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If the World Hates You  

Imagine being a little girl in in a Jewish family in the thick of World War Two.  An impatient knock on the door refuses to go away.  But you do.  Because you know who it is.  You’ve known they would eventually come.

You whisper to your mother, “I’m going upstairs to hide.”  Scampering up the steps, you clear the first floor just as a German officer rams his body into the foyer. 

You dive into the closet without a sound, buried in the perfect hiding place—the one you’d rehearsed.  But is it truly perfect?  As the soldiers’ boots pound up the stairs, the hammering of your heart makes you feel starved for air.

The closet door is yanked open, leather gloved hands shove hangers and a flashlight pokes here and there.  Finally, the flashlights are withdrawn and the soldiers retreat down the stairs and out the door.  But you still wonder if it’s safe to come out.  How long should you wait?  What signal would prove that it’s truly safe?

This is the story I heard recently watching a video monitor at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum.  If you’re wondering how the drama ends, I can add only the last details shared by this little girl—now an old woman—who managed to survive the Holocaust:

"After they left, Mother came upstairs. She said, ‘You can come out now.’  So I did.  I asked her, ‘Are you okay?’   She said, ‘Yes.’  I asked her, ‘What about Father?’  Her mother’s answer: ‘They took him.’”   The passing of 75 years could not erase the agony of that moment for the little girl with the now wrinkled face.

Having interviewed Holocaust survivors and read books on the subject, I still scratch my head wondering how it could ever have taken place.   I found insight in an excerpt from “Mein Kamp,” a book Hitler wrote in 1924.  In it he claims, “No one need be surprised if among our people, the personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil, assumes the living shape of the Jew.”  Hideous as the statement is, it is an icy reminder that words have consequences. 

Consider the evil things that are written today about Christians, comparing us to the Taliban or calling us terrorists.  Consider the other awful accusations made about us.

It all takes us to 1 John 3:13. “Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.”

Pardon the negative tone of this blog. And its abrupt ending. But there is no pretty bow to wrap up some packages.

This is one of them. 


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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