Saturday, September 3, 2016
Last week we visited the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, a suburb of Detroit. What an odd way to spend my 40th birthday, I had to admit. The facility was very symbolic of the different stages of persecution the Jewish people went through. We were able to catch up with a tour that was just beginning as we arrived. The two tour guides highlighted a few points in the various exhibits. We saw an actual boxcar that they stuffed people in and was able to stand in another one to get a feel for how crowded it was. They tried to help recreate the thoughts the Jewish people went through at the various stages and understand the role of propaganda and economic desperation that brought the German nation to that point. Appropriately, they showed photos and real movie footage of the concentration camps. After the tour, a survivor told of her personal story running for her life as a five year old girl from Poland to USSR.
Overall, the guides stressed throughout the exhibit how it is important to speak up for what is right, as this kind persecution continues in different parts of the world as I even write today. I am personally reminded of the persecuted Christians that are still being shot or tortured just because of what they believe. As Americans, it is hard to imagine how common it truly is and be tempted to only have a casual belief.
While most people would try to hide such images from their children, we felt it important to show how evil the world can be. We wanted our children to understand that one day, this kind of treatment may come to even Christians in America. We did not want our children to take what they believe lightly, as one day they may have to take a stand for that belief. I do not wish for this kind of atrocity to ever shock my boys.
While this concept seems so far fetched in our American minds, the idea of tolerance may be the actual breeding ground for such persecution over here. Ironically, this was one of the major themes running through this exhibit. However, the Nazis took away the freedom of speech before the violence began. Likewise under the banner of tolerance, Americans are starting to become horrified at any kind of speech that would speak negatively of any person’s lifestyle or choices.
As a follower of Jesus, I know there is a right and a wrong. Every person has chosen to do what is wrong. It is a fact of life due to the choices people make with their selfish desires. Under the tolerance belief, everyone’s ideas must be recognized as only right, therefore they want to silence the Christians’ voices that point out that the world is wrong. What the world does not understand is how much God loves them even while they are still wrong. God’s love is not a love that allows a person to continually live in disobedience to Him. His love for the world is the true love that wants what is best, which is not what people naturally want. All followers of Jesus have been at this point and understand. The old cliche, “Hate the sin, love the sinner” still applies. The voice of a believer must not be silenced. Rather, it must be heard as a message of hope for a meaningful life.
Until we meet again,