United we stand; divided we fall. Is that really true? I think it depends on who you are standing with.
Imagine this. Setting: the poor side of town. A lot of boarded up businesses and homes. People gave everything they had to keep their businesses alive and to keep their homes, but the job loss from plant closures was just too hard on them. Since there are now more buildings than people, there are not as many eyes on the activities of the remaining few to keep them accountable. Two rival gangs have emerged: the Angels of Light and the Candles. Both gangs see the desperation and hopelessness around them.
The members of the Angels of Light (they call themselves Angels for short), meet mostly at night. They search the empty houses for anything that might be valuable. They use whatever they can find to buy drugs and booze for their parties. When they are done with a building they tag it with graffiti. This lets their members know that it has already been searched and lets everyone else know that the Angels have claimed it for their territory. They vandalize and steal, and they intimidate the remaining residents. The Angels want you to know that they are in charge. They are working to become the only gang in town. So far, they have managed to swallow up all the other gangs except the Candles.
The Candles have a different reaction to the changes around them. They spend their time helping out the people who are left by doing odd jobs for them—painting houses, weeding gardens, running errands. They know that if they are going to save what’s left of their neighbourhood, they have to help the people who are still here. They have a vision for the future, and realize that if they don’t help, there will be nothing left for any of them. Deep down in their hearts they know that, but it’s hard. The Angels have been laughing at them and giving them a hard time. The Angels have tried to break the Candles up by telling members lies about the others. “Did you know that Joe has been secretly hanging with us at night?” “Did you hear what Rosa said about you the other day?” “You know that what you’re doing won’t do any good, right? This town is doomed, and you know it.” The Angels have also tried to convince some of the Candles to join the Angels. “At least we have some fun. We don’t have to put up with all those do-gooders, who think they are so right about everything. They believe in something that will never happen.” The Angels have even, occasionally, pretended to help the Candles out with their good deeds, but then… sabotage. Whatever will help them reach their goal of being in control, the Angels will do.
The Candles know that they have to stick together. If they let the Angels get to them with their ridicule and lies, they will break apart and the future will be hopeless. They've chosen not to believe the rumours or the lies. They have made a pact to be there for each other and to continue to work together for a better tomorrow.
I have readers from all over the world so I don’t know if you have a poor side of town where you live, or if your city has been affected by the economic challenges of recent years, or if you live in a place that never knew wealth in the first place. But this I do know. All of us are caught in the middle between these two gangs in the spiritual realm. Satan masquerades as an Angel of Light (II Corinthians 11:14), and his goal is to destroy any good work that we, as children of light, (Philippians 2:14-16) might do. God wants us to stand in unity despite any disagreements or misunderstandings. (Ephesians 4:1-3) Yes, this might take work, but if we are willing, we will be able to do it through Him. God has equipped us to grow together in love, to become one body, His body. (Ephesians 4:11-16) Through His strength, we will be able to show His love to the rest of the world. Do not be deceived by those who masquerade as Angels of Light, and do not hide the light from your candle. It is needed to dispel the darkness.