ARBEIT MACHT FREI
In our world’s history, there have been many human atrocities that have scarred our existence on earth. These moments of history certainly make us ask many questions among which the most important is, “Why?” Why is man so wicked? Why were these events never stopped before they had begun? Why have we not learned from history that violence, no matter its size, has never solved any problems? We are currently in another era of unknown violence that shows potential of escalating to proportions beyond our current imaginations. Certainly, as one studies history and the numbers of human lives taken in various forms of genocide, he is impacted by the wickedness displayed by man and at the same time the long-suffering of God.
As a student of history, I have always been captivated by our nation’s greatest generation who fought World War II. This generation did not only save Europe and Asia from the brutality of foreign dictators, but they saved the world from one of the most heinous crimes ever committed against a particular nationality. On January 27, 1945, the soldiers of the Red Army liberated the concentration camp of Auschwitz. It was here, humanity took a tremendous step back upon the realization of this camp’s purpose and history. Auschwitz was a place that promised, “ARBEIT MACHT FREI” (translated - “Work makes free”, bcj), but rather it was a place of slavery, torture, and ultimately inhuman death. The German SS forces at Auschwitz from 1941-1945 had eliminated approximately 1 million lives, of whom the majority were Jews. This was the Fuhrer’s, Adolf Hitler, “Final Solution.” Why did this happen? What can be done to learn from this horrendous event in our world’s history?
Our greatest challenge in battling against this type of violent mentality is to instill the concept of every human life being made precious in the sight of God. God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness…So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26-27). Paul also said concerning God, “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26a). When a man deepens his own understanding in the origins of all life, the outcome is a respect and honor for every human life. He will come to the clear understanding that to take another human’s life is no small deal in the eyes of God, but rather He said, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God, He made man” (Genesis 9:6). Therefore, when man wants to degrade and eliminate human lives, we must be willing to stand valiantly against such false ideology with the truth of God’s Word. Paul warned the Romans, “and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:32). We will either stand in opposition to murder and violence, or possibility become guilty of the same through our idleness.
The Holocaust is one of humanity’s worst failures, but at this very moment a greater genocide is occurring. On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that the right to abortion was a constitutional right for its citizenry. Since this landmark case over 55 million babies have been aborted in the United States. Fifty-five million hearts were stopped from beating! Fifty-five million lives were alternatively denied access! Why do we mourn the loss of six million Jews in the Holocaust and not the fifty-five million lives lost to abortion? Why does humanity constantly remind us of the genocide of Hitler but deny that abortion is even murder?
We live in a depraved and wicked world, but this does not give us an excuse to ignore our duty to, “Go, and make disciples!” Certainly, this will be hard work and we will face opposition, but our goal should be to educate every person to the sanctity of human life and the salvation offered by God. The day of liberation for the Auschwitz Concentration Camp will continue to serve as a day of success and tremendous loss in our history books. It was successful in that no more human lives were taken in such a inhumane and wicked manner. It will always serve as a loss, because humanity failed to recognize man’s true potential in wickedness, by not stopping the genocide many days, months, and even years beforehand. Will the same ever be said concerning abortion?
The world has vowed to never allow another Holocaust to occur again, but day-by-day the pressures grow against conservative Christianity. How long before Christians are regarded as less human because of their faith in God? How long before taking a Christian’s life matters nothing in the eyes of the murderer? History is only as valuable as it is known and applied in a person’s life. Will humanity learn from the its past mistakes, or are we doomed to repeat them? May we be diligent in teaching others concerning the sanctity of human life and the gospel of Jesus Christ!