In our studies of History, we don't gloss over the nasty parts. As a family, we read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and that includes some terrible stories of treachery, war, betrayal and torture. The worst (and best, for it purchased our Redemption) is the story of the Passion of Christ.
We've studied Christian history, and that includes the early Christians who were burned at stakes, torn apart by lions, crucified upside down, and so on.
All through the ages people have done unspeakable things to other human beings.
Why study that?
Well, first of all, it's reality. Secondly, it shows the pervasiveness of the sin nature. It demonstrates that power corrupts, and that this world is a world that needs to be rescued. It shows us that there is nothing new under the sun. When we read of wars and rumours of wars, of corruption and genocide even in this modern era, we are forced to see that nothing much has changed in the heart of man.
My children have watched plenty of war movies with their dad. They've read about Hitler and the Holocaust. It's somewhat simple to remove themselves from those who imprisoned and tortured millions of people, because we aren't like that.
Or are we?
The question has been raised by a book and movie, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. We watched it recently, and concluded that it is a valuable movie. A quick search online brought up a Study Guide which we plan to use with our children.
I don't want to spoil the movie for those of you who haven't watched it. Let me say that it doesn't gloss over the nasty parts. What it does do very well is demonstrate clearly that life went on for ordinary Germans while ordinary Jews were being herded into cattle cars, imprisoned in camps, forced to labour for the Third Reich, then ultimately sent to their death in a gas chamber.
Ordinary Germans did not know. They didn't really want to know.
In my opinion, it is imperative that we know what is going on in the world today. Let's not gloss over the fact that although the number of abortions in North America fell in 2008, it rose in Spain, in the UK, in...(the list goes on...). Let's not forget that just a few years ago there was genocide in Rwanda and more recently in Sudan Christians were being targeted. In India and China people are persecuted for their beliefs.
What are we to do? Let's not bury our head in the sand and refuse to think about these tragedies. Instead, we need to remember that no matter how the nations rage, God is still in control. We have hope that He will "shake the nations" and restore this earth to its former glory. Eventually, we will have peace.
Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
Haggai 2:5 My Spirit remains in your midst.Fear not. 6 For thus says the Lord of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. 7 And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the Lord of hosts. 8 The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the Lord of hosts. 9 The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts. And in this place I will give peace, declares the Lord of hosts.’”