God is no respecter of persons

Published 8:42 am Friday, June 9, 2017

By Hunter Greene
I just got back from my trip this past Monday, and all I can say is “WOW!” Europe is beautiful. From Ireland to Wales to Normandy, I found God around every corner. He was on the beaches, on top of the mountains, in the birds that soared, in the rushing rivers, in the clouds above the plane. I expected this school trip to be one of tourism and learning, but God made it one of transformation and growth. Ironically, I found the most growth and beauty in the hardest day of the trip: visiting Auschwitz.
Auschwitz was one of the many concentration camps that Hitler and the Nazis used to carry out their genocide. I’ll never forget the emotion and the heaviness of that day. There was a lump in my throat the whole day as we toured the barracks, gas chambers, and prison cells. Our tour guide and some of the pictures did not leave too much room for the imagination. The treatment of the prisoners there was unbelievable.
Eleven million people lost their lives because of the racism of the Nazis. Six million of that number were Jews. Auschwitz was responsible for one million deaths. Men, women, and children would be removed from their homes, loaded into cattle cars, and shipped to these death camps. Each car held 50 to 100 people with luggage and no bathrooms. Once they arrived to the camp, the people were lined up and examined by a “doctor” to determine how able each person was to work. If a person was not able to work or did not have any special skills, they were sent directly to the gas chamber. Many of the elderly, women, and children never had a chance. They were told they would be given a hot shower, a meal, and their luggage, but instead, they found themselves in a gas chamber to be killed by the poisonous Zyklon B.
The Nazis had constructed large gas chambers here that could hold up to 1,500 people. They were stripped naked and crammed into these large rooms where the poison would be dropped in an opening above them. There were crematoriums that turned 4,500 bodies a day into ashes. The Nazis took their skin and made leather and lamp shades. They shaved their heads and made textiles. They took their fat and made soap. I have seen mounds of pony tails taken from the women. I have seen a mountain of shoes taken from the families and sent to German citizens. I teared up at a picture of a small boy of about 7 years old leading his tiny brothers to their death. Six to eight of them were forced to sleep on wooden bunks a little bigger than a twin sized bed. No coats. No heat. Barely enough food. They were beaten and tortured. The Nazis experimented on the bodies of the women and children. There was horrific sight after horrific sight.
Words cannot describe the hatred I felt in my heart towards Adolf Hitler that day. Anger raged inside of my soul. I had cried. I clinched my fist that day. At times, I just stopped and asked, “Why? How? How could these men do this? Why did no one stop them?” But then something happened that I didn’t expect.
After seeing so much death and evil, I looked down at a ditch between two of the roads and was greeted by blooming yellow and blue flowers. God was at Auschwitz too. He reminded me that He sent Jesus to die for Adolf Hitler. It was at that moment that I felt God’s love in a way I have never experienced. As evil as Hitler was, he was a sinner just like me. He fell short of God’s glory just as I do. The precious blood of Jesus Christ covers all my sins and all his sins, even mass genocide.
Most believe that Hitler killed himself before the Allies could get to him so there is no way of knowing if he ever received Christ, but my point is that God is no respecter of persons. He does not care if we are white, black, red, or purple. He doesn’t care if we are male or female. He doesn’t care if we are Jew or Greek. The blood of Jesus Christ was shed for all humanity. This blood is greater than our sin, our past, and our failures. There is nothing that can overcome us when we are covered in the blood of the Lamb. This blood brings good out of evil men. It restores marriages. It breaks chains of addiction. It tears down walls. It frees the bound. There is nowhere this blood cannot reach. There is no one that this blood cannot transform. Remember that in your next storm. No matter where you are, the blood of Jesus is greater and more powerful than anything you are going through.
God’s love cannot be comprehended. He loves Adolf Hitler. He loves Jeffrey Dahmer. He loves Charles Manson. He loves me. He loves you. This love is wider, deeper, and greater than anything you could possibly imagine. He forgives your sins. He gives you grace for every second of the day. He blesses us beyond measure. How can it be that He loves us this much? I don’t understand it, but I am so thankful that I am loved by the Creator of the universe. We are loved so much that He sacrificed blood, sweat, tears, humiliation, suffering, and death for us.
1 John 4:19-21 says, “We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” Are you loving your neighbors as God has loved you? Are you forgiving them and looking past their mistakes? Are you patient with them? Are you sacrificing yourself for them? God’s love for us is radical. Is your love for this world radical? God is love, and He demands nothing but love from us. We can love in word at church and on Facebook and at work, but what if love is meant to be so much more? What if God is calling you to Auschwitz to wrap your arms around the Hitlers of the world? What if He is sending you to the prisons to talk to some of the meanest people in our society? What if He is sending us to the hospital to hug and feed those with contagious disease? What if God wants us in the streets with those who are homeless and smell?
Friends, there is no “what if” to these questions. The end of Matthew 25 will answer them very bluntly. If God reached way down into the trash and filth of this world to get us, how much more should we be getting dirty to love those around us? He didn’t command you to fix their sin, their wardrobe, or their body image, but He did command you to feed them, talk to them, clothe them, visit them, pray for them, care for them, hug them, cry with them, LOVE them.
Love changed your eternity. Will you give it to someone else to change theirs?
(The Solution Column is provided by Pastor Brandon Young of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton, and his associate, Hunter Greene.)

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