Until 1987 there was a red brick prison in Berlin, Germany known as Spandau. It housed only one prisoner, Nazi war criminal, Rudolph Hess. He wandered the halls of that lonely prison 43 years until one day he strangled himself. The one thing unique about Hess that causes one to shudder is that he never felt any remorse for the horrible crimes he committed. His last public statement was made at the Nuremberg trials and he said that he had always been a faithful follower of the Fuhrer. He said, “I regret nothing. If I were to begin again I would act as I have acted…” What makes a man refuse to admit that he is wrong, that he has broken a law or committed a crime. One word – pride! Rudolph Hess was a proud man and that pride prevented him from ever admitting that he had been guilty of barbarous savagery. Pride is not a problem isolated to a far-away prison in Germany, it may be found in our hearts as well. This is Just-a-Minute.
I was recently watching a two-part documentary on the “History International” channel on “The Third Reich.” The second part of the series discussed the fall of the Nazi party in Germany. They examined film, audio and remembrances of the German people during World War II. It was unlike anything I have ever seen.
One part was especially chilling.
A 21 year-old Nazi soldier named Willy Peter Reese talked about how the Nazis marched into Russia. In his video footage he had built a small gallows, where he had suspended three stuffed animals with tape. He had piled wood underneath them and he set the wood on fire to burn their bodies as they hung from the gallows. He said, “We marched into Russia. Murdered the Jews, strangled the women, killed the children. Everyone knows what we bring.”
That was one of the most frightening things I have ever heard a soldier say. I can’t get this out of my mind and I’ve watched that scene several other times. We need to be reminded from time to time that such evil exists and that in Christ, we are free from Satan’s grasp.
Every person is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). However, with some, their good parts are frozen from disuse. They have given themselves completely to, what C.S. Lewis called, “Our father below.” He is constantly out to destroy us and steal our humanity (1 Peter 5:8; Luke 22:31).
Only through Christ can we be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). Christ’s blood will wash away our iniquities, freeing us from the disease of sin (1 John 1:7; Acts 2:37-38).
We cannot control what other people do, and the evil in their hearts. All we can do is serve the Lord and be ready when we take our last breathe (Luke 13:3-5). Evil may kill our bodies, but they are defenseless against our soul!
Tim Hall’s excellent article today tells us how we can be optimistic in life.