It’s not always easy to find good news in the news. Here’s a story that encouraged me greatly: two cousins who survived the Holocaust have been reunited seventy-five years later.
Morris Sana and Simon Mairowitz fled from the Nazis during World War II. Sana last remembered seeing Mairowitz in Romania. Sana’s brothers had already been murdered. He escaped with his sister and mother, traveling at night and often sleeping between dead bodies during the day to avoid detection.
Mairowitz escaped with his sister through the help of an English colonel. He grew up in England, while Sana eventually immigrated to Israel. A relative working on her family’s genealogy led to their reconnection.
The Holocaust is the starkest reminder I know that ideas change the world.
In the late nineteenth century, Darwinian concepts of evolution were applied to social problems. The result was the eugenics (“good genetics”) movement to improve the human population by excluding those deemed inferior and promoting those deemed superior.
Following World War I, eugenics were combined with the claim to German racial superiority, leading to a program to “cleanse” German society of those identified as threats to the nation’s “health.” Among them were European Jews, six million of whom were eventually murdered.
What motivates 75 percent of all charitable giving?
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted this morning that agreement has been reached between the UK and EU on a new withdrawal deal. “Brexit” is an idea that will have profound effects on Great Britain and Europe.
Closer to home, California’s governor recently signed legislation mandating free medical abortion services at its public colleges. It is estimated that between fifteen and seventy-five young women each month will require surgery after the abortion drugs fail.
Opponents of the bill say it’s unlikely that campus health centers will be adequately prepared for such emergencies. Not to mention the likelihood that even more young people will see abortion as a simple means of birth control. Or the fact that California’s taxpayers are now forced to pay for abortions regardless of their religious beliefs on this divisive issue.
Another example of the power of ideas is the Dutch family that lived for nine years on a secluded farm, reportedly “waiting for the end of days” to come. Or the migrant alleged to have raped a woman immediately after the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office refused to honor an ICE order to detain him. Or, in a positive light, the studies indicating that faith motivates as much as 75 percent of all charitable giving in the US.
In each case, ideas become actions that impact people in profound ways.
“The greatest idea that has ever been born”
An idea that has changed the world more positively than any other was first announced by a Galilean carpenter twenty centuries ago. In The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ, Theologian James Stewart writes:
Every new idea that has ever burst upon the world has had a watchword. Always there has been some word or phase in which the very genius of the thing has been concentrated and focused, some word or phrase to blazon on its banners when it went marching out into the world. Islam had a watchword: “God is God, and Mohammed is his prophet.” The French Revolution had a watchword: “Liberty, equality, fraternity.” The democratic idea had a watchword: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.” . . . .
Every new idea that has stirred the hearts of men has created its own watchword, something to wave like a flag, to rally the ranks and win recruits. Now the greatest idea that has ever been born upon the earth is the Christian idea. And Christianity came with a watchword, magnificent and mighty and imperial; and the watchword was “The Kingdom of God.”
Jesus began his public ministry with the proclamation, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). He taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
He encouraged us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). When he returns, Jesus’ name will be “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16).
Your next step into God’s kingdom
As Jesus’ Model Prayer indicates, the kingdom of God comes where his will is done. We make Christ our king to the degree that we obey him whether we want to or not.
If he is only our Savior, we can accept his salvation but fail to offer him our complete obedience. If God is only our Father, his children can disregard his will. If he is only our counselor, we can reject his advice.
To know whether Jesus is truly your king, ask yourself if there is an area of disobedience in your life. Something you will not do or stop doing; somewhere you won’t go; someone you won’t forgive or seek forgiveness from; some act of obedience you will not render.
That is your next step into God’s kingdom. That is your next commitment that positions you to experience and share God’s best.
A powerful question
Best-selling author James Clear asks this perceptive diagnostic question: “How would the person I wish to be act today?”
If you were more committed to Christ as your king than you are, what would change?