I Was Ambushed, But by Whom May Surprise You

Imagine being invited to a reconciliation meeting. You're excited to get some painful issues resolved in the love of Christ and arrive with great expectations. Then suddenly, out of nowhere your heart is riddled with a barrage of friendly fire. Fabricated accusations based on the testimony of known false witnesses are shot at you with such rapid succession, you're instantly disoriented and gravely wounded.

You can hardly catch your breath from this surprise and most unexpected attack. And you struggle to see clearly through the muddle.

To make things worse, prior to this ambush, you were already suffering from heartache, sleepless nights, depressing days; and the extreme anguish that every prodigal causes a parent.

You entered the room deeply wounded, but with great hope, you came to sow peace. Instead, you leave crippled by heartless and unfounded accusations coupled by the lack of compassion and grace offered by the other witnesses in the room.

I don't have to imagine this, because it happened to me and sadly, I know this is not an isolated incident; it's happened to many, and perhaps, it's happened to you.

If you've suffered painful friendly fire from fellow Christians as I have, please hear my following words as words of comfort, understanding and encouragement to you. We all need biblical accountability, so please accept my words as an arm around your injured shoulder rather than a finger jabbing into your raw wound.

Though I was unjustly accused and though there were legitimate reasons for me to be hurt, after much prayer and meditating on God's Word, I realized the ambush began before the meeting...at least it did for me.

It's difficult when Christians falsely accuse one another, but when a person ambushes themselves...well, that just exposes a deeper level of human depravity.

Sound strange? How can a person ambush themselves? I'll tell you how. First you have to be injured, justly or unjustly, it doesn't matter. Then you have to wallow in self-pity rather than submerge yourself in the Word of God. After you've taken these necessary steps, then you have to enter every conversation about your injury with the heart to be heard rather than enter with a heart to listen to the Holy Spirit's leading (Matt 27:12). If you follow these steps precisely, you too will be able to accomplish the rare feat of ambushing yourself, like I have. But I don't recommend it.

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 'I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.'"
~Jeremiah 17:9-10 (ESV)

You see, according to God, our omniscient and sovereign Creator, before we deceive others, we first deceive ourselves. It sounds like a strange thing to do, deceive oneself. But sin has a way of making even the strongest person (like Samson) succumb to irrational thinking and behavior.

One of the dangers of self-deception is self-pity. It's so dangerous because most don't view it as harmful. As a matter of fact, most of us (including me) can be fooled into believing it's acceptable and too often, we Christians support one another in it rather than rebuke one another from it (Prov 27:6).

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not denying we're all human and need time to heal from unjust attacks. But if we turn to one another over and over again, not to be lifted with God's Word, but only to gain a sympathetic crowd so we can mull over the gory details repeatedly; we're not in the right. Asaph knows this well (cf. Psalm 73).

Rather than prepare myself for that reconciliation meeting with much Scripture reading, study and meditation so that my spirit was better inclined to the Holy Spirit (Ps 119:33-40), I entered with my pain alone. So it's no surprise, that's all I left with.

This situation I put myself in is no different than a soldier going into battle without all his gear and armor. As God's holy and dearly beloved children, we're well-equipped and given the most impenetrable armor—the armor of God (Eph 6:10-17). And like a fool, I left home without it and was wrongly shocked when I sustained caustic injury.

Only the weak continually blame others and wallow in self-pity. But those of us who have been born of the Spirit of Christ have been given every spiritual blessing and provision (Eph 1:18-19, 2 Pet 1:3-4) to stand up from under the sinful desires of our dead flesh and walk in the newness of life (1 Cor 10:13, Rom 6:4-7).

Jesus Christ unjustly suffered spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically more than any human being who has lived, is living and will ever live. Yet, He remained steadfast in prayer (Lk 5:16), so that in everything He might bring glory, honor and praise to the Father alone. And because of the Father's love and great mercy on us, by His grace He has called us higher than we could ever hope to travel in our own strength—the narrow road to holiness (1 Pet 1:13-16).

Because Christ suffered, died and was raised from the dead, those who are in Him have been raised to bear His reproach and also His victory over sin. Therefore we don't have to give into self-pity and wallow in the cesspool of "poor me" or "oh my". No, we do what Job did and recognize that in love, God allows both evil and good to come to our lives, and that is where we find out greatest comfort and strength.

Next time you're tempted to wallow in the vanity of self-pity ask yourself what I'm now committed to asking myself, "If God allows both pleasures and pains to come to my life for my greatest good (conformity to the image of Christ), then how can I love one and despise the other?"

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers...So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
~Romans 8:28-29, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV)

May the Lamb who was slain receive His due blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever. Amen.