Evil has a face, and it looks normal.

If you could personify evil, you could not find a better poster boy than Adolf Eichmann. He coined the term “final solution” and the method that led to the Holocaust.

His plan took six million men, women, and children to gas ovens for extermination.

Eichmann was found and tried for his crimes. One writer came to see what kind of man this was. He expected sinister and twisted. Instead, he found him ordinary and unremarkable.

Eichmann never considered what he did evil, but only his duty to obey the leaders of his party. He refused to believe he engaged in evil.

We would ask, “what makes a person do that?” Perhaps we should pose it to the person staring at us in our mirrors.

Why do ordinary people find themselves caught in the trap of the devil? The Psalmist asked it. His answer is this:

“For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated.” (Psalm 36:2, ESV)

If we never examine ourselves critically, we accept our behavior without question. We “flatter ourselves” by saying, “we are good people caught in a cruel world.” Yet, the world is not outside of ourselves but inside.

For the architect of the Holocaust, “normal” does not come to mind. But is that not what we use to cleanse ourselves of responsibility?

-Robert G. Taylor-