Light That Dispels the Darkness
By Michelle Wallace
There is a frightening truth in life that evil masquerades as light. Especially as it’s drawing people into its web. Although these days, many times, evil flaunts in full view and dares you to call it out. It mocks and laughs at those who stand for truth and has a way of spinning things to make anyone with an opposing view look foolish.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts. For evil to appear disguised as light, charity, historical necessity or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone brought up on our traditional ethical concepts, while for the Christian who bases his life on the Bible, it merely confirms the fundamental wickedness of evil.”
Bonhoeffer understood this better than most. He was a pastor and theologian. He was known for his fierce resistance to Nazi dictatorship and vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He tirelessly worked to bring truth to the masses, especially the church. Sadly, most remained asleep until it was too late. You see, the German people were so defeated after the war and subsequent economic depression that they believed Hitler was their salvation. But he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and the people would pay a heavy price. Eventually, Bonhoeffer was brought to an extermination camp at Flossenbürg. On April 9, 1945, one month before Germany surrendered, he was hanged with six other resisters.
In 1937, Bonhoeffer wrote the answer to dispelling and defeating the darkness. He shared what it means to be guided by truth, from a place fully alive and fully awake. The book was The Cost of Discipleship; a call to more faithful and radical obedience to Christ and a severe rebuke of comfortable Christianity. He practiced what he preached by signing up with the German secret service (to serve as a double agent—while traveling to church conferences over Europe, he was supposed to be collecting information about the places he visited, but he was, instead, helping Jews escape Nazi oppression). Bonhoeffer also became a part of a plot to overthrow, and later to assassinate, Hitler.
Something in this story makes me want to fight the good fight. There’s so much escapism through media, but who needs a good movie, when you can be a part of the great adventure!
Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
I don’t care which side of the political aisle you’re on, if you’re young or old, male or female, rich or poor, you have a call to pursue and know the truth. How can we know we’re not being deceived? Apart from God we can’t, because He alone knows the hearts of men.
Like Bonhoeffer, once we know the truth we have a charge to stand for and even fight for it. What holds us back? The same thing that held many back during Hitler’s reign, it’s the fear of man. Proverbs 29:25 from The Passion Translation says, fear and intimidation is a trap that holds you back. But when you place your confidence in the Lord, you will be seated in the high place.
Friends, I want to be seated in the high place. The view from above is so much sweeter. Low living is for the chickens. You and I were meant for so much more.
Can I share something I’ve learned in the fight? Fighting for truth apart from love is futile. Love brings the light that dispels all darkness. It’s indispensable! Whether others see the truth, whether they listen or fail to listen, that’s not on us. The question is, “Are you willing to risk it all to love?” That’s the most excellent way!
The SS doctor who witnessed Bonhoeffer’s death later recalled the scene: “The prisoners were taken from their cells, and the verdicts of court martial read out to them. Through the half-open door in one room of the huts, I saw Pastor Bonhoeffer, before taking off his prison garb, kneeling on the floor praying fervently to his God. I was most deeply moved by the way this lovable man prayed, so devout and so certain that God heard his prayer. At the place of execution, he again said a prayer and then climbed the steps to the gallows, brave and composed. His death ensued in a few seconds. In the almost 50 years that I have worked as a doctor, I have hardly ever seen a man die so entirely submissive to the will of God.”
Bonhoeffer sent one final message, to George Bell in England: “This is the end, for me the beginning of life.”
You and I may never be called as martyrs for standing for truth, but we are called to daily lay down our lives—To love people enough to share the truth in a way that best affords them the opportunity to real and lasting life.
To learn more about Michelle and see what she’s up to, visit her page on Facebook at “Michelle Wallace-Hand of the King.”