In the movie, "The Hiding Place", there is a conversation that takes place between Corrie ten Boom and her older sister, Betsie. Corrie, convicted by Betsie's ongoing message that we must love and forgive our enemies, confesses her hatred for the Nazis.
Her hatred is understandable. Millions of innocent people had been slaughtered. She and her family like so many others had been arrested for giving aid to the innocent and helpless. Not only had they been arrested and imprisoned; they had been tortured and placed in inhumane conditions.
She had seen people being beaten and killed simply because they existed. She had seen the gleeful faces of their torturers and executioners. In order to commit such crimes against others, one must push down and imprison any feelings of love, kindness, compassion, etc or they will go utterly mad... and many did. Unable to continue to mute the screams of their victims, many eventually took their own lives.
How could she possibly forgive these people who bore more resemblance to savage monsters than they did to human beings? Surely God did not love them and if He did, He certainly would not, could not expect her to do the same!
I watched the "Hiding Place" again last night and Betsie's response was driven deep into my heart. She said,
We can't be more than what we are.
When people live in a society that not only embraces but encourages and even rewards evil, the moral veneer is stripped away and we see who people really are. Unfortunately it usually isn't very pretty. The "nicest people" can suddenly turn into blood-thirsty fiends willing to do whatever they have to do to benefit themselves, even at the expense of others including their own families. That is who we are without Christ and as long as we are without Christ, we can't be more than that. Oh, we can't paint a pretty mask and put it on for awhile. We can hide behind it and fool everyone, including ourselves. We can fool everyone except God, that is. We can't be more than who we are.
And yet, even in that place of endless horror and torture, the Light penetrated the Darkness. There were those who remembered who they were. The Old Man was dead and they were alive in Christ. Sin no longer had dominion over them. Though physically imprisoned, they walked in freedom and they could face all things, endure all things, overcome all things because of who they were in Christ. That is who they were and that is who we are.
We can't be more than what we are so remember who you are in Christ.