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Human Inhumanity

While reading the story of WW2 prisoner of war, Louis Zamperini, Devil at my Heels, I’ve found it to be a sickening reminder of our universal human capacity for evil.

About half way into a story of suffering, first on a raft, lost at sea, and then in a series of prisoner of war detention camps, Zamperini begins describing a guard inmates called “the Bird.”

Before describing the incredible evils of “the Bird”, Zamperini introduces him as, someone who made other guards seem like country gentlemen. He goes on to say, “Deranged, brutal beyond belief, vicious like someone who tortured animals as a child before turning his evil talents on people, the Bird by his mere existence allowed me to focus all of the hatred I’d accumulated and let fester since my capture.”

Later, after descriptions of torture that I could barely stand to read, Zamperini quotes from the story of Tom Wade, another prisoner of war. According to what Wade learned from friendlier guards, “the Bird” had been raised in a wealthy home, with an adoring mother.

As a student, however, the man had partied and wasted his education so that, when called up by the army, he failed to qualify for officer training school. Later he was described by those who knew him as a proud nationalist who sheltered an inferiority complex over his failure to become an officer.

So Zamperini writes,  “In other words, the Bird hated officers because he couldn’t be one, and given a camp full of high-ranking men, he acted like a jealous god, abusing his power.”

At this point, I remembered that the Apostle James links demonic evil with the common human emotions of envy and jealousy (James 3:14-16).

James actually says, “For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil” (v 16 NLT).

That raises questions in my mind that I wish we could consider together. What is it about envy and jealousy that allows such emotions to be linked to some of the worst expressions of evil?

And if we can find any answers to that question, can it help us to better appreciate what Christ offers to do in us?

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59 Responses to “Human Inhumanity”

  1. Ted M. Gossard says:

    That is such a good question, Mart. Seems close to the heart of Satan. While I think human capacity for evil is profound in itself, some acts seem diabolical as in demonic at the core.

    I do have to think of the passage where we’re told not to let the sun go down on our anger so that we don’t give the devil a foothold into our lives. Deception makes one think they should do such and such, even when they know better. The way of the Lamb through the cross is markedly different. Never under any circumstances taking revenge over something done, even an evil done against us.

  2. SFDBWV says:

    Mart it may be that we need the expertise of actually trained Psychiatrist’s to answer this one.

    For if we try to understand fully why certain people behave a certain way it is more than psychology or heredity or even life experience, sometimes there are chemical or malfunctions of the brain that can cause some of the monsters in our society.

    We are told that the first death in the history of mankind came about because Cain was jealous of Abel and so angry enough to *get even*, in his mind, by taking a rock and bashing his head in and killing his brother.

    Cain attempted to make himself feel happy, superior, in control, satisfied.

    Sin we are told is at the base of such an action. The sin being that ours or Cain’s happiness is more important than that of another, even to a degree of murder.

    If we are honest with ourselves we all have entertained the same thoughts whether we have carried them out or not. Never fully understanding why we would hate some one enough to see them dead. For some it may not be jealousy or envy, there can be other root causes, but it is still hatred and a sin of *self* that can cause one to fall prey to sin.


  3. SFDBWV says:

    I have not read Mr. Zamperini’s book, however last evening I watched a special on Cornerstone Television about Viet Nam veterans, every one of them had difficulty talking about their pain, but all agreed that in order to begin to heal they needed to talk about their anger and pain even if 40 or more years late.

    I would imagine Mr. Zamperini might agree.

    To fully explore the tragedy of torture and cruelty of one man upon another, one also has to look to all of the other people involved who allowed such a cold unfeeling action to occur.

    To look at the culture of these people as well as the psychology of why they would allow such bad behavior to continue.

    This guard spoken of (The Bird), had people in charge and control of him, I would guess they used his cruelty to their advantage and were no different than him in his guilt.

    Was Mr. Zamperini ever able to forgive “The Bird” and his captors? Does he still harbor *stuff* in his trunk that needs healing? Or has he been se free, by the supernatural power of Christ?

    I would like to know Mart.


  4. oneg2dblu says:

    Great question Mart, and great answers are surfacing as well. To Ted’s quote:”Never under any circumstances, taking revenge over something done, even an evil done to us.” I would add “never underestimate our ability” to take revenge, because in our unbalanced sin nature if we try to balance its imbalances, and cause another imbalance to try to right it ourselves. “Without God being in the center of our lives, we will never find our right center.”
    I find that our sin bearing emotions of anger, malice, discontent, rage, envy and the lot, are all hidden within us, and when acted out in the physical world,
    become such extremes on others or ourselves, that it has a satisfying affect, as all sin has, on our tourtered souls.
    To properply define the root, to me, would be to address both the hate and love of self as well,
    for right in the middle of all *SIN* we are always left with the dealings of that sin natured,I!
    Sin’s only remedy is that we become “Chrisr Centered” instead. Gary

  5. Mart De Haan says:

    Steve, I don’t know the outcome yet since I’m still reading it. I didn’t buy it as a “religious book” but found it on Amazon after reading a review of another book about Zampirini. A reviewer indicated that Zamperini’s own story was not romanticized as much as the other book in question.

  6. oneg2dblu says:

    A Psychiatrist may well have the right answer for many, but for the few, those known as the Remnant, they will only find it in Christ! Gary

  7. florida7sun says:

    Praise the Lord He has given us His Word and The Comforter.

