The Lies That Will Destroy Us
By Kevin Probst
Yehiel Dinur was a survivor of the horrendous German death camp, Auschwitz. He was a principle witness during the Nuremberg trial for Nazi war criminals in 1961. Dinur was brought into the courtroom where he came face to face with the exterminator of Jews, Adolph Eichmann. When Dinur saw Eichmann he stopped cold in his tracks and began to sob. He actually fainted as the judge banged away with his gavel trying to restore order.
Later, Dinur was asked why he fainted. Was he overcome with hatred? Was he overcome with anger? Dinur's reply was quite astonishing. He saw Eichmann, not as a beast but an ordinary man. "I was afraid about myself," said Dinur, "I saw that I am capable to do this. I am…exactly like he." What Dinur was trying to say was that "Eichmann is in all of us." Although this is horrifying to think of, it captures a brutal truth about the depraved, sinful nature of mankind. We all have a sinful nature and we have a potential of doing unspeakably sinful things.
Have you ever been tempted to steal? That temptation is directed at the thief that lies within your nature. Have you ever been tempted to murder? Or lie? There would be no temptation to do those things if there wasn't an impulse within that responds to those temptations. Dinur didn't see a monstrous devil when he saw Eichmann, he saw a man just like himself, a man battling a sinful nature.
What would cause a man like Eichmann to do what he did? If we all have a sinful nature why do some win the fight against it and others do not? Who is capable of answering that? What we do know is that Eichmann believed a lie. It had to have been a lie that led him into such darkness, it could not have been the truth. The truth sets us free, it is the lies we believe that destroy us, especially the lies we tell ourselves. Perhaps he truly believed he was doing a noble service for all of humanity by destroying the Jewish people. Perhaps he believed his duty to obey the commands of his superiors was more important than listening to the voice of his own conscience. Certainly he must not have believed that his actions would reap consequences.
The man who commits adultery or cheats his neighbor or steps on an underling in order to climb up one more wrung of the ladder believes his own lie that he can do those things without compromising his integrity, without becoming less the person he now is. He tells himself that he can do evil without suffering any consequences and he believes a horrendous lie. He becomes his own worst enemy, like a starving man eating his own flesh.
Individuals who embrace lies find themselves in all sorts of trouble, as do nations who embrace lies. American leadership refuses to believe that truth about North Korea's murderous aggression against the South Korean naval vessel. American leadership refuses to believe that the radical, Islamist terrorist mean it when they spew there hatred for us and promise our demise. American leadership continues to question the sincerity of Iran's Ahmadinejad when he promises the annihilation of Israel. The present administration would rather ignore complaints of human rights violations in China because our economy needs China's investment to desperately. We would somehow believe that our enemies are now are friends and former friendships are no longer important. Lies destroy people and they destroy nations.