Editor’s note: Recently, WND managing editor and best-selling author David Kupelian was featured by the Washington Times in its “Wilberforce Weekend” special supplement sponsored by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview and dedicated to “energizing and equipping Christian leadership.” William Wilberforce was the British parliamentarian who successfully led the movement to abolish the slave trade in that country. Kupelian’s article is titled, “‘Resisting evil’ means rising above anger.”
In considering the Wilberforce Weekend themes of “promoting good, resisting evil and restoring brokenness,” one big thing comes to mind that’s essential to accomplishing all three: giving up anger.
There’s no need to itemize everything wrong with being mad, resentful, hostile, judgmental, impatient, irritated, fuming and brooding. It’s no coincidence the word “mad” can mean both angry and insane – since becoming very angry can amount to a sort of temporary insanity, wherein we think, speak and act very differently than when we’re calm and centered.
Our anger hurts our children, breaks up families, poisons relationships, undermines businesses and wrecks our health. Truly, a great deal of evil enters this world through the portal of angry minds.
But let me share a true story about someone who embraced the opposite of anger.
Meet Richard Wurmbrand. In case you don’t know his story, he’s the heroic Romanian evangelical pastor who spent 14 years in a Romanian prison, three of them in solitary confinement, suffering starvation and torture for the crime of boldly preaching the Christian Gospel in what was then a brutally repressive, communist nation.
In 1966, two years after his final release from captivity, Wurmbrand testified before the U.S. Senate’s Internal Security Subcommittee. He stripped to the waist to reveal 18 deep wounds covering his torso, the result of years of unspeakable abuse.
And yet, as Wurmbrand explains in his classic book, “Tortured for Christ,” he and his fellow Christian prisoners well understood that the communists, especially those who imprisoned and abused them, were themselves prisoners.
With striking compassion for his jailers and torturers, Wurmbrand writes: “The enormous amount of drunkenness in communist countries exposes the longing for a more meaningful life, which communism cannot give. The average Russian is a deep, big-hearted, generous person. Communism is shallow and superficial. He seeks the deep life and, finding it nowhere else, he seeks it in alcohol. He expresses in alcoholism his horror about the brutal and deceitful life he must live. For a few moments alcohol sets him free, as truth would set him free forever if he could know it.”
So genuine was Wurmbrand’s concern for the souls of his tormentors that, over the years of his incarceration, he converted many of them to the Christian faith, some of whom actually ended up in prison with him – and were glad for it!
Contemplate, if you can, Wurmbrand’s last act before leaving Romania after years of living 30 feet underground in a communist prison – no sunshine or fresh air, always hungry, treated brutally and sadistically day after day, year after year.
“In December 1965,” writes Wurmbrand, “my family and I were allowed to leave Romania”:
“My last deed before leaving was to go to the grave of the colonel who had given the order for my arrest and who had ordered my years of torture. I placed a flower on his grave. By doing this, I dedicated myself to bringing the joys of Christ that I have to the communists who are so empty spiritually.
“I hate the communist system, but I love the men. I hate the sin, but I love the sinner. I love the communists with all of my heart. Communists can kill Christians, but they cannot kill their love toward even those who killed them. I have not the slightest bitterness or resentment against the communists or my torturers.”
How is such an attitude possible? Explains Wurmbrand:
“I have seen Christians in communist prisons with 50 pounds of chains on their feet, tortured with red-hot iron pokers, in whose throats spoonfuls of salt had been forced, being kept afterward without water, starving, whipped, suffering from cold – and praying with fervor for the communists. This is humanly inexplicable! It is the love of Christ, which was poured out in our hearts.”
Finally, in words reminiscent of some of the early Christian martyrs of the first century, Richard Wurmbrand shares with the reader the presence of God he experienced in his prison cell:
“God is ‘the Truth.’ The Bible is the ‘truth about the Truth.’ Theology is the ‘truth about the truth about the Truth.’ Christian people live in these many truths about the Truth, and, because of them, have not ‘the Truth.’ Hungry, beaten, and drugged, we had forgotten theology and the Bible. We had forgotten the ‘truths about the Truth,’ therefore we lived in ‘the Truth.’
“It is written, ‘The Son of man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him’ (Matthew 24:44). We could not think anymore. In our darkest hours of torture, the Son of Man came to us, making the prison walls shine like diamonds and filling the cells with light. Somewhere, far away, were the torturers below us in the sphere of the body. But the spirit rejoiced in the Lord. We would not have given up this joy for that of kingly palaces.”
Richard Wurmbrand refused to hate, choosing instead to forgive and therefore to love his tormentors. In thus resisting evil, he promoted goodness and helped restore the lives and souls of many broken people.
SPECIAL OFFER: Get your copy of David Kupelian’s new book, “The Snapping of the American Mind: Healing a Nation Broken by a Lawless Government and Godless Culture” – autographed – at the WND Superstore! Also, get Kupelian’s culture-war best-seller, “The Marketing of Evil” and its acclaimed sequel, “How Evil Works,” both in paperback – all available, autographed, from WND! For the best deal of all, get all three at one super-low price!
Media wishing to interview David Kupelian, please contact [email protected].