I’m sure we are all glad that Ratko Mladic has joined his erstwhile leader Radovan Karadzic in being brought to justice for Serbian crimes. But Mladic only joins a line of vicious leaders that span the last century and since time began. I’ll leave you to name many of them—they are household words.
Unfortunately, Mladic’s capture only leaves the field open for other aspiring stars to fill the vacancy, Gaddafi in Libya and Assad of Syria currently vying for top honours. I assume that these men at some point will face justice for the evil they perpetrate.
Naturally, oppression and atrocities are committed for positive reasons, forced French in Quebec preserves the French culture, abortion preserves a woman’s right to her body, and like Hitler preserving the German race, Mladic was preserving the Serbs—and plenty call him a hero for doing so.
It’s too easy to place ourselves in the “them and us” category. We’re not perfect, but cannot be compared with “them.” And. of course, we still belong in the “us” category when it comes to interpersonal relationships. We are adept at perceiving the evil in others closer to home.
Unfortunately, Jesus saw the thought as the deed (Matthew 5:22–23). Our anger and hidden wish against the welfare of “them” is different only in degree from Mladic and the violent expression of his wishes; it is no different in substance.
That is why Jesus said: “The world . . . hates me because I testify that what it does is evil” (John 7:7). No wonder so many of us reject Him—we reject His judgment of them. It is only as we recognize our sinfulness that we hear His voice, become His friends, and love Him.