Shooting Our Wounded

By Brother Larry

The first time I remember being introduced to the idea of “shooting our wounded” was while watching the movie Lawrence of Arabia. It was then I learned that when Arab nations went to war in that era (the Arab Revolt of 1916-18), their conditions were very harsh. They did not have any means to transport their wounded. They rode into the battle on camels; and they rode out on camels, that is all those who were physically able. If a warrior was to be left behind, the enemy might capture or torture that individual. So it became the duty of the warrior’s friends to do the task of Shooting their Wounded! In my experience with both Christians and conservatives I see many parallels between the Arab world and ours. Although we don’t use actual guns and bullets, both concepts are there just the same!

As Christians and conservatives, we place our associates high on a pedestal. When human weakness rears its inevitable ugly head and when one of us falls, our friends are all to eager to finish the job. It does not concern us that our fallen one has shown outstanding character for many years. “We have our standards to maintain,” we say, with our noses raised high.

I have seen it over and over again in Christian and conservative circles. Ultimately, our sensitivity to our social status takes precedence and we avoid all associations with that individual.

Now what would Jesus do?

In Luke 7 a woman in the city, who was a sinner, came to the Pharisee’s house where Jesus was having dinner and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. The Pharisee spoke to himself saying. “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching him.” Jesus responded by asking this Pharisee which of two imaginary debtors-- one who owed 500 denarii; another who owed 50 denarii -- loved their creditor more once their debts were forgiven? Jesus did not avoid all association with this woman.

Whom shall we model our lives after? Jesus or the Pharisee?

Jesus’ own disciples were very human with all their frailties. Peter was the more obvious when in the garden of Gethsemane; he took his sword and chopped off the ear of a Roman soldier in a futile attempt to protect Jesus.

Did Jesus then say, “You have humiliated us? We cannot associate with you anymore! No! And even after Peter denied Christ three times during the night, Christ still forgave him and gave Peter the opportunity to pronounce his love for him three times at the Sea of Tiberius while He and the disciples shared breakfast.

Few of us will experience the trauma that Peter experienced; yet all too many of us are willing to judge him.

But Jesus was not quick to judge. He did not sum Peter’s entire worth up according to his inability to handle stressful situations. Instead, a short time later we see Jesus asking Peter to “feed my sheep.” History has proven that Peter proved himself worthy of his calling.

While we go through life shooting our wounded, the rest of the world understands the importance of sticking together as a pack. People without ethics are quick to band together to eliminate a common enemy.

With Christians and conservatives, this is not so. “We have our standards to maintain,” and we are quick to exclude the weakest among us to the outer fringes of our circle giving the wolves of our world easy pickings.

We have all heard of the “divide and conquer” strategy. (See Mark 3:24) I fear that it is rarely necessary to employ this strategy against Christians or conservatives. We are all too quick to employ it against ourselves.

(There is a time to exclude our members, turning them over to Satan so that in the end, they will be saved. But first, we are to confront a recalcitrant brother or sister on a one to one basis, then as a church body. My experience has shown me that these guidelines are rarely followed. See Matt 18.)

Nowhere is this “divide and conquer” strategy more evident then in politics. When the liberal candidate for President is suspected of murder, it is not news. Why? Because the liberals don’t care; they will continue to support a candidate who will further their ends, regardless of the means.

But, when the coin is turned, and when the conservative candidate slips with a curse word, it is front-page news. Why? Because the liberal media knows full well that Christians and conservatives alike will shoot their wounded, regardless of the strategic need to present a unified front to the world.

Today there is such an overwhelming priority among both Christians and conservatives to keep our reputations clean that we refuse to associate with anyone liberals accuse of wrongdoing. I am here to tell Christians and conservatives alike to “Get over it!” The times are coming - in fact they are here now - that it is more fitting for Christians to quit worrying about what liberals think.

We are a peculiar people and we are called to be a counter-culture, the salt and light of the world.

Jesus plainly says, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.” (Luke 12) He goes on to explain how families will turn against each other. The Lord is showing that there is no place for the Christian to be lukewarm. (Rev. 3)

Jesus also boldly says, “they will deliver you up to tribulations and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”(Matt. 24) Here, the Lord reveals that to walk in His ways will not be easy.

Putting these two concepts together, we understand that following Jesus will be difficult. Still many try to walk that middle lukewarm ground. John reveals in his Gospel that “even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; For they loved the praise of men more that the praise of God.” (John 12)

In Jesus’ day, it was the fear of being put out of the synagogue that kept people from openly worshipping the Lord. Today it could just as well be the fear of being placed into, let’s say prison.

No wonder Jesus asks the question, “When the Son of man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

We will reap what we sow! God will not be mocked! (Gal 6) For 30 years, this generation has ignored the cries of the innocent, of those who cannot defend themselves. We have looked the other way while hundreds of millions of babies have been exterminated in the doctors’ chambers. And now we have created a system of government where the younger support the elderly, except that there are too few young to accomplish this thanks to our extermination practices. Why can’t more people see the handwriting on the wall? Budgets will "need to be balanced" and the same government-industry complex that coldly decided the fate of the preborn with the Roe v. Wade decision will again decide the fate of others unable to defend themselves -- be it the old and infirm or those deemed to be politically "incorrect" and therefore rightless!

There is a story associated with a man named Dietrich Bonhoeffer who lived in Germany during the rise of the Third Reich. It was during this time that Hitler sought to control the people by controlling what preachers could and could not say from the pulpit. But this one man Bonhoeffer would not compromise his faith - and he had a very large congregation!

When Hitler learned of this, he had Bonhoeffer thrown into prison. Hitler, undaunted and unwilling to miss out an opportunity to control a large congregation, would try another tactic. He would send one of Bonhoeffer’s peers -- one who already compromised his morals and his faith -- into the prison to try to convert Bonhoeffer.

As the story goes, the compromising peer would look in to Bonhoffer’s cell, act surprised and ask, my friend, how is it that you are here?” Bonhoeffer would quickly reply, “My friend, how is it that you are not?”

I believe that this is the question that all Christians from this generation will have to answer one day before the Great Throne of Judgment. When it comes to arrest and imprisonment, I believe that the Lord will ask us, “How is it, friend, that you were not?”

Both Christians and conservatives need to overcome the stigma that being arrested somehow groups us with the worst of criminals. Need I remind you that Jesus was arrested and then crucified between two criminals? Need I remind you that the early Christians were arrested and then thrown to the lions? Today Christians are being arrested and thrown to the judges!

Read Revelation and you will see that Christians are to refuse the mark of the beast! That means that we are not to submit ourselves to the government of the antichrist. Some of us will be arrested! The Lord will expect nothing less from us!

Christians and conservatives alike, who are so sensitive to having their moral and their ethics compromised, have already compromised beyond reproach. For far too long, Christians and conservatives alike are unwilling to stand up for their beliefs, for truth and for righteousness. In the history of our country, our forefathers risked life and limb to establish a government based on truth and justice. Today, it would be difficult to find a remnant that would risk a prison sentence.

Thomas Jefferson captured it best when he said, “I tremble when I consider that God is just, and His justice will not sleep forever.”

Christians, conservatives, and Arabs alike may shoot our wounded, but this was never the way our Lord Jesus led by His example. Instead, He showed His followers that we have an obligation to heal our wounded -- and certainly never to reject or ostracize them.

Should we one day be arrested and branded a criminal, we can feel secure in knowing that our Lord Jesus suffered the same fate before us.

March 05, 2005