How many years has it been since a madman, under the guise of ridding the world of “undesirables” created a war that destroyed large portions of our civilization?
Was it centuries ago that a fascist dictator caused the death of over six million Jews?
Was it many pages back in our history books that the peaceful Falun Gong religious sect was outlawed, and members were imprisoned and killed for their beliefs?
Was it yesterday that radical cults in the Middle East were murdering men, women and children because of their religion?
It still goes on, now as much as it ever did.
We cannot pretend that these things happened “only once,” a long time ago and were each an anomaly of human nature that will never again raise its ugly head.
The fact is that somewhere in the world, someone is being abused in an abominable fashion right now simply because of what they believe.
It doesn’t take a genius to understand that there is something about difference of belief that brings out sheer, radical insanity among some people.
It doesn’t take a clairvoyant to realize that these differences are merely a ruse to justify extreme hatred and evil intentions.
And it honestly does not take much hard looking to see the barbarism that results from this unharnessed hatred.
And when hatred rises to power and goes out of control, it takes a good and honest person to stand against this insanity that calls itself “righteous” and to salvage those in its cross hairs.
One such person was Sir Nicholas Winton MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, an award given for chivalry).
Before World War II started, he cancelled his ski holiday in Switzerland and headed to Prague in the former Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) to assist in the rescue of the Jewish children living there. These children were at risk from Nazis occupying the region.
As a result, Sir Nicholas saved 669 children, many of whom lost their parents to the Auschwitz concentration camps.
He did not act alone. He had the help of several remarkably brave people who saw what he saw and simply had to act.
He and others risked their lives to save and find homes for these children. They are true heroes.
Another remarkable individual was a young Polish, Catholic social worker by the name of Irena Sendler. With her roughly two dozen associates, Irena was able to smuggle 2,500 children out of the Warsaw ghetto to safety, risking her own life in the process.
She was captured, tortured and sentenced to death. But she managed to escape the Nazis and survive the war.
She never considered herself a hero.
From country to country, there are similar stories. These are stories many of us cannot comprehend, never having been forced into a situation where our integrity was so severely tested.
Anyone can be invited to hate. Anyone can find a “good reason” to try to destroy someone else. The truly honorable are the ones who, despite every such invitation, see that it is a destructive path and work to rescue others from it.
And while we celebrate these amazing beings for the heroes they are, let us ask ourselves: where does evil of this magnitude begin?
There is a beginning point for everything.
Where was that point for this?
The answer is: it begins with hate.
When one hates, it is not a religion, an ideology, even a person they hate. They just hate.
And all it takes is for someone else to give that person a target for their supposed righteous indignation, for it to explode into full-fledged evil.
It becomes so evil that anyone who gets in its way becomes another target for destruction.
And, like a vicious plague, it spreads.
It weaves a path of destruction, leaving ruined lives and chaos in its wake.
It halts a civilization and leaves it sifting through the ashes, trying to rebuild its dreams.
What separates someone who succumbs to this white-hot rage from someone who sees it coming and fights it?
The answer is choice.
Anyone can be invited to hate. Anyone can find a “good reason” to try to destroy someone else.
The truly honorable are the ones who, despite every such invitation, see that it is a destructive path and work to rescue others from it.
My favorite literature on this subject is by L. Ron Hubbard. It is from his article entitled “What is Greatness.”
“The hardest task one can have is to continue to love his fellows despite all reasons he should not.
And the true sign of sanity and greatness is to so continue.
For the one who can achieve this, there is abundant hope.
For those who cannot, there is only sorrow, hatred and despair. And these are not the things of which greatness—or sanity or happiness are made.
A primary trap is to succumb to invitations to hate.”
— L. Ron Hubbard
Read the full article. In fact, read it two or three times.
Do you want to be great? Or do you want to continue to play the game of “I destroy you and you destroy me?”
Do you want to sift through more ashes or do you want to create a magnificent civilization?
The choice is yours. It is all of ours.
Make it wisely.