Who Is Jesus, “The first one to plead his cause seems right until his neighbor comes and examines him.” That wise man was Solomon and the saying comes from the book of Proverbs, a book respected as the Word of God by both Christians and Jews alike. As an evangelical Christian born and raised in the charismatic movement, I grew up hearing only one side of the Israeli/Palestinian story, primarily the Israeli side. I always assumed that God gave the land to Jews and if the Palestinians don’t like it, well, they can sit on a tack, because everyone knows that Palestinians are the devil. Sunday school songs aside, what’s happening in the Gaza strip is serious. That’s why we need a grown-up Christian response. Sadly, that’s exactly what’s lacking in this crucial hour.
So here goes.
I believe that Israel has the right to exist in safe and secure borders. I also believe that Israel has the right to defend itself. I understand the sentiment of President-elect Obama when he says that if rockets were being fired at his home while his two daughters were asleep, he would do everything he could to prevent it. I believe Hamas is a terrorist organization that espouses an ideology diabolically opposed to freedom and progress. I despise the fact that they persecute my brothers and sisters in Christ living under their thumb and, of course, firing rockets indiscriminately at civilians is never justified. Period.
So is Israel justified in their heavy- handed approach towards the citizens of Gaza? Judging by the fire breathing on both sides of the debate, I don’t see a consensus on this one coming any time soon. As for my fellow Christians, we can debate the subject until Jesus comes back and the debate will have largely missed the point. Sure Israel may-or may not-be justified in their aerial bombing campaign and subsequent invasion of the Gaza strip, but that question alone shouldn’t determine the proper Christian response. Why? Because Christians are called to live by a higher standard than what’s merely justifiable.