Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Who's the Enemy?

The Civil War was by far the bloodiest conflict our country has ever fought. Not only was the death rate the highest of any of our nation’s struggles but it exceeded the sum of the deaths of all other American wars from the Revolutionary War through modern times. Although the methods of warfare contributed to the high death rate, one factor stands alone as the greatest cause of the phenomenal loss of life. Every drop of blood that spilled was American blood. When we count the death toll, there is no “them” and “us.” Whether the uniform was gray or blue, whether the flag was Union or Confederate, as brother fought against brother, they were all American.

Our family visited the site of the Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia. The story of Richard Kirkland, a 19 year old Confederate sergeant, touched my soul. The Union army had been defeated but many soldiers lay wounded on the battlefield; those who were still alive remained in their battle positions. Sergeant Kirkland couldn't bear the sound of the wounded crying out for aid and relief. Placing his life in danger, he took canteens of water and offered drinks to the hurting men. Union soldiers began firing on him but the firing ceased as they realized his actions were from a heart of compassion rather than malice.
Are we fighting a civil war within the church? The battle is now believer against believer as arguments are made and people are hurt. People leave churches. Believers lose the passion of serving their Savior.
Contemporary music vs. traditional
Programs and activities vs. Bible studies and prayer meetings
Casual dress vs. formal
He said vs. she said
It’s always been done this way vs. new and different
My ministry vs. your ministry
Issues such as these pull us away from the real enemy. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12).

We are all wounded soldiers lying on a spiritual battlefield. Shouldn’t we offer drinks of water to our fallen brothers rather than fire fatal shots? After all, fellow believers aren’t the real enemy; by firing another verbal blow or spreading another slanderous story we may find ourselves serving within the ranks of the true enemy.
Contemporary music vs. traditional WORSHIP
Programs and activities vs. Bible studies and prayer meetings LEARN
Casual dress vs. formal ATTEND
He said vs. she said SHARE
It’s always been done this way vs. new and different DO
My ministry vs. your ministry SERVE
“…Whoever is not against us is for us. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck” (Mark 9:40-42).

LATER ADDITION: After I wrote this article, I kept thinking about and being exposed to spiritual attacks. Click here to read a follow-up article with some more thoughts on this subject.


  1. Love how you brought it all together. This is so important.

  2. Thank you, Sheri. I'm glad you enjoyed it!