Hope for Hitler

    I’m just going to come right out and say it. The grace that Jesus offers is offensive (this might not sit well with you yet, but continue reading. My hope is that it grows on you). I’ve been a good Christian boy almost my whole life. I’ve smoked weed twice. I’ve been drunk once…maybe…I’ve stolen a piece of candy from Walgreens one time (and my parents still had a police officer come out to teach me a lesson. It worked.) But for the most part, I’ve lived a fairly clean life. So God’s grace extended towards me makes a little sense. It doesn’t have to clean so much.

    So now, I want to look at the stories of the Manson family. You may or may not have heard but there are some members of the family that once brought forth terror in Suburban America who now profess their faith in Jesus Christ. I just want to say hell no. Why would God extend grace to them? They committed the most heinous crimes and killed innocent people. They had their chance and they blew it. But that’s not how grace works. And that is why the grace of God is so offensive.

    Jesus explained this type of grace in Matthew 20:1-16. In this parable, he spoke of workers in a vineyard who were working the field. The story states that two times, once at 9am and once at 5pm, the land owner went out to the town and hired more workers. At the end of the day, the landowner gathered all of the workers so they could collect their wages. And then something ridiculous happened…he paid them all the same amount. He paid them all, the amount he had agreed to pay the first workers.

    Now you can guess at this point, the first workers began grumbling. I can imagine the scene. “Umm… what the hell? Hey buddy. We’ve been out here all day. These dudes just came three hours ago. How are they getting paid the same?” To which the landowner responded, “Are you not receiving the wage that we agreed upon? Then shut up.”…ok…I’m paraphrasing here. But the idea is that the workers had no right to complain; because they got paid what they were owed. But something about it just feels kind of wrong doesn’t it…it feels kind of…do I have to even say it again?

    Maybe I haven’t convinced you yet. Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, it’s the landowner’s choice to pay whoever, whatever he wants.” Okay. Scenario time. Let’s say that it’s 1935 and we are in Germany. The concentration camps are in full swing and millions of men and women have lost their lives. Gas showers, bullets to the back, a multitude of disgusting human experiments. It’s almost unbelievable the evil that took place there. And above it all, Adolf Hitler looks down on it with a smile on his face. His cleansing as he put it, is working…until it stops. The war is over. Hitler is about to pay for his crimes.

    Now let’s say that Adolf Hitler didn’t kill himself. Let’s say instead he was caught, captured as a prisoner of war and later executed for his crimes. But before he was put to death, let’s say he requested a priest and asked the priest to help him seek forgiveness for his sins. The priest and Adolf bow their heads and Adolf Hitler asks Jesus into his heart. All of Adolf’s sins: past, present and future; all of his atrocities… they are now gone. When they bring Adolf to the gallows, He is read his last rights. And as he hangs there in the gallows; As his soul is released into the arms of the Savior who died for all of those evil things he did, he is free.

    It doesn’t seem fair does it? It is offensive isn’t it? We don’t know what happened to Hitler in those final moments and many relish in the thought of him burning forever in eternal torment (This mindset is bent towards evil itself…but I digress). The purpose of writing this is to open you up a little more to the vastness of God’s grace; to the idea that when Jesus died on the cross, many sins were bared on His shoulders; that when Jesus cried “IT IS FINISHED”, He meant it. The point I’m trying to make is that the Grace of God is so offensive, that we should fall to our knees daily and thank Him for it.

By being offended by the grace of God, we are proving that His grace is unfair. But it is unfair in the manner that we are undeserving of it and yet He gives it away freely. We live in a society that is hell bent on making sure that our voices are heard when we are offended. In this regard, this is the one area where being offended is a good thing. Our daily prayer should be, “Lord, thanks for offending me so much. Please offend me again today.” Because it is in this grace, and only this grace that there is hope…even for Hitler.

Josh Wing

Des Moines, IA