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Friday, January 15, 2016

five things I would tell Hitler

I'm going to throw a completely radical idea out there: What if it wasn't necessarily Hitler's fault for commanding the Jewish genocide? What if...it was his parents' fault?

Now hear me out: I'm just theorizing here. I hold Hitler responsible for his actions, and I believe God always acts in ways to bring Himself the most glory; so it was in His incomprehensible will for the genocide to happen, as horrible as it was--

But hear me out. I have a theory. And I think Hitler might help me drive the point home.

Childhood pretty much sets the course for your life. Think about it. What's the earliest, most thorough memory you have? Not some blip of a memory, but a full-length, Blue-Ray-edition kind of memory.

Were you five? Six? Probably. You can't remember much beforehand because your brain is working like a crazy hashtag network, categorizing your new experiences and connecting all of your similar ones.

To keep it short, your five-and-younger-year-old brain is forming itself an understanding of the world. It works so hard to understand its surroundings that it doesn't have the time to store memories.

All of this simply goes to say that the first five years of life are foundational--literally--and the years to come are super formative (until you hit the 14 year mark, give and take a few years).

This means that what happens in the first 14 years of life can either make or break you.
What happens in the first 14 years of life can either make or break you. [tweet]
That's why I believe the childhood years are truly the most crucial.

That's why I think that maybe we can say Hitler's parents had a hand in influencing the outcome of his life: Because most times the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. And more often than we'd like to admit, those trees are drinking parasite-infested, poop-smelling water and rotting from the inside out. They're bearing damaged fruit.

Maybe Hitler's parents could have been more nurturing. Maybe they could have spoken more truth and love into his life. Maybe, if they had taken their charge as stewards of God's most precious creation--children--more seriously, Hitler could have had a different life.

Because honorable people are raised, not made.
Honorable people are raised, not made. [tweet]
Hurt people hurt people. That hurt often leads to a lifetime of living some life God never wanted us to live. But so many of us live it and think it's normal and--worse--think it's what God intends.

But it's not. It's not. Jesus came to give us life to the full, not just life.

So to Adolf and all the other hurting souls out there: these truths are for you. Let it be your life's goal to trust in them completely.

1. You are loved.
God was intentional with how He made you. He likes your brown hair and your brown eyes. Those weren't mistakes. God looks at you and He is so pleased that you are made in His image. And He loves you for it--for bearing His likeness.
He loves you for bearing His likeness. [tweet]
You can't earn His love. He loved you before you came into this world--His love for you existed before you did. It is before you, it stays with you, and remains after you're gone. Welcome it, bask in it, enjoy it because it is yours to claim.

2. You are important.
The world knows you for being the man who killed off millions of Jews, but God knows you as the boy whose world changed forever after his little brother died.

You were important to him long before people listened you. Long before people feared you. Long before you made a name for yourself.

You are important to God because you are His child. Because He says you are. And that is good enough. 

3. You are seen.
There are over 7 billion people in the world. It's easy to join the dog fight and vie for attention. It's easy to feel overlooked and under appreciated. Like you're just another face in the crowd.

God sees you. He knows you. Not just by name--God knows you by heart. What you're passionate about, fearful of, aspiring to. He put you right in the mess you're in. Not because He's punishing you. But because He's waiting to show you how much He loves you.
God knows you by heart. [tweet]
His eyes are on youLet Him love you.

4. You belong here.
Your greatest fear is perhaps to not belong anywhere. To not belong to anyone. Maybe you felt threatened by your insecurities. I know. I've been there.

Add up your fears, worries, and insecurities--God is bigger than all of those combined. God really is enough for you.

You belong here, covered by the blood of Jesus, redeemed into God's family, living in His grace. You can be a part of His people, the only distinguished people there ever was or ever will be.

Distinguished because of Emmanuel, God with usHe wants you here.

5. You can count on God.
Maybe you've had to stick up for yourself all of your life and now you can't help but have your defenses up. All. the. time.

But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Maybe you've tried the whole trusting in God thing. Maybe he let you down.

Or maybe, like a true brother (or sister), He's waiting for you to pull your crap together. For you to stop throwing yourself that pathetic pity party. For you to say, Yes, I do want something better for myself.

You can count on God to set you straight--and do whatever it takes to get you there--if indeed you're banking on Him. He pulled through with Moses, Joseph, Rahab, Elijah, Paul--oh, and Jesus.
You can count on God to set you straight. [tweet]
God always delivers (and right on time, too).

sincerely,