The Ground Cries For Justice

By: Jim O'Brien 

Hi Friend,

The Judge called Cain to the witness stand. "Where is your brother?" he asked. The heartless reply, "Am I my brother's keeper? " (Genesis 4:9).

Since the world began, evil men have existed. From the Pharaohs of Egypt to the Caesars of Rome, the Shoguns of the Far East down through Hitler and Stalin, the list is endless. What will happen to them? Is there an accounting system that requires payment for their crimes, or will the Eternal Judge turn his head and forget? Will there ever be justice?

When evil Cain murdered righteous Abel, "Am I my brother’s keeper?" lives in infamy.

But the judge’s response is both profound and prophetic: "Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!" The most basic concepts of life can be found in Eden, where life began. All the innocent blood absorbed by the earth from Abel until today still cries from the ground, and the Judge’s ears are attentive.

Simon Wiesenthal was born on December 31, 1908, in a small town in Poland that was overrun by the Nazis early in WWII. Because he was Jewish, he was taken prisoner and shifted from one concentration camp to another during the next four and a half years. He was 37 years old when he was liberated by the American Army in 1945 and weighed only ninety-nine pounds.

He spent time in Camp Mauthausen in Holland, where SS head Heinrich Himmler had visited. To entertain Himmler, 1,000 newly arrived Dutch Jews were assembled at the rim of a nearby rock quarry. One by one, they were thrown to their deaths 165 feet below. By the time Wiesenthal arrived two years later, this had become a favorite pastime for the SS. They called it "parachute jumping."

Wiesenthal personally witnessed the murder of thousands of innocent people. He lost 93 family members. He saw torture and starvation on a mass scale. From 1938 until 1945, over 135,000 prisoners were gassed, tortured, beaten, or starved to death at Mauthausen.

Later, when Wiesenthal was tracking down the criminals responsible for these awful acts, he was told by Barbara Walters, "It is time to forget. Stop hunting these former Nazis. Stop torturing yourself and the world and forget."

Dan Rather called him the "self-appointed instrument of world justice." He confronted Wiesenthal, saying, "Enough already! Enough time has gone by, enough heartache has gone by; there must be a statute of limitations on it."

But Wiesenthal never became bitter. He remembered the final days of the war when food was scarce in Germany, and the prisoners got none. They resorted to eating the grass outside the barracks. They had not eaten for five days when one of the prisoners saw an American tank. They crawled outside on all fours and from his vantage point all Wiesenthal could see was an American flag.

The Americans brought food and clothes. But the captives received something even more important. Freedom! It was like the night that Israel left Egypt.

When the Americans issued permits for prisoners to leave and return to camp, Wiesenthal saw this as proof of freedom. If he could go and return at will, he was truly free. So, two days after the Americans took control, he requested a permit. The man put in charge of the camp was himself a former prisoner, but he was also a communist. Instead of giving a permit to Wiesenthal, he beat him and threw him out of his office.

Wiesenthal went to the Army commander to file an official protest over this beating. While there, he saw something startling. SS officers were brought in, shackled, to be interrogated by prisoners they had abused, and the Americans took notes of the meeting. They wanted to know what criminal acts had been committed by the Nazis and who had committed them.

Wiesenthal said, "This is the tip of justice. When evil men must account for their sins, justice has begun." Thus began his lifelong mission to track down Nazi criminals and bring them to trial. From this, the World Court was born.

The universe seems hard-wired for justice. We’re born with an inner sense of accountability. Part of our mental structure logically compares what is right and wrong, fair or hypocritical. So, it’s natural that we want God to be just. Real justice is a mixture of punishment and mercy. Abraham was concerned when God told Abraham that He would visit Sodom and Gomorrah to see for Himself if the sins were as great as reported. His nephew Lot lived there. Would God destroy the righteous with the wicked? "Far be it from you to do such a thing—treating the righteous and wicked alike…Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?" (Genesis 18:25). Abraham asked.

But what if the wicked go unpunished? How can a man believe in a God who does not enforce His laws? When men see justice carried out, they will say, "Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth." (Psalm 58:11 NIV).

Even the ground cries out for the Just God to return to the earth.

Until next time,

Jim O’Brien

April 12, 2024

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