    Each morning, in reading the news of daily events, there are despicable and demonic acts of violence all around us; in every corner of the globe.

    The world is filled with evil… envy and jealousy abound. In government; in business; in the home; on the street corner; within houses of worship; in schools and universities; in medicine… wherever we gaze, the influence of demons is real and prevalent.

    Jesus warned us to stay connected to Him; to be in prayer at all times; to keep our eyes focused on His Cross and await His soon return.

    Even now, we see Satan at work as the days become darker and more evil.

    “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-9

    How wonderful it is to be given His Spirit to walk with us. Even with His Presence we see what a little taste of hell is like. – 2 Thessalonians 2:7

    How gracious is Our Father! How loving is His Son! – John 3:16

    Blessed weekend to all, Ray

  8. Mart De Haan says:

    I just read an example of the Bird’s inhumanity that, while not being as violent as other instances, reflects his cruelty.

    Zamperini writes of one camp, “Forced labor was our only occupation…Every day, gangs marched to the nearby steel mill, train yard, and port. Although we all had shoes, most of us walked the two miles to work barefoot in the March snow and ice, our feet wrapped in rags, because the Bird had a rule: whoever had dirty shoes got beaten and had to lick them clean.”

  9. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    It seems to me, once the Third Reich got rolling in Europe, it was a dark shelter for all descriptions of idolatry and twisted beliefs. I do not excuse The Bird — since righteousness is in reach for those who seek the living God. I have not read the biography by Zamperini.

    Mart, you wrote about the Nazi prison guard:
    “Later he was described by those who knew him as a proud nationalist who sheltered an inferiority complex over his failure to become an officer.”

    There are wicked forces in the world, by the working of that prince of rebellion, Satan. The writer of Hebrews called the persecuted people of God to encourage one another — “strengthen the hands which hang down and the feeble knees.” (Hebrews 12:12) That shepherd calls for us to make “straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather healed.” (v 13)

    The nature/nurture debate cannot be resolved. Still, the godly counsel of Hebrews calls for each of us — as well as the body of Christ — to “look carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness spring up…and by this many become defiled…” (v 15)

    To the question:
    “What is it about envy and jealousy that allows such emotions to be linked to some of the worst expressions of evil?” — the answer must lie both in The Bird turning to the darkness and tightly embracing personal, moral, social sin — thereby self-justifying wickedness.


  10. remarutho says:

    In addition to his personal moral failure, The Bird was encouraged in evil by the degenerate society in which he lived — to finish my two part thought. Maru

  11. SFDBWV says:

    Thinking myself to be *normal* (I am sure that is debatable) I have never understood rape. It occurs often by both the criminal in civilian life as well as criminals in military life.

    A brutish and violent act of power over another, rape can be of either gender and many times leads to the murder as well of the victim.

    I read many rears ago from a neurologist who believed that such people had a different pathway in their brains to the regions that are given as areas of pleasure, then that of *normal* people.

    I have always read that pedophiles are *never* cured of their peculiar psychosis, that from birth to death this is their only means of sexual pleasure, whether acted out or imagined. Even though many have a clear psychological profile as to explain their sickness they are never clinically cured.

    This fellow *The Bird* seems to me to be one of those individuals who would go down into death cursing everyone around them, never understanding why it is he is so angry or given to want to change. Mad at the world, mad at everyone in it. However in a different environment given the right influences even he could find peace.

    In such deeply sickened individuals I would suppose that only by the creative power of our Creator could they ever be healed.

    Cruelty is very disturbing, our natural defense being equally violent in our reaction to it. However when I think of how Nero sent Christians into the Arena to be eaten alive by beasts and burned alive to the cheers of a Roman crowd, I am left to ponder that cruelty doesn’t have to be a solitary sin or individual psychotic base.


  12. SFDBWV says:

    Sorry Mart, I supposed that Louis Zamperini was in a Japanese prison camp until I read Maru’s comments.

    So I went to Wikipedia to see for myself, it turns out I was right and this turns out to be a very Christian story as Mr. Zamperini becomes a speaker for Billy Graham and speaks to his old prison guards of forgiveness and acceptance of Christ.

    However *The Bird* Matsuhiro Watanabe refused to meet with him when he was in Japan to run a leg in the 1998 Winter Olympics Torch relay, he was 81.

    Mr. Zamperini has quite a life story.


  13. SFDBWV says:

    Wanted to add that Louis Zamperini is still living and is 94 years old, a real hero in both the military sense as well as the Christian one.


  14. rabbineil says:

    At the beginning of the Bible, we knew God intimately, personally, and daily. We knew everything GOOD. The temptation was to know EVIL. The appeal was to our PRIDE. The appeal was made by HaSatan (Hebrew for the Adversary), whose fall from favor was caused by PRIDE. We succombed to the temptation and sin entered the world. James told us that all the sin could be grouped into three categories. I believe pride is the worse than the “lust of the eye” or the “lust of the flesh” because pride won’t let you acknowledge the others, and will lead you to despicable actions. Pride leads to anger, to jealousy, to torture, rape and eventually murder. Jesus disciples struggled with pride right to the end. His final lesson to them was about humility, the antidote to PRIDE.

