It was on this day, in 1942, that the first news of Nazi mass exterminations reached the outside world. The news came as a result of a group Polish women, exchanged for some German prisoners, arrived in British Palestine. This disturbing news would continue to percolate throughout the world all during the war, but it wasn’t until the liberation of these death camps that the world came face-to-face with the horror of it. It was as if people refused to believe that human beings could actually commit such atrocities upon other human beings. This failure to come to grips with reality cost tens of thousands of people their lives.
In some ways, the same thing is still going on. For years, alarms have been sounding all around the world, particularly in some African nations, but the world doesn’t seem that interested in doing anything about it. Once again, people are slow to believe these reports, or worse, they just don’t care. Actually, we don’t have to travel to Africa to find examples of genocide; we don’t have to look any further than the neighborhood abortion clinic. Every day, in towns throughout America and the world, infants are savagely butchered, all in the name of choice. Multiple millions are snuffed out because people have been convinced that these children, growing inside their mother’s wombs, aren’t human beings.
Ironically, that is pretty much what the Nazis thought of Jews, gypsies and others they considered undesirable. They, in turn, convinced others that these groups were subhuman, insinuating that extermination of the Jews didn’t equate to destroying a human life. And so, the same thing that happened under the Nazi regime is happening again and on a grander scale. How is that possible? The Bible may offer an answer.
When we think of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the first thing that comes to mind is the sin that brought about its destruction — sexual immorality. However, the Creator told the prophet Ezekiel that there was much more to Sodom’s demise than sexual perversion:
“Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49)
It doesn’t really say anything about sexual immorality here even though that was prevalent in Sodom. The issue God addressed in this verse is the lack of consideration the people of Sodom had for those who were helpless and less fortunate. That’s exactly what occurred during the Nazi regime — most people stood by and let the helpless be slaughtered. And with some exceptions, that is what is occurring, today, where abortion is concerned — too many people are turning a blind eye to the abortion issue.
This very troubling situation highlights the need for people to stand up for what is right and declare the truth. That doesn’t mean we need to stand on a street corner shouting through a megaphone and holding a sign in our hand. It does mean that, in everyday life and every time we have the opportunity, we should speak up and stand up for what is right, regardless of the consequences. By “what is right” is not to say according to our politics and, in some cases, not even according to our interpretation of Scripture. We must declare what is true even if no one listens.
Noah preached righteousness for at least a century and, in the end, almost all who heard him ignored him. The only ones who heeded his preaching were his family. Based on that, we could conclude that convincing people of the truth isn’t really our job. Our mission is to declare the truth and stand for what is right, whether they respond favorably to it or not. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts and convinces people to turn from wickedness and, yet, you and I must first plant the seed of truth in their heart and mind.
No one person can stop the atrocities that are ongoing in our world. We can’t, nor should we, take the law into our own hands to physically try and stop people from committing wickedness. We’re not contending with flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers and no one person can win the battle. However, if we all — one by one — began to wage war on our knees in private and stood up for righteousness publicly, we could make a difference. Whether or not people respond favorably shouldn’t be our motivation; we should do it because its right. Furthermore, the One who resides in heaven is keeping an account.
Noah got his family on board the ark and, consequently, the human race was spared destruction. The Scripture says that Noah was a man of faith who found grace in the eyes of the Lord, not because millions of people heeded his message, but because he spoke the message. So, in this very troubling time, we need to have the message and we need to declare the message of truth. How people will respond to it will be left for Heaven to decide but we must be willing to declare righteousness in this evil day. No one of us can change the world but any one of us can play a part in changing our world when we live and speak the truth. Others are depending upon us to do just that.