Contributed by Pastor Fraz Mirza
Does Peace Require War?
“A pastor’s thoughts on the conflict between Israel and Hamas.”
To answer the question honestly without any evasion, then the answer would have to be “sometimes.” There are times when conflict is unavoidable and perhaps even inevitable when it comes to conflict between nations. However “sometimes” does not mean “all the time.”
Recent events, such as the conflict between Israel, Hamas, and various formal and informal entities, have further complicated this question. In just a few weeks, the entire world has been compelled to take sides, adopt political stances, and forge allegiances, even if they had not previously given these issues much thought.
Even as some of you read this, you are waiting to see
- My stance on the matter
- Which side I support if any,
- What my political leanings are inferred from my responses.
We live in such polarizing times that one’s “camp” is more important than the conversation or the context. To be clear and to ensure there is no misunderstanding;
- terrorism is always wrong
- hurting the innocent is always wrong.
- weaponizing fear against the vulnerable is always wrong.
Regardless of how you feel politically, the Bible calls us all equally to a different set of values and a very, very, different worldview.
We recognize the true enemy is not
- humanity but godless ideologies
- not skin but sin
- not pain but a rejection of Jesus’ name.
As Christians, we embody a supernatural love that compels us to live differently than what we see. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem but recognize that this peace is not restricted to simply an ethnic group as some would want. I know it’s easy to hate but it’s stronger to love and that love can only be found in the love of Christ. It is His love that even enables us to endure hardship and persecution for the sake of the Gospel.
Some of us need to hear this today loudly and clearly. Hate burns fast and bright and it will ultimately break you. It is the path of the weak. A life filled with hate will lead to a life and death that is nothing but miserable, lonely, and forgettable. This hate stands in contrast to God’s love. Romans 5:8 (ESV) tells us that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Even though we were enemies, God saw us as people worth saving.
So what do we do today?
As Christians, we pray for the peace of Jerusalem and we also pray for the salvation of Jews and Muslims alike recognizing that true peace is the overflow of the presence of the Prince of Peace in our hearts. And as God moves we choose
- love over hate
- unity over division
- conversation over polarization
- and the hope of the Gospel over the ideologies of humanity.
And as we embrace the love of Christ, we become ambassadors for a God who longs to reconcile the world to Himself. So while peace sometimes requires war, we live with the sober awareness that our struggle and fight is not political but spiritual!