Have you ever been shot by friendly fire? Many of us have. It comes from behind, hits you in the back and the next thing you know, you’re down on the ground bleeding out. Obviously these are not real bullets, but the damage is real. They are relational shots, the kind that comes from a person we trusted. Be it family members, friends, those we worship with or a coworker. You believed you were both on the same side and now you are deeply wounded.
So what do you do? You feel like everyone is walking by. No one sees you there; no one knows you’re in pain. And you have a bullet stuck inside you.
A) Hide the bullet wound. Cover it up. You don’t want anyone to see that you were hurt. So you pick yourself up and quickly pull your shirt over your wound. Then you go on as if nothing happened. The problem is, you were shot. And you still have that bullet inside you.
I see a lot of people do this. They hide the pain. They are embarrassed that this happened or think the right thing to do is to forgive and forget. The problem is, the bullet is never dealt with. It’s just covered up. And someday that bullet will come back in a painful way.
Just like real bullet wounds, this is no way to treat a relational bullet wound.
B) Get up and shout that you’ve been shot. Let the world know. Lift up your shirt and show them your bullet hole. You have a reason to be angry and hurt.
I think we’ve all seen people like this. They can’t wait to show you their bullet wound and tell you every gritty detail of how they were shot and left to die. And if you look closely, you’ll see the bullet wedged inside. The the bullet is never taken out and dealt with. It becomes a painful festering wound for the whole world to see.
If a doctor ever saw a bullet wound like this, they would immediately take you to the operating room and pump you full of antibiotics. Real bullet wounds are a serious threat to your health and need to be dealt with. So are relational bullet holes.
C) Let God, the Great Physician, take the bullet out. Is it going to hurt? Yes! Probably more than you can endure-which is why so few choose to really deal with the bullet. Is it going to leave a scar? Yes. Will you bleed? Probably. But afterwards the bullet will be gone. You will have life again.
I’ve felt His hands as God has operated on my own bullet wounds. Some of those bullets were deep. I cried out as God began to remove them. I struggled to love those who shot me. But as God removed the bullets and tenderly bandaged me up, I found healing. I found forgiveness. And with God’s help, the festering infection of bitterness did not have a chance to set in and grow.
Do I have scars from those bullet holes? Yes. But I use them not to show that I was shot but to show how God healed me.
My friends, this is the only healthy way to live again from wounds received by intentional (or unintentional) emotional shootings. Don’t let the bullet stay inside. Don’t let an infection set in. Take your pain to God and let Him perform surgery on you. It may take weeks, even months to recover from such a surgery. But the resulting health is worth it.