The Devil in Prague
Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?
John 6:70 KJV
Reinhard Heydrich was a Nazis war criminal. He was described as the Butcher of Prague. Hitler called him the man with the iron heart. Heydrich was evil personified, the embodiment of the devil himself. The atrocities of the Nazi death camps were his brainchild and in all the truest sense he was a villain. Walter Schellenberg, his younger protégé described him like this, “untouched by any pangs of conscience and assisted by an ice-cold intellect he could carry injustice to the point of extreme cruelty.” The Nazi Conspiracy pgs. 82,83 Now it is true that all men are sinners, but for some, evil takes forms that are impossible to fathom.
It is one of the great conundrums of human history that God allows wickedness to reign without his restraining hand. Surely a God who is all-knowing and all-powerful can and should restrict evil. In the last chapter of the Bible, we find an interesting verse. God declares, “Let the evildoer still do evil and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right and the holy still be holy.” It seems to be a strange verse to find among the closing thoughts of Revelation. It sounds as if He is saying let every man make his own decision.
God has not changed in His dealings with mankind from the very first. He desires those who worship Him to do so with the choice of their own freewill. In the words of William Barclay, “every man is writing his own destiny.” The ancient commentator, Andreas interprets the Risen Christ as saying. ‘Let each man do what pleases him; I will not force his choice.’ Those who end up in Heaven will not arrive with an angel’s sword poking their backs. They will have joyfully chosen the path to glory.
When we share the gospel with others let us remember that we must not twist arms. You cannot talk someone into faith. A clever argument may change a man’s mind, but it is the heart that God is after. Remember, it is easy to be born again because Jesus did all the work. Never have sympathy for a man who says it’s hard to believe. The decision to bend the knee to Jesus has its roots in the soil of the will. The path we all choose is the one we have decided to take.
Heydrich died in 1942 from wounds suffered from an assassination attempt. On his deathbed he quoted lines from an opera his father had written years before; The world is just a barrel-organ which the Lord God turns Himself. We all have to dance to the tune which is already on the drum.
Reinhard Heydrich was dead wrong. We all dance to the drum that we have chosen. Heydrich stood before God and gave an account for his life. He killed millions without mercy. His path in life was dark because he chose it. We all decide our way but what we cannot control are the consequences that follow. Eternity in Heaven or Hell awaits our decision concerning Jesus Christ. God will not force our hand.