We Shoot Our Own, Don’t We?
Posted on December 11, 2019 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
“But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him.” Luke 15:28 (NKJV)
The moment war became industrialized the phrase “friendly fire” came into use. This happens when the fog of war leads to errors of position, identification or inhibition of response. Anytime I’ve watched a movie that was portraying a war scene I often wondered if anyone told those firing the cannons to cease fire when the two opposing sides finally clashed in the middle of the battlefield so their own soldiers wouldn’t suffer injury from their own cannon fire. But I’ve also heard a term that describes things when the attitude is, “Kill’em all and let God sort it out. That’s called “collateral damage” and that happens when we willfully shoot our own. Anyway…
Let’s take a look at Luke 15 and see if there is something better to glean. First, we’ll see Jesus’ familiar crowd, tax collectors, sinners and grumbling Pharisees. He’ll start to tell a parable. “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4) This will lead to Him saying there will be rejoicing in heaven for one who comes to repentance then the 99 who don’t need to. This first part of the parable can illustrate what it looks like when Jesus comes looking for us, finds and brings us back into the fold when we’ve gone astray. Then He’ll continue.
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?” (Luke 15:8) In this part of the parable, Jesus seems to illustrate what it looks like when the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts and does some cleanup work. The cool thing is that there’ll be “joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” So far, Jesus is two for two with His illustration’s on how there’ll be a divine reaction to those of us who are brought to our moments of repentance. Now for the infamous parable of the Prodigal.
“And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20) When Jesus begins to tell this parable He’ll give us all a view of the deceitful, wicked heart that can reside in all of us. Basically, there are those of us who want what we want and sometimes that means telling God, we ain’t waiting on You to get it. The Prodigal illustrates to all of us that when you get that disobedient, take matters into your hands and squander your blessings, our heavenly Father is looking for you to come to the end of you so that you reach repentance and come back to Him as He looks from afar off. What an assurance we have, don’t we? But I’m not done…
“All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.” (Luke 15:29) Now the parable takes on a shared message to those who are “in the House”, leading a blameless life, working in the vineyard and following the Father’s direction. This represents some of the 99 who don’t need to repent but sure do need to change their attitude.
The elder brother makes sure his father understands the severity of his brother’s sin and compares this to his own good works. He may be the one who wants acts of penance to be performed to see if there be any true repentance. After all, the Prodigal could never make good on the damage he’s done to the family’s good name! The elder son represents the title of today’s Freedom Fighter, we shoot our own, don’t we?! It’s a good thing our heavenly Father doesn’t operate in this mindset.
All too often, when folks fall away or backslide in our congregations there are some who are content to say, “These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise, they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.” (1 John 2:19) But these friendly “SHOTS FIRED” verses can do more to create “collateral damage” then we realize. The grace that has been imparted to us, that should be shared from our hearts, gets diminished in our hearts. Luke 15 serves as a reminder that Jesus’ mission was to get us reconciled with the Father. They wanna rejoice in heaven over it, don’t you?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) has been married for 25+ years (Kathy), has a married son (Kevin) and a daughter in college (Karen). He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Think About This: “One hundred religious persons knit together into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team.” A. W. Tozer
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.