Muslims, Christians, Jihad, Palestine, Peace, Death, Life, Forgiveness, Reconciliation
Since the last massive attack on Gaza by Israel in 2014, I have been very conflicted as an Israel-loving believer: I found that I was rationalizing a true massacre happening across the world from Canada, into an eschatological biblical frame that had been part of the Christian narrative for as long as I remember. Then I saw the images, I heard the cries, I stood in disbelief that I could have fragmented at this point.
I prayed that my eyes would be opened, and my heart to be softened toward the poor in this world, both those in our midst (look around) and those knocking on our doors (look abroad). I longed for the Spirit of Jesus to infuse me with His light and with His peace, so that I would not fear fear itself, but receive and give His peace, for He doesn’t give peace like the world does (through force, violence, bribe or compromise).
Compassion toward the Jewish people has never wavered in me. But something else had taken place with it, an uneasy blanket acceptance of any and all acts of violence committed toward the Palestinians for decades. Only recently have I started to understand the tragedy that was developing inside my heart and mind – I was seeing people as symbols, not as human beings. Tragically, that is something I had been priding myself of not doing, yet here I am…
So I started watching, listening, really trying to see things from the population’s perspective, rather than FOX, CNN, Al Jazeera, Hamas, Abou Mazen, etc. Certainly there has been much criticism toward Israel, but mainly in a right and wrong paradigm. However there is more to the situation than we could ever dream to partition correctly. I needed to plunge into the human experience, something impossible to do myself, but I could listen to others who had.