  15. florida7sun says:

    Mart, your post this morning brings to mind Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 horror film, “The Birds.” Thinking about the depravity of sinful man and Hitchcock’s classic, my thoughts took me to Genesis 8:6-9:

    “After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark.”

    There are birds, ever so black, which fly “to and fro” and feed on floating carrion: dead flesh. Sin always finds a place to land where there is road kill on the face of the earth. The dove, however, fed not on human flesh and returned to Noah in the ark.

    Demons look for a place to land and internalize themselves.

    A quote from The Birds: “Why are they doing this? Why are they doing this? They said when you got here the whole thing started. Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from! I think you’re evil. EVIL!”

    We are in spiritual warfare. Satan works flesh against flesh. Envy and jealousy produce fear; and fear is the opposite of faith.

    Fear kills. Faith brings life.

    Our Father has prepared an ark for all through His Word and His Son. I have to keep my Lord and Savior always in view and not rely on my intellectual compass. Otherwise, I could become disoriented in the Devil’s Triangle.

    Grace and peace to all, Ray

  16. remarutho says:

    Given the horror of being in close quarters with this cruel prison guard, as Zamperini was, I have always been mystified by Jesus’ counsel to the disciples to “endure to the end.” (Mark 13:13) It is well attested in Matthew and Luke as well that Jesus does not call for “Christian militancy” at all. He speaks to the gathered people of God. We the church are called to “persevere” and to “be faithful until death.” This “patient endurance” is counter to our fallen human nature to resist and fight back.

    How difficult it is to obey Jesus and love The Bird! If the man is still living, has the Holy Spirit kept alive also his conscience? Is he equipped to experience the burden of his sin? Has he cried out to God? “…according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7) NKJV

    Is there time for The Bird to choose Life? — Maru

  17. poohpity says:

    Wow, it is so easy to look at someone like this “the bird” and comment on how horrible his crimes against humanity are yet Jesus tells us if we even have anger in hearts (Matthew 5:20-22 The Message) it is horrible. Jesus was even speaking to the words we use towards each other. I have found that while physical hurts can heal the words we use towards each other may never heal. Only God knows what this man went through in his life to cause him to behave the way he does but I have to look into my own life and if I hold anger or resentment or lack of forgiveness that is no different than this man’s offenses, actually being a believer it is worse. I guess this would fall into the category of determining which sin is greater than another when they are all the same to God. We are all guilty of crimes against humanity, some just seem more acceptable than others.

  18. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    My heart is refreshed to find this great article about Zamperini going to Japan to seek reconciliation with his old prison guard:

    “I didn’t want him to do any bowing and scraping. I just wanted to tell him I’d forgiven him–just the two of us, maybe over lunch, talking about the Olympics, the future of our families and such.

    “But his son said no to any meeting. That was a mistake, because now he’ll be seen as a bad guy in his own country, and I wanted to spare him that. See, guys who worked under him were hanged as war criminals. ‘The Bird’Watanabe avoided all that.” (LA Times 2/19/98)

    Matsuhiro Watanabe made his choice. There was a moment of truth, and he let it pass by without seizing the golden opportunity to be reconciled.

    Unfortunate choice, but a real and eternal one. Matsuhiro Watanabe died in 2004. — Maru

  19. BruceC says:

    Maru—If the Bird is still alive there is still hope.
    Had we all been at Golgotha would any of us thought there was hope for the repentant thief on the cross?

    Living in central upstate New York I have an interest in the history of this area from the 1600’s until the end of the Revolutionary War. Presently am reading a book on the Revolutionary War for this area and it is very well done. Some of the events happened only minutes from my home. It is saddening to see that the same fallen human nature reared its ugly head in the form of brutality and inhumanity during the French &Indian War and into the Revolution. Murder of women and children, scalping by both Indian and whites. British officials paying for scalps based on a scale that included infants. Some scalped while still alive. Even cannabilism. Nothing will change until He returns.
    When I think of jealousy and envy I think of how it drags greed along with it; and what damage greed has inflicted through the centuries.
    As one of the other posters stated; it is all traceable to pride. “I” want, “I” will be, and if someone has what “I” want then jealousy and envy rear up.
    The day is soon coming that God will exalt the humble and bring low the proud.
    Only in Christ and our confession as sinners can we find humility. The unrepentant find pride and its path to destruction.

    PS Steve. I agree with part of what you say about brain imbalance. My mother-in-law took DES while pregnant with my wife and it left my wife with a learning disability, a chemical imbalance in her brain, and the inability to have children(which some misguided Christians said was a lack of faith for not being healed!) I believe that is why we are commanded to forgive; because only God truly knows the “why”.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  20. BruceC says:


    While I entered my post two more came on and I found out the Bird had died. Sorry bout that.


  21. remarutho says:

    No prob, BruceC! We are learning as we go!

    I just thought, though, hope we have not spoiled your reading of the Zamperini autobiography, Mart!

    If you have not reached the end of the book, I hope you are still up for it. :-) Maru

  22. remarutho says:

    I am following an Oswald Chambers devo this year. Today’s portion is 2 Kings 6:8-18. Elisha prays for the eyes of his servant to be opened to see the fiery chariots with angelic warriors all around.

