How should Christians see Gaza

STREETLIFE - Nigel Paul Villarete - The Freeman

Christmas is fast approaching and the most significant news in the world for almost two months now involves the country where it happened 2,000 years ago. The world has not been so divided, as far as personal opinions are concerned, as it is now on the Israeli-Hamas conflict in Gaza. Ethnically speaking, it is generally seen as a conflict between the Arabic culture and the Hebrew-Yiddish group and to a lesser degree, religiously between Jews and Muslims. The latter is not invoked, though because it really is not --the disagreement is more ethno-cultural rather than religious.

As Christians, how should we look at the situation? The possibilities are as diverse as the reality, as I see a lot of friends who consider themselves Christians but who are on both sides of the conflict, some siding with Israel and others favoring Hamas, the terrorist group that started the war last October 7 by launching attacks that killed thousands of Israeli citizens. A cursory look at Facebook posts reveals some who side with Israel citing Christianity’s affiliation with Judaism, while others condemn Israel’s retaliatory acts on Gaza which resulted in Palestinian deaths.

Who is right and who is wrong? Or maybe it’s better to ask, who is in the right and who is in the wrong, as there might not be any absolutes in all of these. It all depends on through what frame of perspective you look at the situation. The increasing casualties of deaths as Israel tries to destroy most of Hamas’ military infrastructure is a sad commentary of the reality of war but some tend to forget what triggered that in the first place --Hamas’s launching of attacks that caused Israeli deaths, too. Some people insist Israel should stop to prevent more Palestinian deaths; Israel apparently will still continue until such time Hamas’ military infrastructure is destroyed so it will no longer threaten more Israeli deaths. Either opinion will result in more deaths now or in the future. So, what is right and what is wrong?

And how should Christians react? I believe this is a personal choice which should be based on one’s heart and belief in God. Sure, we can look at it philosophically and use the world’s standard in humanity, but even that can get diverse opinions. As Christians, we are supposed to believe in God and look to God for guidance in all matters of thinking and belief, and depend on his Word, the Bible, for directions. But even in that, we must have the right perspective, too, for in countless times, God did tell his people, Israel, to destroy its enemies, significantly mentioning Gaza, too. And Jesus told us to love all people. That includes Palestinians, too.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). We should trust in God’s plan and follow his leading. If ever there is something which is absolutely true, it is that God is in control…at all times. God has a plan for each one of us and for the whole world, including that of Israel and Gaza. Let’s just trust in him.

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