Friendly Fire

Ever been fired at from your own team?

This will be unusual and a little pointed so apologies ahead of time…
If there’s one thing I don’t understand it’s Friendly Fire.
How can someone who’s supposed to be on your team try and take you down? The question people like me were born asking….”WHY?”…. can’t be asked. This fact makes the lesson of friendly fire that much harder because our minds can’t logically reconcile it to anything meaningful. 

But it happens all the time.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/131363372″>The Wall – Going Under</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/venuechurchcanada”>Venue Church Canada</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I should preface this blog by saying that we all tend to think people are picking on us when most of the time they’re just trying to get some truth through our insecure and proud demeanours. Let’s be honest, we’re not the easiest people to give feedback to. Most of us would rather be flattered than made aware of how we are torpedoing ourselves and our families.

This is not the reality I’m talking about today.

I’m an extremely loyal person. You’ll find that I don’t leave people behind but if there is a separation of relationship it is nearly always the other person leaving me. Of course people leave our church from time to time and sometimes they blame me when they walk away. I understand how things are though, and am ultimately responsible to preach what I feel God tells me to and lead with what I have (which can be quite depressing sometimes:). 

One of our Venue Codes is “Our church is specifically designed around our vision (that was inspired by God for us….) and might not be for everyone. We’re ok with that.” We love everyone, but not everyone will love us or attend church here. We’re cool with it.

Now do I make mistakes? All the time. My percentage of good decisions is usually high but if you insist on focusing on the mistakes (or more accurately…what you think the mistakes are) I’m sure you would have enough ammo to use against me. I’m not even defending that because most critical people would rarely take the heat for their own decisions on the same level. You want to talk about our church leadership decisions? Let’s look at your parenting or spending and see how you’re doing? That’s a real conversation! Feedback goes both ways…

My mom and dad stayed together no matter what and I never grew up thinking that I had a deal breaker. Am I saying that I don’t? I don’t really know. I never think about it. Maybe I’m terribly naive or maybe it’s refreshing, I just know if both sides stuck around we could work something out. I’m great at cutting losses in business but people are different. If you want to go, go! But I’m staying here and if you want to stay and actually talk please don’t leave!

I just don’t see life like that. It makes me sick to my stomach when I hear a Christian say “the church hurt me therefore I don’t go to church anymore!”. What a cop out! People in my own church hurt me every week… where on earth do I get a permission slip to leave when things get awkward? I’m not saying every church is a good church by any means, but it’s quite a step to “I don’t believe in church at all anymore!”. We take a lot on ourselves sometimes…

If church is family maybe you just walked away from the best thing you ever had? Just sayin… I know you’ll surround yourself with your reasons but one day God will ask you a very direct “Did you stay where I wanted you to?”. God doesn’t enjoy weak arguments and excuses, He has expectations of you and doesn’t really care for it when you try telling Him what He really thinks. He’s got that covered and doesn’t need my help.

But forward movement creates resistance.

movement-resistance

That’s the way things really work. 
Resistance to change is something we all experience and understand. Try implementing a stricter set of rules for your teenager and you can expect pushback. The same goes in a department at your work. Or relationships. Or anything. Change is never comfortable but it is inevitable. 

Our tendency is to laugh when our neighbour has to quickly process a last minute change we saw coming long ago but we rarely see it in our own lives. It is kind of funny and we’d probably take it easier if we learned to laugh at ourselves but we all know we probably won’t.

There will be marketplace and relational opposition that are just part of everyday life. If you’re making a better widget, that is a challenge all on its own. How do you keep your costs down and take some market share away from your main competitors? If you are connected with people there will always be challenges to work through because as people, we are inherently self seeking and react poorly when we don’t get what we want. Sorry to break it to you but that’s your half of the last argument you had with your spouse…

The opposition that always takes us by surprise is friendly fire.

Friendly fire isn’t really all that friendly…

unfriendly fire square

Expect it. It too is part of life. I’m not saying you have an excuse for it, but it will happen to you whether you want it to or not. (Unless you have no boundaries and do what everyone else wants you to. Then you have larger problems and your life won’t be much fun anyways)

The real issue is that sometimes the status quo is the enemy!
There are some rules that need to be broken.

Leaders are the ones who get upset by the status quo and are first to act. They look around and wonder why everyone else isn’t as upset as they are by THAT THING??

The greatest people in the world got upset and stayed upset about injustice and spent their lives trying to right a wrong that maybe wasn’t even their problem in the first place. 

What upsets you? What can’t you stand anymore? Maybe it’s time to do something about it?

Sadly the moment you move from dreaming to acting on it you will encounter pushback from those who should be on your own team. 

Expect it. When you and I stand up what we are saying is “What YOU are doing is not enough! We can’t go on like this one more day! It stops NOW!”

I don’t know about your culture, but in Canada we have a low grade, sneaky hostility to those who confront us with a piece of society our own lethargy helped create and maintain. We’ll never say anything to your face but we’ll say it to everyone else and pull your support from you with gossip and half-truths.

Better the devil you know….

Weird thought: Why would anyone stay in an abusive relationship? 
Maybe they feel like they deserve to be treated like that? But I think people do it because at least they know what to expect? I can’t really come to any other conclusion. 

People can live life without God even when the eternity clock is ticking inside of them telling them every day that something is terribly wrong. Why do most of us do exactly the same thing the next day and not go seeking answers?

At least we know what to expect…
Better the devil you know than the God you don’t?
Know God

It makes no sense to me.

But then someone rises up and asks a question no one else is asking.

Someone who has gone to church their entire life gets upset with their own comfortable Christianity and stays upset. 

A rock star gets upset with poverty and disease and is reborn.

A mother loses her daughter to a drunk driver and snaps. She creates M.A.D.D.

We all want stability and security, which Christ offers, but comfort can be pretty wicked.

And comfortable people tend to fire blindly at someone who gets upset at what should have upset us all a long time ago….

 

Corey Kope

Pastor. Father of 4 beauties. Devoted husband, Liverpool fan, and Jesus follower.

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