Monday, 18 February 2013

What colour are you? (When Christians collide)

One of the most unsettling and destabilising elements that one can encounter is that of being 'taken out' by those who were previously thought of as being on the same side as you. This act of fratricide, also known as 'blue on blue' (blue being the colour designation for 'friendly forces'), is more likely to be the result of incompetence or error rather than an act of betrayal.

There is also the act of being taken out by those whom one assumed to be neutral (the colour designation for this being green) which gives rise to the 'green on blue' definition we hear from time to time when we find members of our forces being killed by those who we perceived not to be our enemies..

In conflict situations the colours are simple to understand:

Red = Enemy forces,
Blue = Friendly forces,
Green = Neutral forces
Yellow = unknown forces

One of the saddest elements I encounter in the area of 'church' is the 'blue on blue' situation where those who are (supposedly) on the same side actively engage in damaging another of their number.

This might manifest in a bit of internecine back-biting (sometimes theological or perhaps more commonly because of perceived threats) and sometimes in a bit of sneering (the 'looking down the nose that the OT speaks so poorly of) and spin. One of the most common instances I encounter is that where an issue crops up and a position is stated with the suffice, 'Not like them . . .'!

We all know that 'a house divided against itself cannot stand (Matt 12) and yet I'm ashamed to sat that I find many of us failing to engage in promoting unity; for we'd rather look to our own little kingdom than live for the Kingdom of God. Perhaps we need to remember that the zealot (who lives for his own cause and kingdom) cries out that,  'Those who aren't for us are against us,' whilst those who seek to build the Kingdom of God acknowledge that, 'Those who aren't against us are for us!'

The only line that needs to exist is that which separates sinful from righteous and when we find sin we act to help those caught up in it to cross that line and act rightly. We might not always agree on matters of choice or theology, liturgy or musicianship but these should never be show-stoppers and should never result in us damaging, or being damaged by, other believers.

And even when we've got that sorted, there will still be the odd 'Negligent discharge' (what we call it when someone fires off a round accidentally) that takes someone out - we have all fired those verbal bullets that result in others on the same side of us being wounded I'm sure.

But perhaps before we plan, plot or speak out we should consider the issue and let our response be guided by that wonderfully effective (and yet often also trite) question:

What Would Jesus Do?

I expect flak from those people who are coloured red and understand the fact that those in green, neutrals, are sometimes merely people who haven't made up their mind that they oppose me - But when when I see someone who is blue I don't expect to have to defend myself against them and neither should they. When I, or they, are in the wrong I would hope that what we find is 'gentle' correction and support - for we all fall, fail and stumble.

My prayer is that when we do it doesn't become a 'blue on blue'  or turn those who are green into a nice red colour!


1 comment:

The Warden said...

I am bordering between blue and green but being colour blind dosnt always help!