George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." That quote seems aptly applicable right now. I just returned from spending the morning at the Holocaust Museum Houston. The holocaust has always been a fascinating topic to me. I wrote several term papers through high school and college about varying aspects of this period in our history.
I read the Diary of Anne Frank as a young girl, and I suppose that is what sparked my initial interest in the topic. I guess that being a Christian and understanding that my Christian roots are founded in Judaism contributes to my fascination as well. I would love some day to be able to go to Europe and tour the places that were so significant to the atrocities that were committed and remember on that soil the bravery of those who survived and those who entered the death camps but never left them yet live on in the memories of their loved ones.
A friend of mine who was with me today made a statement that really started me thinking. She said something along the lines of, "I have a hard time understanding how people could work in the concentration camps killing thousands of people and think it was OK. I mean, I understand Hitler was a powerful speaker and leader, but really, how could they justify their actions?" That is an excellent question.
Then, I started considering the answer to that question, which in turn prompted another question in my mind. How can people commit the atrocities they do today and think there is nothing wrong with it? I mean, I know that it is not on the same level as the holocaust, but what about the murder of our unborn children that happens every day in our country and is legal? This killing may not be on the same scale as Auschwitz, Buchenwald, or Dachau, but it is murder nonetheless. Just because we excuse it by giving "justifiable circumstances" does not change the fact that it is heinous.
On a more international note, what about Darfur? People are being brutally murdered and pushed from their homes becoming refugees, and yet, the world sits by and watches it happen. I'm no politician, and I most certainly cannot claim to understand all of the ins and outs of the situation. However, I can see that genocide is taking place and very little is being done to stop it.
Now, I did not write this to depress you or make you feel powerless. On the contrary, I would like to offer a ray of hope. Perhaps, I should call it a nudge of encouragement to be more accurate in the description. Do not forget the history that has brought you to where you are right now, and share that (your life) with someone.
What am I talking about? I am talking about the saving grace of Jesus. I am talking about how His mercies are new every morning. I am saying that He has taken us (if we have accepted his sacrifice) from the miry clay that is our sin and set us upon the solid rock of His righteousness. However, we can learn lessons from our past, and He can help us to share those lessons.
That way, we will not be doomed to repeat the mistakes of our past or the past of our fathers!