But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
– Matthew 5:39
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
– Ephesians 6:10-20
Should I apologize for using the same Scripture two days in a row, in advance?
My wife has been doing something over the past few days that I usually do on Memorial Day weekend. Watch war movies.
But the two that she has recently watched were not the kind I would usually watch. She watched Hidden in Silence (1996) and Resistance Movement (2013). Both dealt with teen-agers or younger who resisted Nazi Germany. Both are true stories.
In Hidden in Silence, the Podgorski sisters save 13 Jews in Poland. Stefania Podgorska was born in 1925 and her sister, Helena (born 1935). At the ages of 16 and 6, the girls moved into a house and were followed by thirteen Jews. The Jews had some money and jewelry that the Stefania used to keep everyone fed until she could find a job. In the meantime, 6-year-old Helena would carry the food back to the house, creating elaborate lies for the Germans who questioned her.
In Resistance Movement, the story is told of the Helmuth Hübener Group of resistance fighters. In official records, this group is listed as the youngest group (all teen-agers) of resistance fighters in World War 2. Helmuth with his friends Rudi (Rudolf) Wobbe and Karl-Heinz Schnibbe made up the group. They had been boy scouts together and were members of the Latter Day Saints denomination. Helmuth listened to British broadcasts over shortwave radio. He transcribed what he heard and created typed bulletins (about 60) that the boys distributed all over Hamburg, Germany so that people would learn what the Nazi government was not telling them. They became very creative in distributing the bulletins. For example, sneaking the bulletin onto the Nazi bulletin boards and a form of reverse pickpocketing (sneaking notes into people’s coat pockets). They were eventually caught and tried for treason although they were all underaged.
The common theme of these two movies was teen-agers (or younger) resisting evil.
My wife is a typical grandmother. Stories of youth doing amazing things would interest her, but this was different.
I have mentioned that my wife is Eurasian, born in Indonesia. Her father was a Dutch Army officer until he married his wife, a Eurasian, born in Indonesia. He left the military as this posed a conflict of interest. He was an intelligence officer. But this says nothing about my wife’s parents before they met.
My father-in-law was a teen-ager during World War II. His father was very elderly (90s) and wheelchair bound. His mother, for whom my wife was named, was German, with a brother who used his influence within the Nazi party to have my father-in-law go to school instead of work in the munitions factories. My father-in-law hated the Nazis, once being beaten for spitting on a Nazi staff car. His father was part of the resistance, hiding downed Allied pilots in his root cellar. The Nazis never suspected a man bound to a wheelchair, with a wife who had Nazi connections within her family. My father-in-law became their arms and legs in the village. When the war was over, now educated with a degree in accounting, he went to England to officer’s school to reestablish the Dutch Army.
My mother-in-law was a pre-teen when the Japanese invaded Indonesia. She had run-ins with her occupation officials also. She was nearly sent to a concentration camp for laughing at a Japanese officer when he fell from his bicycle. If it were not for her shrewd and knowledgeable mother, she would have spent the war in the camp, and probably would not have made it. They had very little to eat. Of what food they could obtain, one of her brothers took some and snuck it into the nearest concentration camp to feed the prisoners. As it was, she was skin and bones when she met a dashing young Dutch Army officer after the war.
So, I remembered these things after my wife watched the movies. She had created her own Memorial Day celebration.
On Memorial Day weekend, we honor those who did not return home from the wars, but what of those who were home as the war raged about them? What of those who stepped out in faith to do the right thing in the face of evil? Some of those resistance fighters, regardless of age, did not survive the war. We need to remember them also.
And we also need to remember the Scripture above. While we are told to love our enemies, we must resist evil. Even in times of relative peace, we need to remember that Satan is perpetrating whatever evil he can do to us to shake our faith. Remember that God is our strength.
Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God Alone.