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How's Your Heart
Tuesday, January 9, 2024 by Sarah Schwerin

Our group stood in the shade outside Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, Israel. I adjusted my ear piece to hear the tour guide, then put on my sunglasses to hide the tears running down my cheeks.

We walked into the museum, and sadness continued to wash over me. I couldn’t control my anguish. The first exhibit was a movie, a living landscape, portraying Jews living in Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. Our tour guide explained that many of these people would be murdered. Over six million Jewish lives lost. In another exhibit there are piles of books and shoes from the victims of the holocaust. I hung my head and continued to weep. I didn’t want anyone to see how hard I was crying.

We followed our tour guide through the busy museum, listening to her narrate. The sadness and grief weighed me down. We saw the evidence that antisemitism began as a campaign long before the holocaust. The holocaust was a concentrated effort to wipe out God’s chosen people. How could someone orchestrate and implement such an evil plan?

As we wove our way through the exhibits and other tourists, an image caught my eye. On the wall were pictures of Nazi soldiers. One was a young soldier who looked a little older than my high school aged son. The 8 X 10 frame swung out, and behind it was a letter he wrote to his mother. Part of the letter said (paraphrased): To be bothered by killing someone is weakness of heart, but it gets easier the more you do it.

He’s saying that to kill someone and feel bad about it means you have a weak heart. In order to kill someone, you must harden your heart. How did the holocaust happen? Like this young man, people hardened their hearts.

It’s easy to hide our tears, to hide our guilty feelings, and to harden our hearts. But God desires that we give him our hardened hearts in exchange for a heart like his.

“Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep my judgements and do them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God,” (Ezekiel 11:19-20, NKJV).

In the crowded museum, I felt God saying: Don’t let your heart grow hard. It’s okay if you’re weeping uncontrollably because that’s how I made your heart.

I pray that none of our hearts will ever be so hardened that the sight of death and destruction doesn’t make us weep and mourn.

*Photo courtesy of https://pixabay.com/

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