On August 23, CNN reported on stats from the Pentagon that numbered 32 insider attacks resulting in 40 coalition deaths in 2012. Last week the media also told us about a newly commissioned Afghan police officer who upon receiving his weapon during the ceremony immediately started shooting the people who were there to honor him. Beyond a doubt, the most serious aspect of insider attacks is the loss of life.
The most significant secondary trait of insider attacks is the distrust it creates among the coalition forces toward the Afghans in general. How are our troops supposed to fight next to somebody who may not even be on our side? Eerily, our experts who are training these men and women could very well be equipping their own murderers. That’s enough to put a damper on any sense of camaraderie. There are many, many Afghans who are grateful for the coalition support and are willing to risk their own lives for the good of their country. They must realize that the coalition forces cannot fully trust them because of the deception of the enemy.
Church is a difficult community to get right. We trust in Jesus Christ for our salvation, but our life to the fullest extent is closely linked to the community of believers that we’re a part of. The tag for Evangel Baptist Church, where I serve as Outreach Pastor, is Ordinary people with an extraordinary God. If we’re ordinary, that means we’re like everybody else. Christians aren’t superhumans. We have lots of problems! Our difference is that we know we’re fallen and we go about life being transformed into being more like Jesus and less like people without hope. That process only works if you’re real enough about who you are to allow the rest of the community to help you be transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit.
It’s tough to do when you’re not sure who’s there to help and who just doesn’t get it. Many Christians are so used to posing – showing to the world how things are great even though they’re not – that they’ve forgotten how to be broken like ordinary people. Those who don’t know how to be up front about their struggles tend to show contempt for those who do. That’s when insider attacks happen in the church. Christians turn their fire on those whom they’re supposed to support. The New Testament book of James (the oldest book of the New Testament) hits the problem of rumors and contempt within the church head on:
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. (James 3:9-10, NIV)
Furthermore, when an atmosphere is created where people aren’t sure how their weaknesses will be accepted, they’ll cease from offering their problems to the group. There is something about turncoats that revile us. Benedict Arnold’s name is an insult in the U.S., just like Judas is pretty much everywhere. What must Jesus have felt when Judas kissed him as an act of betrayal instead of as paying homage to his King? Jesus had known what would happen long before that moment, yet he still had chosen Judas to be a disciple. Maybe we should be prepared for a similar situation? The reward is worth the risk.
Because there is no trust, there is no healing. The Enemy loves it when we live scared. Take a risk and be ordinary. There may be some who don’t get it, but I’m sure there are many more who will. It only takes a few people to creating a trusting atmosphere where the effects of sin can be overcome by the power of Jesus living.