    Chambers says:
    “The Holy Spirit can anoint our spiritual eyes with salve. By His quickening, He performs a kind of surgical operation, which is necessary before we can see in any light other than that of our prejudices.”

    Odds are that The Bird was not a good Buddhist — or even Shintoist. Can we weep for him any longer? I’m not sure we can. We can, however, pray and work to bring the Good News to those whose lives touch our own here and now!

    Zamperini is a great model for us. He has put much suffering behind him — and is pressing in with inspiration and energy. — Maru

  23. florida7sun says:

    Another beautiful testimony from a victim of horrific violence…

    “Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him….Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me your forgiveness….And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.” – Corrie ten Boom, “The Hiding Place”

  24. poohpity says:

    It sounds like this guard rather than understanding that it was his own behaviors that prevented him from achieving the position he desired to hold, he blamed others. It seems that people get a hard heart when they do not accept responsibility for their part in a failure yet they feel envy, jealousy and blame others because it seems easier to lash out than look within. James speaks of this in James 4:1-3 NLT.

    Admitting when we have messed up helps us to take some responsibility and then we are able to learn the lesson. Cain and Abel were mentioned earlier and had Cain learned the lesson about his offering but instead he chose to blame his brother and then the next offering he brought to the Lord could have been given with a better heart but it was easier to kill. So I think that the emotions that envy and jealously evoke prevent one from taking responsibility that it may be something they themselves have done to cause the situation. So does it come down to looking within at our motives rather than blaming anyone else?

  25. foreverblessed says:

    This is about jealousy.
    A few years ago I was in Germany, and we were swimming in a swimmingpool, called Schlangenbad. On the base of the pool was a big snake in mosaic stones, you could see it as you were swimming. While swimming there it was as if God was saying to me, there is still a snake in you. Not a judgmental voice, but one of caution: see to it that it is there, and deal with it.
    When I was back home, we were as parents watching our children play football, and there was always a woman, who would stand very close to my husband, and talk and laugh with him. I so disliked that happening, to say the least.
    But this time, I immediately knew what God meant: that was jealousy in me! Now I knew that God had warned me, there is still something inside you you have to get rid of! So immediately I told God I was sorry, and that I did not want it anymore, I even said: Jealousy, go away in Jesus name. I do not want to be jealous anymore, it is over.
    And that cleared the skye. How much lighter I was after that.
    I thank God for showing us our sins, and helping us to overcome them. We are victorious in Jesus’ name.
    We do not need to be slave to sin anymore.
    And We can ask Him to fill us with His life: Galatians 5:22-23
    (And that woman, later I found out that her husband did not give her much love, and she wanted to make her husband jealous, by giving so much attention to another man. I forgave her and started praying for her and her husband instead of being jealous.)

  26. foreverblessed says:

    “can it help us to better appreciate what Christ offers to do in us”
    Maybe this devotion is helpful, to focus more on Jesus then on sin, and demons:
    November 12 Heaven’s music
    To glorify Me is to reflect, in praise, My character in your lives. To mount up with wings as eagles, higher and higher, to soar ever nearer to Me.

    To praise Me is to sing, to let your hearts thrill. To glorify Me is to express exactly the same, but through the medium of your whole beings, your whole lives. When I say, “Rejoice, rejoice,” I am training you to express this in your whole natures.

    That is the Music of Heaven, the glorifying Me through sanctified lives and devoted hearts of Love.
    God at eventide, by twolisteners

  27. davids says:

    “What is it about envy and jealousy that allows such emotions to be linked to some of the worst expressions of evil?”

    I refer to Deb (Poohpity)’s comment of 10:45am about our own failings. The Ten Commandments might seem quaint compared to the Golden Rule, but there it is: Do not covet.

    Most of us are able to avoid murdering, stealing, adultry, lying, idolatry and swearing for the most part. Ah, but the coveting thing – last but not the least! If lusting is tantamount to adultry, then how close have all of us come to coveting? I’m going to put my hand up to say that it is the Commandment that I have most often had to pray for forgiveness.

    The feeling that do not have what we ought to, or that others have what we deserved, is a sin that is at the root of much evil and suffering. Thank the Lord of Mercy and Grace!

  28. bill34sl says:

    One of the names of God is Jealous God.(Ex.34:14) Notwithstanding, His jealousy is just and right because it is always directed towards the good of His loved ones not towards Himself. Almost always, with just an infinitesimaly few exceptions, it’s the other way around for human beings. We normally do not operate like God. Jealousy and envy among humans emanate from feeling of insecurity. Insecurity breeds itself in self-centeredness. It is poised to wreck havoc when we have high regard of ourselves over other people we know, in direct opposition to Philippians 2:3, when we think we deserve the best piece of the pie only to see it handed to a “less deserving” fellow and we begin to abhor it. The first born human became a murderer because of jealousy and envy. Joshua was rebuked by Moses when he displayed this kind of attitude towards Eldad and Medad.(Num.11:28-29)
    I do not know much about behavioral science but I think because personalities, as well as upbringing vary from person to person, some were able to handle this negative behavior better than others. Unfortunately, some were even transformed into ferocious beasts like “the Bird” in the life of Louis Zamperini. However, I also believe that not all cases like this are hopelessly doomed to stay evil forever. I have read stories about hardened criminals metamorphosed into “meek lambs” by the interceding power of Jesus Christ our Lord. The Apostle Paul might had been “the Bird” of the early Christians, yet he himself would experience being brutalized later on because he was transformed into one of them.

