“I am convinced this is ….
“I am convinced this is one of those turning points in history where those who value human life and human rights must take a stand against those who don’t.”
– DMI Medical Volunteer Dr. Geoff Conner
God knows there has been human suffering throughout history. We clearly live in a broken world. Although there is plenty of brokenness close to home, I recently had a chance to witness it up close at a much greater level in war-torn Ukraine.
A mostly rural, farmbased country about the size of Texas with a GDP about half that of Mexico, Ukraine has very little compared to the U.S. or other Western countries. As a primary care physician I have had a long connection with the people of Ukraine going back over 15 years through multiple medical mission trips facilitated by the Christian ministry DMI. Originally, we worked medical clinics in the Donbas region being based in Donetsk. Our model was church-based, free clinics with pastors praying and ministering with patients as they waited for medical care. I can tell you firsthand, the people of Ukraine are generally poor and meek. In all the years and all the hundreds — if not thousands of patients I have treated or with whom I have had prayer — never have I seen anything but kindness and appreciation.
Ukraine is a country that has been occupied many times throughout history. Only in recent years with the Orange Revolution in 2004 have the Ukrainians begun to develop a sense of real national pride and out of that attempted to reform their government in hopes of a more prosperous Ukraine. But even before the Orange Revolution, beginning with the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine had been moving toward the West trying to develop its economy out of a desire to integrate into Western society as a society founded on recognizing the value of human life and human rights. In short, in spite of government corruption, the Ukrainian people have been trying to develop a freedom-based, Westernstyle country with a good deal of success. That success seems to be the real reason for their current predicament. Ukraine’s old political partner, Russia, is unhappy with the success Ukraine has had moving westward, and without provocation, has felt empowered to attack. Like an abusive ex-spouse, Russia wants its partner back before it can be completely married to the West, but Ukraine has already moved on from Russia and has no desire to return. It is true there are small, older segments of the population in eastern Ukraine that have not adjusted well to capitalism and want to return to what they knew in their youth. The vast majority of Ukrainians, however, now have a burning hatred for Russia, and that is understandable after seeing firsthand what Russia is doing to their country.
I have talked personally to people that have lost everything from random bombings and others that had their homes looted by Russians. I have heard from 72-year-old Kateryna and her son who had to strip for the Russian soldiers so they could look for Nazi-related tattoos. I saw firsthand the bombed maternity hospital and rehab house north of Kyiv. I saw the ruins of bombed apartment buildings in Bucha and Irpin. Never has it been clearer to me the difference in our Judeo-Christian-based society that values human life and a government that does not.
We may as a society be drifting away from realizing it, but we value human life and don’t treat each other like animals because at some level we know we are God’s special creation. Our souls have his image. Many other societies don’t recognize human life that way. We wrongly assume other governments care about human life as we do and that is why this attack is so shocking to us. It is also why we need to provide help.
The Bible is full of examples of God showing us how important it is to love our neighbor. It is clear from the well-known example of the good Samaritan, when we don’t help, we go against God. In other words, hurting others is sinful and likewise not helping others that are being hurt is sinful. Of course that is a big challenge. Where do you draw the line? Also how do we know who needs help? It can be overwhelming. However, it is my belief, if you let Him, God will direct you how best to help, and He will put those in need in front of you. That may be the reason you are reading this now.
When it came to going to Ukraine, fortunately I was in a position to be able to go there in person with a wonderful team and show our support, but there are many ways to help. Praying should always be a place to start. Letting our representatives in government know what is needed is another. Donations can be helpful. Being active on social media can help show support. The ministry DMI is Georgia-based and puts 100% of its donations directly into the hands of the Ukrainian people and churches that support Ukrainians regardless of faith. You can find them on line at WWW.disciplingministries. org I am convinced this is one of those turning points in history where those who value human life and human rights must take a stand against those who don’t. I believe the only reason Russia has not used more aggressive weapons to kill massive numbers of innocent Ukrainians is because it is not in their strategic best interest, and I believe that there is no moral interest in their calculations at all.
I know the final victory over evil is already won, but how much we love God is reflected by how much we love his special creation. Please consider providing some form of help for a nation trying to fight a battle against evil, and pray for the people of Russia that they may see this evil also and take a stand against it.