Facing Evil

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The true strength of a person’s character is tested when evil descends. Extraordinary faith and hope are required to stand strong while fighting against evil. Ignoring the problem through blissful ignorance is easy. The majority of people take this route. The heroes who charge against evil face consequences and danger in this world, but great rewards in heaven. We can learn about courage and hope from those in history who were faced with gut wrenching circumstances and responded with jaw dropping bravery.

The Choice: Ignore Evil or Confront It

When the Nazis invaded and occupied the Netherlands, the nation’s residents were faced with a choice. Would they submit to the new rules, or would they stand with God and thus stand against the world? At first, sliding under the radar was fairly easy, but as the Nazis became more brutal, tough decisions had to be made. Soon college students were forced to sign a sheet pledging their allegiance to the Nazis to remain in school. If they refused, they would have to go into hiding or risk being captured by the Nazis.

The worst was yet to come. The Nazis began herding up the Jews in the Netherlands and sending them to the death camps. Christians were faced with a tough choice: Would they resist this slaughter of the innocent at their own personal risk?

Sadly, many Christians remained as neutral as possible.  Some Dutch churches were famous for singing louder as the trains with Jews passed in order to drown out the cries of hundreds of innocent people riding to their deaths. They chose to protect their own comfortable existence rather than give heed to the brutality surrounding them.

However, there were people who decided to risk it all for the lives of strangers. They plunged full force into underground resistance operations and began hiding Jews and other endangered people in their homes, at risk of their own lives.

The Christians of World War two did not see an end to the immense darkness pervading their country.  Whenever hopeful news would come over the radio, the rescue would eventually fall through. Even though the situation seemed hopeless, they kept faithfully resisting, and this eventually led to break through and the end of the war.

What will we do?

I sometimes wonder how I would have responded to evil had I lived during one of the most trying times in history, such as during World War II. I desperately hope that I would have taken the correct action when under pressure. What I wouldn’t pay for the opportunity to become acquainted with and learn from the brave members of the underground who knew the meaning of “there is no greater love than this, that a man will lay down his life for his friend”.

However, a trip back in history is not necessary in order to take a stand against evil. And as for learning from history’s courageous heroes, we can become intimately acquainted with their struggles and victories through the written works they have left behind. Right now, we are all faced with the same question that the World War two resistance fighters faced sixty years ago: will we take a stand against evil, or will we turn our heads and ignore the problem. Will we risk our own welfare to fulfill what God wants of us?

May we not be like the Dutch churches that drowned out the sounds of human suffering in order to protect their comfortable, safe lives.

May we have the courage to confront evil full force with the truth and the power of God’s Word.

May we be able to face the consequences, danger, and discomfort of combating evil with selfless bravery.

May we follow in the footsteps of those who have come before us, who risked it all to face evil, and in doing so, protect the life of another.

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A Society That Envies Animals

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Advertisements portray a society’s deeper beliefs. One Banfield pet hospital advertisement captured my attention and concerned me because it portrays a deeper worldview which has pervaded our culture. Here is the narration from the video:

“The challenge with being a human animal is we add a whole lot of junk on top of just being an animal who can exist and be happy. We make things more complicated, and when we get to be just at home with our pets . . . it allows us to just get back to the simple, pleasurable things that come with having a small furry animal curled up on your lap . . .  And I think pets really just connect us to who we want to be at our core.”

At first appearance this advertisement seems innocent, but it highlights three lies that our culture has openly accepted. Thankfully, God’s truths are always ready to combat any lie that the world throws our way.

First Lie: “pets really just connect us to who we want to be at our core.”

Truth: Humans and animals were created fundamentally different.   

We are not human animals. We are crafted in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 says to this effect, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” We are crafted by God, for God. We were never designed to descend to a lower, animalistic level. We are to draw closer to God, and drawing closer to God involves moving upwards. God not only originally created us (Psalm 139:13), but for those of us who have accepted Jesus, we are still a work in progress as Philippians 1:6 says, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Second Lie: “We make things more complicated, and when we get to be just at home with our pets . . . it allows us to just get back to the simple, pleasurable things”

Truth: We are to cope with stress by casting our burdens on God.

This video did capture one human sentiment very well: feeling overwhelmed. We live in a cooker pressure world. We are constantly told to strive more, achieve more, and earn more. We were not designed to handle the stress of this world- no wonder we just want to curl up with Fluffy or Fido and forget our responsibilities! We are designed to cast our burdens on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7) instead of crumbling underneath them. We can be strong even in the face of stress and trials because God is always with us, helping us in every moment.

Third Lie: “The challenge with being a human animal is we add a whole lot junk on top of just being an animal who can exist and be happy.”

Truth: Our purpose is to serve God and others, even when this makes us uncomfortable or unhappy.

Is the purpose of life simply to “exist and be happy”? Or is there something deeper? The fact of the matter is, humans will always serve something, whether that something is God, other people, or even ourselves. Whatever or whoever we place our affections on will determine the course of our lives. When we live self-sacrificially, serving God and those around us before ourselves, we discover a peace and a joy that could never be attained by serving ourselves.  Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Our pets do not lead a life that we should envy. Even though being human entails responsibilities, work, and even burdens, it also includes many God given privileges. We have been given the gift of direct connection with God, something our animals will never achieve. While life can seem stressful and chaotic at times, we have an incomparable peace from God that remains constant-regardless of the circumstances.  We have the opportunity to serve God and others, thus finding joy outside of ourselves. God designed human life to be full, wonderful, and purposefully different from the creatures surrounding us.