Yesterday was the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day that feels extremely important to remember in xenophobic Europe of today. As Spain is going fascist, the neo-Nazi “Christian” party Jobbik has 12% of seats in the Hungarian parliament and islamophobia is growing rapidly, many are afraid that the economic crisis will throw Europe back to a similar state like the 1930’s. The period when Adolf Hitler gained power.
There is a great number of extremely simplistic solutions to how the second world war would have been prevented, the most common is probably to kill Hitler as a child. I cannot count how many times I’ve heard people dream about this “what if” scenario. Not long ago it was discovered that Hitler actually almost died as a child when he fell through the ice, but a friend, who later became a priest, saved him. The Daily Mail called it “the most devastating act of mercy in history”.
But of course, Adolf’s soul was darkened not because of mercy but because of lack thereof. The upcoming genocide in the Central African Republic won’t be stopped by people who let children die but by people who save them. Our culture is so dipped in a logic of death that we think the best way to stop a murderer is to kill him, that the best way to stop the Holocaust was to kill civilians in German cities, that the best way to stop the war against Japan was to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent people with nuclear bombs.
Jesus showed another way. He defeated His enemies through dying for them and forgiving them, He forbade His disciples to use swords but asked them to heal the sick and preach the Gospel instead. When Paul hated Christians and wanted to kill them all, Jesus showed up in a supernatural vision and rebuked him (Acts 9). And then, he sent Ananias to bring both healing and love. See, supernatural revelation and compassionate love is the biblical recipe to cure fascism – killing fascists will just make other fascist even angrier.
Now, the European church in the 30’s and 40’s was disastrous. Millions of Christians were racists and antisemites both inside and outside of Germany. And with the exception the Pentecostal movement, which yet was very marginalized, basically no Christian believed in supernatural gifts. I think it’s quite evident that most Nazi leaders had a bunch of demons, but no one was there to cast them out. And the Bible doesn’t say that when the church doesn’t look like Jesus, the world will become like paradise. The Bible says that when the church doesn’t look like Jesus, the world will become f*cked up. And that was exactly what happened during that horrible time.
So my message is: don’t try to kill the next Hitler. Try to love the next Hitler. Do the stuff Jesus did, and fight the ideological strongholds that are disobedient to Him. Paul wrote: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor 10:3-5). Don’t wage war like the world, with guns and bombs, but use the divine power of the Holy Spirit to change how people think.
Again, yesterday was Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I spent hours trying to save a Christian friend that was about to be deported to Iran, where it is very dangerous for people who have converted from Islam. It was a horrible parallell to how WW2 heroes like Raoul Wallenberg had to fight against the system to stop deportations of minorities in order to save their lives. A migration system that welcomes white people but kicks non-white people out to danger and misery is inevitably going to create a xenophobic and racist environment. This is the kinds of disobedient thoughts that we have to fight and bring to Christ-like obedience. Speak truth, speak love, speak life, speak Christ – and the next Hitler will change his mind and draw paintings instead.