She had met her beloved at the studio where she worked in Munich, and had first been introduced to him as Herr Wolff. She remembered him as a “gentleman of a certain age with a funny mustache, a light-colored English overcoat and carrying a big felt hat.” He liked her eyes. He said they reminded him of his mother’s. She was only 17 when they met; he was 40. Was it love at first sight? Maybe, maybe not. There would be many different women for Herr Wolff in the years to come, but Eva’s devotion for the man with the funny mustache seemed to only grow.
In 1932, Eva was rushed to the hospital. She had pointed her father’s pistol at her own chest and had pulled the trigger. Adolf—for that was Herr Wolff’s real name—started to pay more attention to her after that, at least initially. Three years later, when he failed to make enough time for her in his life, Eva wound up in the hospital again. This time it was sleeping pills. Adolf made more time for her after that. He didn’t want a scandal. She couldn’t have been happier.
Adolf’s love for Eva did seem to be growing at last. Near the end, she was one of the select few who joined him in the fortified Führerbunker in 1945. They were married in a small ceremony right there in the bunker. Eva was elated. Their marriage would last less than forty hours, but they were together at the end. For Adolf, that meant a bullet to his right temple; for the bride, now Mrs. Eva Hitler, the end was a cyanide capsule.
Eva Braun was not a member of the Nazi party. There is no evidence that she supported the insane ideologies of her beloved. By all accounts, Eva was uninterested in politics and the war. The one exception was when she learned that the Führer intended to ban all women’s cosmetics and luxury items from Germany in 1943. She confronted him and he backed down. These items would no longer be manufactured, but there would not be an outright ban.
How does a young, pretty girl like Eva fall in love with a monster? How much did she turn a blind eye toward to maintain her adoration for a man like Adolf Hitler? It’s almost unthinkable to consider that anyone—except, perhaps, the most committed Aryan anti-Semite—could love that man. For somebody who didn’t necessarily share those ideals? Imagine the level of self-delusion required to maintain a love affair with someone so immoral, so godless, so destructive.
When I look at the state of the church in the United States of America, I see a lot of similarities to Eva Braun. I see countless American Christians who are so in love with their culture—a culture that is secular, godless, selfish, and embodies an ideology dramatically opposed to the message of the gospel—that they are willing to turn a blind eye to myriad sins to maintain this love affair. This is not about boycotting vulgar television shows or JC Penney spokespeople; this is about falling out of love with a godless culture and worldview that represents the goals of the enemy much more than the truths of Scripture.
This is a call for a divorce. Only by divorcing ourselves from the culture we grew up in and love so much will we be able to truly follow Christ with everything we are. If you want to know why the church is so ineffective in the United States, look no further than churchgoers who are so enamored with their culture that we put it before the things of God. John warns us that anyone who loves the world does not have God’s love in them (1 John 2:15) and that truth should concern us greatly.
There is a dramatic difference between loving the lost people of our world and loving the world itself. When we love the lost, we are living for Christ; when we love the world, we are living for us. There is an urgent need for us to follow Christ and Christ alone, not to follow the world and pay lip service to Christ. There is a need to return to the truths of Scripture, not to filter those truths through the lens of lukewarm American Christianity. There is a need to realize that this world is not our home and that our allegiance belongs to Christ and Christ alone.
If we look in the mirror and we see the face of Eva Braun peering back, we would do well to remember where her infatuation led: death, lying beside her dead husband, their world crumbling around them. If we do not break up with our world and start being faithful to our Bridegroom, will our fate be any different?
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