What went wrong in the world?

By Gwen Sellers

What has gone wrong in our world? Do you ever find yourself looking at the things around you and wondering how we've lost our grasp on truth? Does our culture even pay attention to the implications of our actions? Do we understand the importance of truth? Do we get what it means to love? Do we think things through anymore?

"180" is a short film that compares the Holocaust to abortion. The answers people give in this documentary are astonishing–some did not know who Hitler was, others believed the Holocaust never happened, some admitted they would have participated out of fear, others claimed they would have stood up for the victims. When the producer changed the topic to abortion, many who had been pro-life in the plight of the Jews did not stand against abortion. After he reasoned with the people, they began to understand that just as they would not shoot a Jew, they could not justify killing a baby in the womb.

How is it that we can even begin to justify things like the Holocaust or abortion? How do we become so comfortable with believing one thing is wrong but another, similar thing, is not? How can one thing be wrong for me, but right for you?

We are master justifiers (Proverbs 21:2). We do not want to be held accountable to God's standards, so we run from them. We distract ourselves so we will not have to think through the implications of our stances. We have exchanged the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25).

In college, I took a class on the psychology of doing evil. It was fascinating. It all begins with one small change. We begin to dehumanize our victims. We use pejorative or clinical terms–pig, inferior race, chink, gook, perp...even fetus. In this way, we emotionally separate them from us. No longer are these people human. They aren't like us; they are other, something inferior.

We also begin to talk about these "others" as being a problem. It is them against us. Then our evil acts are actually good acts, a solution to the problem. Once again, it begins small. We ostracize people from our society, do not grant them the same rights as us, begin to control them. Slowly but surely, it builds until we are capable of solving the problem permanently.

In our minds, it is not murder. We are acting upon the best solution, just like using an exterminator to rid a building of bugs. Hitler termed his plan to murder millions of Jews the Final Solution. It was "ethnic cleansing", something supposedly good for the society. We talk about unwanted fetuses, accidental pregnancies–problems that are solved through abortion. Can you see how this is unfolding?

To be honest, it scares me how easily we as humans can be duped. Sometimes we intentionally lie to ourselves, drown out the small voice of our conscience and proclaim our actions right. Other times we become so deluded we fail to even question our actions.

Praise God this progression does not have to occur for believers! We are told that our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). But in Christ our hearts have been made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Alone, we are depraved and dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). With Christ, we are alive and made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21). We have been given the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) so that we might understand the Word of God. We need not fear being duped by evil. We are saved by God and He has the victory (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). The war has been won! We only need to step up to the battle (Ephesians 6:12). "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

I pray that in our own lives, we will have the courage to stand (Ephesians 6:13). May our speech be ever edifying and our actions ever glorifying that we might spread the fragrance of Christ throughout the world (2 Corinthians 2:14).

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Published 10-22-12