April 2, 2022. Ukraine was a place I knew little about until recently. In 2019 I heard about their democratically elected president, Volodymyr Zelensky, transitioning from comedian to politician. It was an amusing tale of a young man’s unlikely path from a television sitcom to leader of his nation.
I wondered if Mr. Zelensky was prepared for his new job, as I fondly recalled Pat Paulson. Pat was a regular on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and made a career of running for President. His deadpan persona and satirical comments on serious topics endeared him to many. When his farcical solutions to real problems were skeptically questioned, his patented reply was, “Picky, picky, picky.”
In further considering Mr. Zelensky’s potential, another career changer came to mind, a movie star turned governor then president. Ronald Reagan, a man of deep convictions and strong opinions, earned the respect of his fellow Americans and people around the globe, even those who disagreed vehemently with his politics. He proved that forcefulness pairs well with humor and respect, memorably showing a hint of a smile as he told Mr. Gorbachev to, “tear down this wall!”
Zelensky has turned out to be the personification of courage in dealing with a situation more horrendous than could have been imagined. He and his countrymen are valiantly defending their homeland, but the carnage is immense and growing. The horror reaches far beyond the soldiers and armed civilians who are being killed, mutilated, and displaced. The cries of the innocent are everywhere.
A heartless tyrant with more ambition than conscience is bombing hospitals, schools, food warehouses, apartment buildings, and places of refuge for defenseless people. His tactics are consistent with a character known to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10:10) But wait, there’s more. Satan must also be proud of how adeptly Putin employs deception. (John 8:42-47)
He said they weren’t planning an invasion. Then after the invasion he claimed to be protecting Russia and fighting neo-Nazis. President Zelensky’s parents are Jewish, an unlikely home to produce offspring with an affection for Nazis. Now Putin is indoctrinating Russians with propaganda and silencing those who would share the truth. The father of lies appears to have a son.
If Lucifer rates Putin on their other three commonalities, he scores exceptionally well. He’s doing a remarkable job of killing people and doing it with flair, spreading the murders all the way from the unborn to the aged. Bombing a maternity hospital is quite Hitleresque.
Putin’s inclination to steal was probably encouraged when he took Crimea away from Ukraine in 2014. He saw something he wanted, took it, then laughed at the sanctions that were barely a slap on the hand. When you steal and don’t face consequences, there’s little incentive to reform.
Destruction is also an area where Putin excels. He’s destroyed families, health, jobs, properties, and happiness. He’s destroyed a peaceful way of life and the hopes and dreams of multiple generations.
It surprised me to learn there’s some evidence he may consider himself a Christian. I hate to be skeptical, but sure would love to have a talk with his pastor. He addressed a crowded stadium in late March and quoted John 15:13 in saluting the Russian soldiers. “No greater love is this than a man would lay down his life for his friends.” When Putin quoted Jesus, it made me cringe. Someone else, however, probably put down his pitchfork and heartily applauded.
I have no expertise in matters of such gravity, and certainly no desire for World War III. But if it were put to a vote, I’d support giving Ukraine whatever they need to send the Russians home, retake Crimea, collect reimbursements for damages, and make house calls on the Russian butcher and his Kremlin cronies. Doing the right thing can be costly, but it eventually costs more not to.
We can keep adding sanctions and sending aid and see what’s left after the massacre is over, see whose flag stands watch over a ravaged country with a remnant of broken people. Or we can do everything within our power, even if it’s painful, to stop a madman on a hellish rampage.
My hope is that we choose to stop him. If we listen with our hearts, we can’t escape hearing the mournful wails of a suffering nation pleading for help. The cries of the innocent are everywhere.