I am writing today from beautiful Florida
Do not envy the oppressor, And choose none of his ways; For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, But His secret counsel is with the upright. Proverbs 3:31-32 NKJV
I already know you are not going to like this, but I have heard it said, “The only difference between Adolf Hitler and us, is that Hitler had the opportunity and we didn’t.” Now that is a terrible thing to say, but is it true? Let’s be honest. When left to our our human nature don’t we try to manipulate people and situations as much as is legal and socially acceptable in our situation? Do we try to control other people as far as we are allowed? If so, then that’s all Hitler was doing, controlling people as far as he was allowed. We don’t want to be called a “control freak” but we all know where the line is before we cross over into becoming a control freak. Do we try to get as close to that line as possible?
During the dark ages of papal reign and folks being burned at the stake for exercising their freedom to think for themselves, many fled to a new world where they would not suffer papal oppression.
Yet honest and God-fearing as they were, the Pilgrims did not yet comprehend the great principle of religious liberty. The freedom which they sacrificed so much to secure for themselves, they were not equally ready to grant to others. “Very few, even of the foremost thinkers and moralists of the seventeenth century, had any just conception of that grand principle, the outgrowth of the New Testament, which acknowledges God as the sole judge of human faith.”–Ibid., vol. 5, p. 297. The doctrine that God has committed to the church the right to control the conscience, and to define and punish heresy, is one of the most deeply rooted of papal errors. –Ellen White, Great Controversy, Pages 292-293
So these pilgrims, fled oppression and then, while meaning well, became the oppressors, once the opportunity was available to them. People use the term “papal” to describe someone who is being bossy, narrow minded and controlling. Yet it is not a papal issue. It is a human nature issue. Without God’s grace we all are as papal as the situation will allow.
See now, why some say the only difference between Hitler and us is Hitler had the opportunity and we did not? It may be an extreme illustration, but maybe not as extreme as we would like to imagine. I realize too, there have been people who had opportunities equal to Hitler who were very nice and not the least bit oppressive. Still, it’s something to consider.
Of course hopefully there is one difference. Hopefully we are living in the Spirit instead of the flesh.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1 NKJV
The only way to make sure we are not a Hitler, or a papal oppressor is to crucify self and let God’s Spirit live in us.
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:24
Jesus did not die to control us. He died to set us free from the sin that was controlling us.