Words can’t describe the horror that rips through our very souls because of the war crimes committed in Mariupol, Bucha and throughout Ukraine.  “How could this happen in today’s day and age?” we ask.

I know of men and women who came back from America’s war in Viet Nam.  They returned absolutely devasted by the crimes and atrocities that they’d committed against innocent victims. – oftentimes, against women, children and the elderly.  I’ve read that more American veterans took their own lives through suicide following that war than those who actually died in combat.  They couldn’t comprehend what had compelled them to commit such atrocities, and they couldn’t live with what they’d done.  So they killed themselves.

Weren’t they normal, good men and women?  Good?  No. Normal?  Yes! The evil we can commit is normal.  If there’s anything that the atrocities in Bucha and elsewhere prove, it’s this:  What the Bible says about the depth of our moral corruption and sinfulness is absolutely true.  From Auschwitz, to Mi Lai, to Kabul, to Damascus, to Bucha – the sites and dates change, but the evil remains.  Throughout the ages, regimes have committed the vilest crimes, and throughout the ages, succeeding regimes have sought to safeguard us from a repetition of those crimes.  We’ve always sought to limit the evil and improve our nature through political and social programs, technology, science, philosophy, psychology, culture and art. 

But history tells us that none of those solutions have ever worked.  Why?  Because they can’t change our nature.

A break in our personal bent toward evil can’t be brought about through policies.  Only the Lord can give us a new heart and place a new spirit within us.  Only He can remove the heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh that can stop us from committing the most horrifying crimes.

Do we have the courage to confront our evil and accept the truth?

Those of us who’ve never confronted the evil within us face a serious challenge.  We need to ask ourselves in all honesty if we want to be freed from the power of an indwelling evil nature – a nature that can erupt and commit the greatest crimes, if we’re placed in the circumstances and surrounded by the people who can compel us to commit those crimes.  The power to overcome that resident evil is available to anyone who repents and calls out to the Messiah Yeshua. He promises:

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.  Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:25-26).

Yeshua cleanses and empowers us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and Yeshua empowers us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. 

Nearly 2,000 years ago, a Jewish follower of the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) named Paul wrote some very stark and uncomfortable words about himself, and about every one of us.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me…For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want…Wretched man that I am!  Who will set me free from the body of this death? (Romans 7:18, 19, 24)

Paul possessed the honesty to ask himself those difficult questions.  And Paul found the answer that he longed to receive.

            Thanks be to God through the Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) our Lord! (Romans 7:25)

For those of us who remain strangers to Yeshua’s forgiveness and life-transforming power – Are we honest enough to acknowledge the evil that lurks within us all.  Do we have a real desire to change?  Are we willing to turn to the only One who can help

Avi Snyder

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