  29. nezzar says:

    In my life Jealousy was a major contributor to a suicidal way of thinking. God healed me of that and now I’m delivered.

    However, more recently one of my supiriors did something that had an adverse affect on my carreer and my family. I prayed that God would help me to forgive him and for a while I thought that was done. I was moved to a different unit and he is no longer my boss, but I still see him around every once in a while. It’s been about 18 months and I still desire violence every time I see him. I wish prayer would magically make it go away, but sometimes its more difficult than that.

    Please don’t misunderstand me I don’t wish to down play anyone else’s struggle or prayer. I’m just saying its not working for me. Just as soon as I think that I’ve finally forgiven him I see him again and think violently. I’ve prayed many times, but just can’t seem to let go of the anger and bitterness.

  30. saled says:

    nezzar, you have a tough one to let go of. Whenever something affects my family, I find myself becoming a raging tiger! It is hard to forgive an offense against our little ones, especially.

    Jealousy and envy may be the epitome of focus on self. As a young girl, I desperately wanted a horse. One of my biggest fears in life was that my cousin would get a horse. I couldn’t see that if she were that lucky, it would almost be as good as having my own horse. Neither of us were blessed with one, but for years I was so afraid that she would be the lucky one.

    Likewise, I used to envy the careers and achievements of former classmates and wondered why they were so blessed and I was not. Was it the family I was born into? Was it my lack of common sense or effort? I am thankful that I was not in a position to become another “Bird”. But God is replacing those old feelings of jealousy and envy with an assurance that He has good things planned for me too, and an appreciation for all that He has done in my life so far.

  31. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Nezzar –

    I do not entirely understand your circumstances – who can truly comprehend another’s! But I recognize the spiritual area I dwell in, which may resemble yours. I often think of the struggle as being a turf war: king/queen of the hill perhaps – not a true armed conflict.

    I pray to be given grace to have no turf of my own, no get-back strategy, no grudge to bear. There are lots of Proverbs to read and memorize as the thought for the day: “The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand.” (Proverbs 12:7) The thing I pray for in my own heart is the truth that all turf, all soil, every planet, star…belong to my God.

    My assignment, should I choose to accept it, is to stand in the grace He is giving me. Grace is super-abundant and is “my glory and the lifter of my head.” (Psalm 3:3) My turf is the grace God spreads around by His righteousness. In my heart and mind I want to hold: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) The slavery I must resist over here in my life is that poor retaliatory response – the slavery of my spirit – calm joy is God’s gift to all of us, even in trials.

    May you run joyful and free back and forth across that little hill, my brother! Maru

  32. cathyol07 says:

    Hi everyone, here in the Philippines there are also case that happened due to envy and jealousy. A brother has been killed , and the mastermind was his sister. SInce the man was closest to his dad and he was the reason why the allowance was cut off to his family, they planned to kill him and they were successful. Such cases occured because of jealousy.

    ‘Envy is rottenness to the bones’ (Prov. 14:30), This is the reason why many crimes had been committed.
    A young man killed himself because of jealousy.
    A wife killed her husband due to jealousy and anger.

    when we let those thinking consume us, we can also do the same thing.
    Let us focus on God. He will surely comfort us in everything we facess and encounter.

  33. SFDBWV says:

    I always love honesty and I personally appreciate the testimonies of those who have expressed their honest feelings, thank each of you for your honesty.

    Most people will lie to themselves and try and cover up their covetous inclinations with denial or excuses.

    Bill34sl stated that God said he is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14); looking up the word jealous in the Concordance, used in this application, I read that jealous is zeal in a bad way.

    I can clearly understand being zealous in a good way, or given this application being *jealous* as a desire for wanting something good for another to a point of it being a deeper yearning than normal.

    I have said in past posts that I can testify to having never wanted anything someone else possessed until I found how deeply I wanted my crippled son to have the life he wants and see so many others wasting theirs.

    So I now can understand how God can feel jealous even in a bad way and it not be seen as coveting, it is a pain and an aching for another’s joy.

    Then there is jealousy in the light that foreverblessed and Cathy expressed it, this is a different kind of sickness. One that is destructive and will lead to worse emotions.

    Being so possessive of another as to ache and feel the heat of anxiety whenever they even look at another, this kind of jealousy will destroy the very thing that you fear to lose, their love for you.

    I have also seen situations and people who will destroy something in order to keep other people from having it. This kind of sickness has sin at its root and perhaps can even be explained, but seems unreasonably inane to the *normal* mind.

    So complex, so deeply rooted and even generational are these sins that it takes quite an effort to heal from them.

    It begins with recognizing the problem being in you then by way of asking God to deliver you from it, talk about it. God is faithful to forgive and equally faithful to deliver you from such a burden, but it make take a while and through some doors He has prepared for you that may be unpleasant.

    We had another suicide attempt yesterday evening, this time the young man did not succeed in killing himself, however it will cost him everything he was worried about loosing anyway.

    Jealousy and envy from a rational mind is very disturbing, but there are people who suffer from mental disabilities who also feel these emotions and cannot control their thoughts. In each only God can understand and separate the sin from the sickness and as said many times, “By His stripes we are healed.”.


