Today's word with Dr. Bruce Chesser.
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Thursdays are for Guest Devotionals and todays comes from my friend George Lee.  George is a retired pastor, musician, and all-around good guy.  To know him is to love him.  You will enjoy his devotional today.
 I first heard about "friendly fire" during the Vietnam War. The term was used in the Gulf War and in Afghanistan. It is very sad when soldiers injure their own comrades. However, this has been going on in the Christian world for a long time. Christians have been polishing each other off for years. 
Christian soldiers are the only warriors who kill their injured. When one of them is injured or knocked down, other Christians pile on and finish them off. Have you ever seen an injured chicken? It is at the mercy of the others. They'll chase, peck, and hound it until it dies. Often, believers do the same.
When someone makes a mistake or does something not acceptable to the Christian world, instead of helping, we criticize and put them down. We have become experts with "friendly fire." Often, it comes through a prayer request. The prayer request turns into an opportunity to put someone down and spread the bad news. 
Some Christians can be very cruel and mean spirited. When a believer is down on his luck, we often kill him with "friendly fire." "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me." I've heard that saying all my life. However, that is not true. Words do hurt and harm us. Words can tear down or build up. 
Many stand in need of a moral boost. Some need lots of prayer. Others need a friendly pat on the back and a word of encouragement. But what do they get? A put down! We must learn to become ministers of encouragement. Many people lead lonely and defeated lives. Some are carrying sins on their shoulders that God forgave long ago. They've never learned to "take their burdens to the Lord and leave them there." 
Be careful and watch for "friendly fire." It WILL come your way and it frequently comes from hidden and least expected areas. Some are experts at delivering it. Look out! 
Proverbs 5:3 says "He who keeps his mouth helps his life; but he that opens wide his lips shall have destruction." 
George Lee
Hendersonville, Tennessee
Vision 20/21 Scripture for the Day: John 2
Copyright © 2020 First Baptist Church Hendersonville, All rights reserved.

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