Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Holocaust:  "any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life" (

Last evening, I had the fascinating opportunity to listen to Esther Bauer speak about her survival of the holocaust.  Her story puts flesh on the horrific events that happened in Europe during World War 2 by Nazi Germany.  Though she admits, her story isn't nearly as horrific as many that she has encountered or we have heard, it is still incredible to think about the compartmentalization that this woman had to do to survive such heinous events.  She spoke of the events in a very matter of fact tone, almost as if she was watching the events take place but not experiencing them.  As a person who has studied psychology extensively and been a counselor for several years, I can understand that this is sometimes necessary to survive events like these.  I value the time I had listening to this nearly 90 year old woman speak first-hand of these events. 

When she completed her story, she asked if there were any questions.  One young woman asked her something along the lines of, "Did these events affect your faith in God?" And her response (as close as I can remember) was gut-wrenching or gut-punching to use a word from my author friend.  "I am an atheist.  If I thought there was a God that would allow all of those horrible things to occur, then I would have to kill myself.  There's just good people and bad people. That's what I think."  There was silence . . . so many impressionable minds in the room and such bitterness.  To have lived a life of such unforgiveness also helps me understand why she had to compartmentalize so much. 

Please don't get me wrong. I don't blame her for her feeling that way--that is a natural human response.  She has every "right" humanly speaking to feel that way. 

The instant I heard her statement, God immediately impressed on me to pray for protection for the impressionable minds in the room and then more importantly, that Esther Bauer would know true liberation in her life.  She is physically liberated, but emotionally and spiritually in bondage. 

I don't want this blog to be an attack on Esther Bauer; it is not my intention at all!  What I do want you to remember is Forgiveness.  God forgave us all for far more than Esther Bauer endured.  While hanging on a cross, suffering the most grueling and cruel death, He said, "Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing."  (Luke 23:34)  We are the ones that put Him on the cross.  If we were not sinners, then He would not have had to endure that . . . and yet, He chose to.  We must forgive all the time . . . not just for our own sanity, but because He gave us the opportunity to accept His forgiveness of so much more.

Secondly, I want you to hear that things like the holocaust have happened all throughout history.  Read the Old Testament.  Sometimes God had the Israelites slaughtering people, and sometimes God had other people slaughtering the Israelites.  It was all in His plan.  He has a reason for everything that He allows.  We have a hard time with this because we can't think from an eternal, all-knowing perspective . . . we can only see ourselves.  It doesn't make sense to us, so we reject God.  He knows that many will reject Him.  His eternal purposes do not align with our human purposes/understanding.  Even in my comments above, why did God allow sin?  Maybe so we could learn to forgive others through modeling.  (I don't claim to know God's purpose in anything, it is just my finite mind trying to understand.)

I am sure that I have offended someone, and I hope you aren't offended to the degree that you won't at least consider what I have said.  I have done a lot of studying of Scripture, and God has taught me a great deal during my short life.  This is what I understand.  You are free to disagree with me, but as Esther Bauer said last night, "You can believe what you want, but this is how I believe."

(Side note:  Read some books by Viktor Frankl or Corrie Ten Boom or Deitrich Bonhoeffer to see how some people grew in their faith as a result of their experiences in the holocaust.)