I watched the movie, “Valkyrie,” starring Tom Cruise, last night with my
family. It’s based on a true story that recounts one Nazi colonel’s attempt
to assassinate Hitler and reorganize the German government in order to
change the direction of the war.
According to the movie, large numbers of Germans wanted Hitler out of
office, including generals and military leaders in high places. I don’t want
to give away the story, but I think you can guess what happened if you know
any World War II history. The result was not a happy ending for those who
planned the coup.
The movie concluded with a byline stating that 15 assassination attempts
were made on Hitler’s life during his rule.
I wondered why so many attempts on his life had failed, not because I was
rooting for success, but from wanting to understand more why things happen
the way they do.
Hitler was not a good guy. His thinking was filled with prejudice, hate,
malice, racism, vitriol, anger and a whole lot of other evil qualities that
I’m not thinking of at the moment. Anyone who can sentence millions of
innocent people to concentration camps as he did is manifesting a void of
any kind of compassion, understanding or humanity normally associated with
And there I found my answer to why all the assassination plots had failed.
They were likely predicated on returning evil for evil-motivated by revenge,
hatred and anger. And no matter how justified the would-be assassins felt, their sense of power in evil was not anything as large as Hitler’s.
As far as evil planning, conniving, deceiving and thwarting good intent was concerned, none of the assassins rose to Hitler’s level. He outdid them all. So, any assassination attempts were basically little evil verses huge evil. And which was going to win out? The bigger of the two!
I thought about competing in tennis. If I have an opponent who is vastly more muscular than I am, and he wails on the ball, hitting it far harder than I do. If I try to play his game and wail on the ball back, I will lose. I’m trying to play his game, and he’s far better at it than I am. To win, I have to come up with a different strategy. I have to use wisdom instead of muscle to find his weak spots and capitalize on my strengths.
Likewise, in the world of good vs. evil, returning evil for evil against someone who is much better at it is a losing proposition for the opponent.
Hitler was stopped militarily, eventually, but at a huge price for the world. It was inevitable that he lose the war, for the world was filled with enough morality and spirituality in high places to counter the tidal wave of hatred he sent out when attempting to rule the planet.
The lesson I picked up from this line of reasoning was, don’t fight evil with evil. Go higher, to love and wisdom, as Jesus Christ did in his battle with the dark side, and then you’ll win.
For a moment, I was feeling grateful that Hitler was gone, but then a little voice said, “But is he?”
What about cancer, heart disease, obesity, poverty, famine, pestilence? These claims on humanity take millions of lives every year, in much larger numbers than Hitler’s concentration camps murdered innocents.
Isn’t a medical diagnosis of terminal illness today equivalent to being sentenced to a concentration camp in the 1940s? This was a sobering assessment for me to consider.
Christian Science is constantly teaching its students to look beyond person to the thought forces at work behind the scenes. Hitler personified a horrendous evil in his time, but unfortunately, the authoritarian, absolute control evil wants to wield over innocent humanity is still around in different forms.
Another lesson to learn well…we must remain metaphysically ready and alert to meet the despotism of evil at all times to prevent becoming its servant, such as the Germans did when they elected Hitler into office.
I thank God for the tools Christian Science gives us to defend ourselves from modern-day Hitlers and enable us to keep thought and body out of the concentration camps of mortal mind.
“Mankind must learn that evil is not power.” Mary Baker Eddy