The Righteous Among the Nations
During the Holocaust, thousands of men and women had the extraordinary courage to stand up for righteousness and save the precious lives of Jewish people. These unsung heroes were common people, schoolteachers, nuns and priests, farmers, soldiers, mothers and fathers who when faced with a difficult decision, risked their lives and the lives of their children and families to do what was right. We are facing times like this again. It is the battle of the ages between good and evil, between righteousness and wickedness, and we must be prepared to make a choice for righteousness.
While millions of citizens passively stood by in fear and unbelief at what was happening in Europe during the 1930s and ’40s, others reached into the Spirit of God for strength and courage. Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, has recognized almost twenty thousand such individuals, as well as the entire country of Denmark for their remarkable efforts to do what was right in the sight of God. Elie Wiesel emphasized, “And so we must know these good people who helped Jews during the Holocaust. We must learn from them, and in gratitude and hope, we must remember them.”[i] Take the time to read about some of their lives, watch the videos, follow their examples, and remember them. It is like reading the roll call of faith in Hebrews 11 of those saints who “performed acts of righteousness … men of whom the world was not worthy” (Hebrews 11:33, 38).[ii]
However, the great men and women of the Bible were no different than you. They were tormented by the same fears, the same doubts, and the same problems of insecurity as you are. You may not have exceptional talents, but as you step out in faith, God will pour more into you. If you are faithful in the little things, He will bring greater things to you. When God wanted to start a new age, He looked around to find a few people who would believe Him. He selected some lowly fishermen and a tax collector to carry the responsibility of catapulting His Word into action. These humble followers were not much to consider, yet by the Spirit they moved in a boldness that changed the world. Likewise, we have the same opportunity today.
Once again, we are living in heroic times when to give even a cup of cold water to “one of these little ones” may take courage (Matthew 10:42). Anti-Semitism is on the rise, but we can make a choice to be involved, to stand up for righteousness, and to lay our lives and fortunes on the line. Remember the principle that Mary taught us, “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:5). Be involved! As Paul charged Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Be filled with the Spirit. Like the five wise virgins who had oil in their flasks and oil in their lamps, you can be ready for the Master’s return (Matthew 25:4). Live your life to the fullest! Be involved and trust God to direct every step. If you do so, it will be more worthwhile than anything you could ever imagine!
[i] “The Righteous Among the Nations,” Yad Vashem, https://www.yadvashem.org/righteous.html.
[ii] All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).