The Story of Sophie Scholl Pt. 2
Today I'm continuing a little mini-series in the Daily Devo that I started after reading about Sophie Scholl and the story of the White Rose Society during World War II.
Sophie and her brother Hans joined with other German university students and at least one professor in 1942 to take a stand against Hitler and Nazi fascism. She would eventually be executed for it.
I've been thinking about the amount of courage it would have to take to do what they did--printing anti-war leaflets and distributing them during a time when devotion to the Nazi party and unwavering nationalism permeated all of German society.
This is what Sophie Scholl had to say about her motivation:
Isn't it bewildering … that everything is so beautiful, despite all the horrors that exist? Lately I've noticed something grand and mysterious peering into my sheer joy in all that is lovely — the sense of a Creator whom innocent creation worships with its beauty. Only man can be hateful or ugly, because he possesses a free will to cut himself off from the chorus of praise. It often seems that he will succeed in drowning out this chorus with his cannon thunder, curses, and blasphemy. But it has become clear to me this spring that he cannot. And so I must try to throw myself on the side of the victor.It got me thinking about the story of Peter and John from Acts chapter 3 when they heal a man who had been unable to walk his whole life and begin preaching to the people who witnessed it.
They are brought before the very same religious court that orchestrated the death of Jesus and threatened with imprisonment or worse if they don't stop preaching in his name.
I love the exchange that Peter has with the leaders in Acts 4:
8 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”You might be wondering, "How do you muster up the courage to do that---to stand up to the very people who killed Jesus?"
It's simple. They saw the evidence of the Resurrection, and they lost their fear. Peter and John knew that no matter what happened to them, they didn't have to worry about those who might kill their body...
They were more worried about denying Jesus once again...
Sure, they could have given in and complied with the religious leaders' mandate to simply go along to get along... to silently give their approval as to what the council had done.
They might even have been rewarded for is. After all, Judas managed to procure 30 pieces of silver out of his deal.
But they had heard Jesus say something to them once that I am sure they called to mind:
What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul? - Mark 8:36 (NIV)And I'm sure that these words also echoed in their thoughts:
“Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you? Matthew 10:32-33 (MSG)There may be times in your life when it would be easier to not speak up about what's right and just. There may be moments when you would fare better keeping your mouth shut about your faith and how it informs what you believe.
But Jesus has overcome the darkness. And in the new light he brings, there is evidence of Resurrection all around us, all of the time if we have eyes to see them. Christ has already won---evil just won't admit it.
So throw yourself on the side of the victor. You don't have to be afraid.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.