  34. oneg2dblu says:

    Good Morning All… no matter what label we attach to the sickness, the stumbling block, even calling it the generational curse,we all know God’s perscription is always the same. It heals the “human conditon” we all suffer from and replaces it with His Love and Forgiveness, found only in Christ Jesus. It is the one a only healing factor we can take for ourselves, and it is freely given to all who will to take it. It is never earned or desereved, but perscribed as the cure all for humanity, directly from the Great Physician. Thank God, His only restriction is… “Take freely!” Gary

  35. poohpity says:

    I can not even begin to compare God’s jealousy of wanting to first in our lives above all else with any emotion of mine as a human being. Our jealousy seems to come from a desire to have what we do not possess and although we can be joyful for another who has it at times we chose to become bitter and angry instead. If we feel blessed for what we do have as the stewards or caretakers of what we have been entrusted with and used for the good of our neighbor and for the honor of God, it is then we become thankful. It is so very easy to see why it can arouse such evil feelings in us.

    It is like saying what you have given me God is not good enough, I want more, better and things to be different. If that is how we really feel it is fine to tell the Lord but hopefully we will come out on the other side being grateful and content in our situations.

    Have you ever noticed that if we feel we have received the short end of the stick it comes out in our relationships with our family then they begin to emulate the way we feel. Anger and resentment come pouring out of them as well and turns into self pity then starts the cycle of depression and lashing out in rage.

    nezzar, forgiveness is a process we have to go through, God is the only one who can forgive and forget.

  36. sonchild2 says:


    Sometimes we think that the sins we can see
    Are definitely worse than the sins that we don’t!
    One may recite all the flaws that you have,
    But convince him of his you certainly won’t!

    One may express anger, be proud and outspoken,
    But jealousy, vengeance eat him up inside.
    One may be harsh, impulsive, unfeeling,
    But cruel deception, slick cunning he’ll hide.

    In God’s eyes, I ask you, whose sin is the greater?
    Are not both of those hearts jet black with sin?
    Both of them call themselves Christians, but tell me,
    Where is the Fruit of HIS Spirit within?

    If we confess and repent, humbly ask for forgiveness,
    Sin debts will be cancelled, the slate be wiped clean!
    God in HIS mercy accepts each one, a sinner,
    In whose life HE wants HIS Grace to be seen!

    Karin Ristau

  37. poohpity says:

    Thank you that is beautiful and so filled with truth.

  38. Mart De Haan says:

    I am happy to hear that L Zamperini came to Christ (an understatement to be sure :-)… Still reading though and have just come to his release from the camp.

    Interestingly we did a video series on the story of another WW2 Prisoner of war, Corporal Jacob DeShazer. It’s titled From Vengeance to Forgiveness and is currently being re-aired on the Ion network, but can also be watched, online at http://www.dod.org.

    In reading the book by Zamperini, I was interested in the way he contrasted the Bird with another prison guard who, according to Zamperini, “was a Christian [who] quietly performed many acts of kindness for which he could have been severely punished. His name was Kano. Sometimes he would slip us his tobacco rations, and if a man was ill, he brought him candy for the much needed sugar. Kano also risked his life to help anyone unfortunate enough to be tossed into “the barn,” a room with holes in the wall, cold and miserable at night, where men caught stealing were forced to remain for days wearing only their undershorts. Kano would wait until the other guards were asleep and cover the prisoner with a blanket, then arrive an hour before sunrise to reclaim it” [end of quote]

  39. SFDBWV says:

    I have ordered the Zamberini book from Amazon as a Christmas gift to me from Matthew. I am looking forward to reading it.

    Yes it is should be a stark difference between Christian and non Christians as seen by Zamberini and his guards, but alas this isn’t always so.

    Thanks for the Zmaberini story Mart; I will look in on the DeShazar story as well.


  40. SFDBWV says:

    In bringing the subject of envy and jealousy to a further discussion, I unhappily bring up another ugly side of the “green eyed monster”.

    We all see it where we work or play, even at church and certainly anywhere people come together.

    People who give in to these deadly sins seldom realize it and certainly would not want to admit it. They criticize the work and efforts of others, because inwardly they are jealous of what the other person is able to do.

    They attempt to discredit others and try to belittle their efforts in an attempt to inflate their own egos. They will even praise others in an attempt to snub the work or effort of the one they are jealous of.

    They end up hating the person they are jealous of and fill themselves with rage and anger, all of course warranted because they have convinced themselves they are “right” in their judgment of another.

    Remember that the snake in the garden is sly and subtle; he can sneak up on you and before you realize it, have his poison coursing through your veins.


  41. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve, it is a cruel thing to be exposed to another’s envy or jealousy, but cruel as that seems to us, it is even more pathetic that they should suffer us so.
    Remember it is sin and pride that centers itself around the “I” that we can not seem to get away from.
    If we only had the capacity to empathize with this context, It is only hurt people, that hurt people. Then, we might qualify this statement, “Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do to themselves.”
    To me all sin, is self based seeking, before it overtakes its victim who then seeks out others.
    Like rabineil said, on 11-12 9:58 Pride is the basis.
    We debase our selves as we try to satisfy ourselves first.
    In Christ… is where we can die to self, and live again! Gary

  42. SFDBWV says:

    Yes Gary, “self” is the base of all sin.


