“The Miracle” is a movie that recounts the story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Amateur players were recruited from various colleges. The team suffered many losses in their preliminary hockey games leading up to the Olympics. Each of the players had their own ideas and loyalties. Their previous enemies were now on their team creating in-fighting and leading to internal conflict. It’s clear that the team’s only hope for external success is to first overcome their internal conflicts and play in unity.
The wall building in the book of Nehemiah was hindered by external threats and discouragement of the workers. However, in chapter 5 another hindrance to finishing the wall arose. The Jewish people were being oppressed by the nobles and their fellow Jews who were landowners. A famine led to debt, oppressive interest rates, and forced slavery imposed upon the poor people by their fellow Jews. This situation could have ended in disaster. Their leader Nehemiah was so angry at the situation. He took decisive action as he confronted them with their sin. He then proposed corrections to relieve those who were being oppressed. Finally he exemplified personal integrity himself. The internal conflict was resolved and the wall continued to be rebuilt.
Internal conflict is one of the Devils greatest weapons against the church of Jesus Christ. It destroys the forward progress of the gospel and creates disarray. It focuses on our own selfish interests instead of bringing glory to Almighty God. It separates the brethren, splits churches, and causes shame on the name of Jesus. The only way we can overcome our internal conflicts is prizing our mission more than our differences.
The U.S. Olympic hockey team had a unifying mission: defeat the powerhouse Soviet Olympic Hockey Team. And as a united team they did just that. Bleacher Report has called their gold medal the greatest Cinderella Story in sports history. When God’s people act in unity extraordinary things happen.