we then extend the same grace and mercy to out fallen brothers and sisters?
Remember those soldiers? What a difference in that battle’s outcome with a medic who recognizes the wounds of his comrades, but instead of shooting them, he seeks to bring comfort and healing. What of our hapless prince–turned–frog? There is no beauty in a frog that would cause any one to want to kiss it, but as our Lord was willing to reach out and touch the leper (Mt.8: 2), so we must do to restore that one to fellowship within the church.
When David sinned and compounded his sin with more and more rebellion against God, God was not willing to leave him there. God sent Nathan to David to confront him and restore him to fellowship with the God whom continued to love him. God was also unwilling to leave the fearful, hopeless Gideon in his despair, but instead reached out to him to strengthen and empower him. So must we as a body be willing to lovingly and gently confront each other when we sin that healing and restoration may take place. God’s mercy is indeed great; should ours be any less?

From → Uncategorized

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: