Wednesday Word: Atrocious

Most atrocities are stimulated by accounts of the enemy's atrocities – C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain, p. 59

I read these words from C.S. Lewis on Monday. While they stand out as a fairly obvious statement, little did I know that on Tuesday I would wake up to multiple examples of these words put into action.

The President labeled a Virginia restaurant “dirty” and “filthy,” which prompted many of his supporters to attack the wrong restaurant. There was yet another story of whites behaving badly, this time of a white woman calling the cops on an 8-year old black girl selling water to raise money for a trip. And then there was the video of the encounter between a white woman and a Latino man and his mom where she was shouting that they were illegal and rapists.

In our past, whites propagated various exaggerated lies against blacks, Chinese, and Native Americans, among others. Nazis did the same thing about Jews, gays, and Bolsheviks. America did it against Germans and Japanese in WWII. And when we tell stories of atrocities that “everybody knows to be true,” it becomes so much easier to participate in atrocities ourselves.

It becomes easy to ship millions of people off to death camps. It becomes easy to march thousands of people across a Trail of Tears. It becomes easy to relocate Japanese-Americans to internment camps. It becomes easy to lynch blacks. It becomes easy to keep “those people” in cages. It becomes easy to deny due process.

But here's the thing: Atrocities based on accounts of atrocities are still atrocities.

We can do better as human beings.

We must do better as Christians.

How will you do better?



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