What are you capable of doing… given the right pressure, right situation, and right opportunity? Let me suggest none of us knows what we could do given the previous conditions. And if we don’t think we are capable of evil we are deceiving ourselves (1 Cor 10:12). Consider the case of Adolph Eichmann and Yehiel Dinur.
Adolph Eichmann (Left) came from a middle class protestant family in Germany. He rose through the ranks of the Nazi party and was viewed as the chief leader of “The Final Solution,” the murder of 6 million Jews in concentration camps. After the war he escaped to Argentina until May of 1960 when he was arrested and brought back to Israel to stand trial. Everyone who saw him was amazed at his ordinary appearance. They expected him to look more sinister and imposing… but he looked… normal.
Years later Mike Wallace did a documentary about Eichmann and asked this question, “How is it possible for a man to act as Eichmann acted? Was he a monster? A madman? Or was he perhaps something even more terrifying: was he normal?”
During the program, a clip from Eichmann’s 1961 trial showed Yehiel Dinur (A concentration camp survivor) enter the courtroom to take the witness stand. As he paused before Eichmann, he fainted. Mike Wallace asked Dinur if he was overcome by fear… hatred… or the memories of what he endured. Mr. Dinur’s response is chilling…
“No,” he responded… explaining that he realized Eichmann was not the godlike army officer who sent millions to their deaths. Much worse, he was an ordinary man. “I was afraid about myself. I saw that I am capable to do this. I am… exactly like he.” Dinur concluded by saying, “Eichmann is in all of us…”
Paul wrote in Romans 7:15, 18-19 the following, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (ESV) We all can identify with Paul’s words.
How could a young boy who grew up in a protestant home… who heard The Word preached… and worshipped in God’s house be the architect of exterminating millions of people? Reflect on that! A better question might be… What are we capable of doing?
Let me suggest something to consider… Seeds become roots become shoots become trees become forests. The point is that if we are not careful to nip sin in the bud the second it rears it’s head in our life, we are but a few steps from the most horrible of actions. Consider what is written in 1 Corinthians 13:12, “Let him who stands take heed lest he fall.” As much as I hate to consider it, I could do the most horrible things imaginable.
What is it that prevents us becoming Adolph Eichmann-like? Repentance. The second we have an evil thought toward someone… the moment we wish harm or evil upon them… the instant we sense anger or bitterness in our soul we need to confess it to God in repentance. Otherwise those seeds could grow and one day… week… month… or even years later produce fruit that destroys us and/or many others.
Suggestion! Examine yourself. Ask God to reveal any anger, hostility, resentment, and/or bitterness in your life. And then confess it to God. Then make a conscious choice to live out Philippians 4:8-9 (Click to read the text).