Here’s a book that is unique in that it covers an important topic that isn’t often discussed: when Christians hurt other Christians. Michael Milton wrote it, and it’s called Hit by Friendly Fire: What To Do When Fellow Believers Hurt You (Darlington: EP Books, 2011).
The book is fairly short (91 pages) and it isn’t a detailed step-by-step “how to handle” or “ten tips” type of book. Rather, it is short, sweet, and centered around the cross of Christ. Using Genesis 50:15-20, Zechariah 13:6, and Philippians 1:15-18, Milton applies the gospel to the hurt caused by fellow Christians. When other Christians hurt us by words, gestures, or actions, we have to ask God to help us take up our cross, take off our crown, go to Gethsemane, and stick with Christ’s church (rather than run from her – which is also a sort of running away from him).
I think Milton’s last point is worth noting, since many Christians today mistakenly think they can follow Christ but stay away from his church. At one point in this book Milton gives a personal example of when he was hurt by another Christian. A turning point for him was when a pastor’s daughter gave him this advice, “Mike, don’t give up on the church.”
“’As a pastor’s daughter,’ she said, ‘I have seen this sort of thing growing up. I have seen my father and mother hurt by people in the church. Sadly, I have seen them hurt each other too. And others have hurt me as well. But the church is ‘on its way.’ We are not yet what we will be. I have come to see that I can never know forgiveness, or how to express it, without being in this place which Christ called us into called, ‘the church.’ There is no life, no growth, outside of it. It is a family of believers that we learn to live and always cling to the foot of the cross of Christ’” (p. 82).
I recommend this book for every Christian who has been hurt by another Christian – but it’s also for those Christians who have hurt a brother/sister in Christ. Pastors who have been hurt by their parishioners should get it as well. Again, it isn’t a long and detailed treatise on handling hurt, but it is a great starting point in letting the gospel speak to us when we’ve been broken by a brother. In other words, this book teaches us what it means to live in peace and according to the principle of forgiveness.