Like many of my fellow Canadians I have been shocked and appalled by the images that have come out of Vancouver from Wednesday evening. It is unbelievable that riots can develop after a sports events here in Canada. We were use to seeing such things happening across the ocean as other people's passions for soccer would get the better of them, but here in Canada? Over hockey? After several years in several different cities we have to face the fact that this has become our reality too. Yet, out of the destruction we are catching glimpses of heroes.
It is amazing to see young men standing in front of the mob, refusing to allow them to destroy innocent businesses. Instead of getting caught up with the mindless destruction and unchecked greed, these people stood up for what was right, in the face of uncontrolled violence. These were just ordinary people who had no connection with the businesses for which they were laying down their lives. They simply knew that there was a difference between right and wrong and they made the decision to stand for what was right.
What I noticed was those who stood together as a group were successful and those who tried to do it on their own ended up getting beaten. It was heart wrenching to see one man who dove in to stop the rioters end up getting beaten by a bunch of cowards. I think the problem was his technique.
The poor man dove in with passion and visited violence upon those who were being violent. He picked up an object and rushed the crowd to push them back but the crowd swarmed around him and beat him from behind. He was a lone man doing something right with the wrong method. His motivation was honourable but his manner was not. Thankfully others jumped to his rescue and he was taken away to safety.
Those who did succeed in holding back the rioters were those who simply stood their ground. They did not threaten anyone. They did not brandish any weapon. The did not try to push back the crowd. They simply stood, shoulder to shoulder, arms crossed or arms held out in a cross shape, and stared back at the evil before them. From what I could see in the videos, not one of them was touched and no one even attempted to get by them. These heroes simply stood united in their belief that good is better than evil and they proved it was stronger too.
What an incredible lesson for us as members of the Body of Christ. The Word tells us that we are united by Jesus, by the Holy Spirit in us, and that we are to stand together in the face of the rampant evil of this world. We are told to stand our ground, the ground we have been given:
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)
That is what those brave souls did in Vancouver, they stood in the face of evil. But it is important to realize that their real success was found in the fact that they did not act alone. It was in their unity that two turned away thousands, that a handful kept even more from passing through. In the face of united good evil can never triumph. That is the Church:
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. (Philippians 1:27-28)
I believe that most of us are taking a stand against evil but at the same time we are missing the importance of unity. We allow the least little things to divide us, usually because we allow our flesh to have control over our spirit. We have reached a stage in the history of man where the children of God need to step into maturity in the Spirit, to set aside self, to be united as one, and make our stand. If a bunch of Canadians could it to protect some stores, can the Church not also do it to see millions of people saved?
As you go off to worship today please keep this in mind. As you worship our wonderful Lord and Saviour also deal with the wounds, pains, hurts and unforgiveness of your heart. Remove any barriers that must come down so we can move forward in our united front. Let us lift up God and others above our self-worth and self-needs. There is a world that needs to see the power and glory of Jesus Christ; let us not fail them by failing each other. To God be the glory!