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Summary: The language of sin and evil are a lost language in society and even in the church today. In an attempt to build people up we neglect our responsibility to speak the truth about the nature of these two words which the Biblical writers found extremely impo

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In 1960, Israeli undercover agents orchestrated the daring kidnapping of one of the worst of the Holocaust’s masterminds, Adolf Eichmann. After capturing him in his South American hideout, they transported him to Israel to stand trial.

There, prosecutors called a string of former concentration camp prisoners as witnesses. One was a small man named Yehiel Dinur, who had miraculously escaped death in Auschwitz.

On his day to testify, Dinur entered the courtroom and stared at the man in the bulletproof glass booth – the man who had murdered Dinur’s friends, personally executed a number of Jews, and presided over the slaughter of millions more. As the eyes of the two men met – victim and murderous tyrant – the courtroom fell silent, filled with the tension of the confrontation. But no one was prepared for what happened next.

Yehiel Dinur began to shout and sob, collapsing to the floor.

Was he overcome by hatred? By the horrifying memories? By the evil incarnate in Eichmann’s face?

No. As he later explained in a riveting 60 Minutes interview, it was because Eichmann was not the demonic personification of evil that Dinur had expected. Rather, he was an ordinary man, just like anyone else. And in that one instant, Dinur came to a stunning realization that sin and evil are the human condition. “I was afraid about myself,” Dinur said. “I saw that I am capable to do this … exactly like he.”

Dinur’s remarkable statements caused Mike Wallace to turn to the camera and ask the audience the most painful of all questions: “How was it possible for a man to act as

Eichmann acted? Was he a monster? A madman? Or was he perhaps something even more terrifying? Was he normal?

Yehiel Dinur’s shocking conclusion? “Euchmann is in all of us.”

The language of sin and evil is a lost language in society today and even in the church. Our culture is uncomfortable with the words. We don’t like to place labels on anyone and are quick to rationalize behavior by pointing to a broken home or an abusive relationship. We’ve found a new way of identifying what we used to call sin. Today we call it being broken, or wounded, or unhealthy. Why? Because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s self esteem. We want everyone to feel good about themselves. And telling someone that they are sinful doesn’t build them up. The language of evil and sin has been toned down so much that today in the church, the words are seldom spoken. When was the last time you heard a sermon on it? And I’m just as guilty of it as the next preacher. Why? Because I want you to go away from here feeling good about your relationship with God, not feeling badly about yourselves. But in our attempt to make each other feel good we’ve lost something very important. We’ve lost track of the fact that if there is no darkness, no evil, and no sin, then there can be no light, no goodness and no love.

If you take a brief survey of the Scriptures you’ll discover that the Biblical writers had no problem reflecting upon sin and evil and calling them by name. According to my concordance, the word “evil” is found in the Bible some 600 times and the word “sin” some 500 times. The Gospels alone contain over 50 explicit references to evil and Paul uses the word more than 60 times. The New Testament also has over 100 references to sin. So what conclusion should we draw from this? I would suggest that we cannot simply ignore these words and the need to address them in our walks with God.


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