  43. remarutho says:

    Hello Mart & Friends!

    Mart, you wrote:

    “In reading the book by Zamperini, I was interested in the way he contrasted the Bird with another prison guard who, according to Zamperini, ‘was a Christian [who] quietly performed many acts of kindness for which he could have been severely punished.’”

    What a gift to our hero to have Kano in his life! Through this “angel” guard he got a look into a window open on the kingdom.

    It seems to me that by the influence of that guard, Zamperini began to “put on the breastplate of faith and love, and…a helmet the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

    In the midst of apparently prevailing vileness comes super-abundant grace!


  44. florida7sun says:

    NASA just released a short film (“Earth/Time Lapse View from Space/Fly Over”) from the orbiting space station showing the earth’s rotation at night. Cities and towns are lit-up and lightning flashes in the clouds.

    Looking down at the earth (somewhat like driving by buildings decorated for the holidays) I wondered what is really going on inside those structures with their lights turned on.

    Do the occupants enjoy peace and joy or endure fear and despair? Love or hate? Hugs or abuse?

    Satan fell to earth like a bolt of lightning.

    The daily news is replete with stories of despicable violence and demonic activity. Every structure can become a literal prison when the Lord is not present: a home, an office, a school, a charity, even a house of worship.

    Even at universities of higher learning children can become prey of depravity.

    The structure may have its lights turned on. However, without the Light of Christ burning inside the hearts of those who dwell there, sin rules the night and the day.

    Thinking of Simon and “human inhumanity” I have to always be plugged into God’s Word and draw strength from His Holy Spirit:

    “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” – Luke 22:31-32

    Thank you Mart and BTA for all your insights.

    Blessings to all, Ray

  45. poohpity says:

    Steve, your post @ 7:10 sounds like the first paragraph of the poem that sonchild2 posted by Karin Ristau.

  46. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Ray —

    The time lapse fly-over is awesome! How about those auroras — and the t-storms — amazing!

    You wrote:

    “The structure may have its lights turned on. However, without the Light of Christ burning inside the hearts of those who dwell there, sin rules the night and the day.”

    I was just taking in a daily devo in which the author (Chambers) states that “The Spirit of God alone understands the things of God, and so they (the discioples) did not understand Him until they had received the Spirit of God, ‘that no flesh should glory in His presence.'” KJV ( 1 Corinthians 1:29)

    Spiritual discernment seems to have come to Zamperini as the years passed, bringing growth in the things of God. Did he understand the acts of kindness Kano brought into the camp at the time of his imprisonment? Human eyes alone do not see these truths. Perhaps it is only in his exploration of “inhumanity” that he has discovered the light of Kano’s witness.

    It is God’s presence that shields us and gives us an understanding we do not possess in these “jars of clay.” Paul told the proud Corinthians, “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

    As you say, without the Light of Christ, even light is darkness. — Maru

  47. oneg2dblu says:

    Speaking of light, someone much brighter than i said this first, “Satan never takes a day off!” I would add to that, but he does celebrate the holidays with many!
    I’m gonna make it shine, this little light of mine during this Christmas, because even within the greatest darkness, my little light can be seen! Does that sound prideful, or is it based in truth from the God we get to serve?
    Talking of prision guards reminds me of a story John McCain told about a guard releasing the restraints which caused him constant pain, it was on Christmas Day, where that guard made the sign of the cross to him and did not return for many hours. He surely would have been harshly treated for this showing of compassion to one of his prisioners, but the Light of the Lord in him,
    could not be contained! I’m sure John spent that day in uncontrolled prayers to His Lord, and for that guard.
    To God be the Glory for every light that shines in the darkness! Gary

  48. poohpity says:

    Gary, I will pray for you that it will be the Lord’s light that shines through you this holiday season so you do not have to do so much work. :-) You asked if that sounded prideful, what do you think?

    I was thinking about hatred after reading some of the posts. After my first husband knocked my eye through my eye socket I was scared of him but because I knew what he went through while serving in Vietnam I had an understanding of what caused his behavior to be like it was. The young man who molested my youngest son at age six at the time I wanted nothing more than to hurt him but later learned that a neighbor had done the same thing to him. During the process of my mom’s death and the things my brother did caused me to disrespect him and yes I was very angry but I do not think I have ever hatred anyone to the point of wanting them to experience pain or suffering.

    For a person to get to that point in their life of hatred and the desire to cause pain their mind must be devoid of conscience. I can not image having that much anger towards someone, not that it may ever happen, but even with those I feel so angry towards I do not comprehend wanting to torture or harm anyone. It must be something horrible to feel like that inside.

    This week I have been going through the gospels in chronological order and considering the Roman guards and the things they did to Jesus and to others in that day I do not know how they could sleep at night. What has to happen in the human psych to produce that?

  49. InHisHands says:

    This may be way off track – but I think of the ‘jealousy’ in Haman. How he was driven by it to a desire to wipe out a whole nation, because of Mordeci. Many others have had the same desires and it is still going on today. What other explanation could be given for the genocide that occurs?

    Just thoughts.

  50. bratimus says:

    Nezzar I read your post and these verses came to mind.

    James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

    Profiting from Trials

    2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

    I understand how it is to see people that have effected your life not in a positive way , and still try to live by the ways of Christ. The annoying salt in the wound, It’s not easy but through faith the sting can be eased.

