I have been a part of many organizations: big departments, small departments, church groups, and sports teams. No matter what, there were always dissenters… sometimes it was even me.
For some reason, I never thought there were any dissenters within the Nazi regime. I have no idea why, since my experience with groups shows that is impossible. Valkyrie, the movie adaptation of a Nazi resistance movement, brought that to light. I was amazed to watch the movie and see Germans within the military driven by a strong moral compass trying to overthrow, even kill, Adolf Hitler. Claus von Stauffenberg, played by Tom Cruise, is the main character who is willing to lay his life, family, and fortune on the line to save lives and the reputation of all Germans. He and some powerful dissenters within the German military hatch a plan to assassinate Hitler and overthrow his government.
In fact, these men almost succeeded, but not quite. The failure cost them their lives and yet they freely gave them for the cause. I love movies like this! An evil regime taking advantage of helpless people and men of power and great privilege are willing to give it up so that others may be set free.
I will point out two of those men.
First is Stauffenberg, who was a Colonel in the German military and had very strong feelings about the Nazi regime, especially its treatment of Jews. Throughout the movie he has a single focus, to restore morality to an evil Germany he no longer understands or recognizes. That single focus is depicted well throughout the movie; whenever anyone has an opposing thought he always has an answer, whenever people doubt he keeps the faith. Even as he looks at his beautiful wife and children and the consequences of his actions, he knows he must act.
The second is General Friedrich Fromm, who isthe complete opposite of Stauffenberg. Where Stauffenberg is singularly focused, Fromm cannot for the life of him make up his mind. Where Stauffenberg openly opposes the Nazi regime, there are only rumors and hints that Fromm may want in on the resistance movement. One gets the impression that he is waiting to see which side will win before picking one. He even tries to save his own slimy skin by killing all of those within the resistance movement that are caught.
I am afraid the world is full of Fromms, and there are very few Stauffenbergs, when it comes to following Jesus Christ. The Fromms of the world are sitting on the fence trying to figure out who Jesus is, whether he is going to win and should be followed. If church pews/seats full of women are any indication, even, it is full of Fromms, men who cannot decide who to serve. It pains me to say that there are few Christian men, including myself, who are as singularly focused on Jesus as Stauffenberg was focused on overthrowing Hitler.
Maybe you would say, “Who cares? There is nothing going on as sinister as Hitler’s Germany.” That is where you are wrong. There is a regime, led by Satan, that is immensely more sinister and powerful than Hitler and his Gestapo. The Bible says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). I think if you take a good look around you will notice that the people around you, maybe even you, live lives that seem devoured, broken.
Jesus came to release prisoners and heal the broken-hearted. The amazing thing is that he allows us to serve him in that great calling. For some reason, though, there are very few who will commit their lives to him, in the service of others, as Stauffenberg and his company represented so well.
So the big question this movie bring up is, “Will you be a Fromm or a Stauffenberg?” I strive to choose the latter; I hope you will join me.