Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wounded Soldier

In my nineteen years of ministry as a pastor, I have recognized that the unseen inner emotional wound is sometimes deadlier than a physical wound. Physical wound will eventually heal, leaving behind nothing more than an unsightly scar. We know our physical wound is healed when there’s no longer any pain when we press on it.

However, emotional wound is quite a different story. It can remain with us for the rest of our life. The wounds open up or close, or heal, depending on our receptivity for help. The worst part of emotional wounds is that they will be inflicted on other people, causing even greater wounds. In some sense, they are “transferable”.

Decent looking men or women may carry inner wounds, passing unnoticed until they rear their ugly heads. Inner wounds are inflicted in so many different ways. It can cripple a person for life. The tongue has great power and nothing hurts a person more than unkind words. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)

The emotional wounds in our human souls are like tuning forks resonating to anything that will bring out the hurt in us. The enemy takes cognizance of that and uses it to his full advantage. In the battle field, the enemy has a simple strategy and that is to wound or maim a soldier so that it takes another healthy one, or more, to tend to him. The army’s fighting strength is weakened in the process. If you think about it, that is a powerful strategy. In fact, some weapons are designed purely to maim and wound as they leave a lasting crippling effect on the rest.

How is this worked out in reality? The enemy will wound as many as he can in the Church so that healthy Christians will be distracted to tend to the wounded part of the Body and not be involved in the battle out there for the souls of men and women in the kingdom of darkness. Counselling and ministry for broken Christians keep the Church busy in tending to them. Broken marriages and families, hurtful words, unkind actions etc. are all damaging weapons of spiritual warfare. When the enemy wounds a man, he gets the whole family. The church then springs into action deploying healthy Christians, who are precious resources to counsel and minister to the wounded Christian.

Hence, instead of focusing on ministering to the lost, church leaders are often preoccupied with tending to the hurts of fellow Christians through counselling and prayer. All these can be avoided in the first place if God’s people are truly transformed and are renewed disciples of Jesus Christ. As the battle field of spiritual warfare is in our minds, our minds must be renewed (Romans 12:2). Discipling Christians to be strong to avoid and overcome the onslaught of the enemy should thus be our priority. 

Our challenge often is also not from without, but from within, which is why Christians are exhorted in the Scripture to love one another. In fact Jesus prays for us about this in John 17. The community of God is called to build up one another. The best strategy the enemy can deploy is to cause Christians to hurt one another.

Apostle Paul warns the church about “quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder” (2 Corinthians 12:20). He speaks strongly against lawsuits among fellow believers without exhausting the avenue of Christian mediation (1 Corinthians 6:1-8) and the creation of factions within the church (1 Corinthians 3). He abhors those who disunite the church by false doctrines and encouraging “unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind” (1 Timothy 6:4b-5a)

The enemy knows he is powerless with a frontal attack because Christ has nullified his power through the cross. His strategy is thus to cast discord among God’s people. If we recognise that strategy, then we can overcome the enemy by simply practicing what God has commanded, which is: “to believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as He commanded us.” (1 John 3:23)

Hence, one of our most powerful weapons of spiritual warfare is love. Without love, we are a resounding gong or clanging cymbal (1 Corinthians 13). We are nothing and we gain nothing. Out of the triad of Faith, Hope and Love, the greatest of these is Love (1 Corinthians 13:13). So as disciples of Jesus Christ, let us keep ourselves emotionally healthy and spiritually strong by loving each other. We should start with our own family.

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