  51. SFDBWV says:

    Mart I am nearly speechless, thank you and RBC so very much for the Jake DeShazer story.

    It brought me to tears and cheers and once again shows me how his generation was indeed “The Greatest”.


  52. bratimus says:

    What is it about envy and jealousy that allows such emotions to be linked to some of the worst expressions of evil?

    In the Bible one of the first glimpse of jealousy and envy is with Cain and Abel and how it can turn deadly and why. As we see in in Verse 7 of Genesis 4.

    Genesis 4:7 (ESV)
    7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

    Jealousy and envy is the foot in the door of the sin salesman.

  53. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh…thanks for your prayers.
    I am truly sorry that your life has been so hard. I try to make the light of Christ shine through my words, but apparently it does not appear that way to others. I’m perplexed by your finding pride in my words. Thinking perhaps this venue is not His best way to shine that little light. Yet my faith, which to many may be seen as small as a mustard seed, or having so little light, still keeps burning for Him. My work is only for Him, and His Yoke is light! PUN intented.. Gary

  54. ogweno says:

    Mart, the question might be rhetorical. I don’t think there is an answer to it except that it, like other vices, defines our fallen nature. There is nothing as frustrating as seeing people have what you want but, for one reason or another, cannot get.

    It is only Christ who saves us from this fallen nature.

  55. davids says:

    Yes, Ogweno, and if Grace did not cause us to realize our sin, we would never turn to Christ, would we?

    Thanks and blessings, David

  56. poohpity says:

    Gary, I was just asking you what you thought about those words, only you can know what is in your heart.

  57. nezzar says:

    We all have a sin nature. I see more people pointing at others sin and very few looking inward. I understand why that is. Looking at your own sin really sucks. The conviction of the H.S. is difficult sometimes, but it is a nessessary valley for us all. So much of my sin hurts others, more than I can repay. I know God will forgive me, but what about the people that I hurt. I know that none of you can answer this, but the hurt that envy and jealousy bring about just keeps going. Only God can heal those hurts so what happens when you hurt someone who does not have a very good relationship with God. I’m not looking for answers or shared verses, just giving a sober warning to keep sin at bay. Thank you bratimus for your verse I also think of Rom 6:14. Jealousy and envy can lead to self pity which can justify many sins (at least in your own mind.) So whats the point? Don’t forget to look inward and give your sins to Jesus, before someone gets hurt. If only I had listened to my own advice. The verse for the day 1John 1:9

  58. foreverblessed says:

    Last week I attended a conference, and there the christian leader was openly talking about his struggles. 1John 1:9 as Nezzar gave just above.
    While he was a born again christian he still had many problems. He prayed more everyday, fasted a lot, was seeking God, but his troubles remained, (his was not envy, but more anxiety, fear, a feeling of stress allday around.)
    He now has a great ministry of bringing freedom to christians, teaching them to be set free, not necessarily by someone else, but also seeking ourselves for deliverance. He says he gets much resistance from other christians who say, it is impossible when you are filled with the Holy Spirit to be bound by sin. But how is it that so many born again christians are struggling with sin, or burdens?
    But the conference was formost a prasing of Jesus our Lord. Faith in Jesus is the Key, even if it is as small as a mustard seed, and hanging on to that faith, even if there seemingly is no progression, because deep inside us His character is slowly built. He encourages to learn scriptures by heart that say that we are free and are delivered, and in faith say these words, God brings to pass things that are not yet Romans 4:17, though even if we are still bound we say:” in Christ I am free His blood cleanses me”, and believe that we have it in faith,even if troubles remain. Hebrews 11:1. Doing this day by day, maybe even years untill a breakthrough has come.
    Finally after 18 years of struggle he was free. And now he says, all these years were not useless, he built faith, and perseverance, as Bratimus wrote, James 1:2-4, and in these tiresome years the base for his ministry was being laid.
    (The man is Graham Powell and lives near Vancouver Canada.)
    How good it is that a religious leader talks openly about his fight with sin, and how much of an encouragement he is for other christians.
    Nezzar I am talking in general, I thought this conference was appropriate to the topic, and wanted to share it with everybody reading here.

  59. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I guess with all your past trainig as a counselor,asking what “I thought” about my own statement, probably comes naturally for you. Although, I believe you personally do not relish a questions as part of an answer back to you.
    Here’s what I think… I do not see shining lights at Christmas time as work. I see it as an opportunity to display His Work in the light He gives to us to share with the world around us.
    I see there is a no works salvation also, but there is work to be done, and Luke 13:24 speaks volumes to that premise. So, that is the lightness of my load, the load I choose to bear for Him, rather than remain dark in a darkened world, I’ll display some light at Christmas instead.
    I was really speaking more to those who are preparing to have another dark Christmas! Hoping to inspire others to break that repetitive dark time they have expressed allowing themselves in the past.
    Yes, it will take much work for many, but I choose to hope for them to have a chance to shine again! Is that pride, or is it something else?
    My best friend who is not a Christ follwer, lost his son a few years ago, and has not been able to celebrate any holiday. Finally this year, they broke their darkness and decorated some for Halloween. If even a worldly man can do that,there certainly is hope for us Christ Follwer’s to shed some light as well! Gary

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