• May 17, 2018
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    How to Respond to the Situation in Gaza as Christians? By Yohanna Katanacho
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How to Respond to the Situation in Gaza as Christians?
By Yohanna Katanacho

 

The situation in Gaza is part of an intractable problem. As I listen to different voices, I feel the heated discussions and the confusion among many followers of Christ. It is indeed disturbing to see the death of over 60 people in Gaza and the injury of more than three thousand civilian citizens. In light of this sad reality which happened in the context of the opening of the American Embassy in Jerusalem, I call upon you to affirm and promote the following points.
 
1. Jesus loves both Palestinians and Jews as individuals and as nations. God’s revealed plan is to bless them, not to kill them. God calls all of his followers to love both Palestinians and Jews. His followers’ dream is their salvation and blessing, not their destruction.
 
2. Killing innocent people including children cannot be an acceptable explanation for what recently happened in Gaza. Such killing is sinful. It neither represents the heart of God for the people of Gaza nor the will of God for Israeli soldiers.
 
3. The right Christian response to the harsh realities of the people of Gaza is to show mercy and to seek all possible ways that can help them to live in dignity and righteousness. It also includes crying with them and comforting them in their distress. Judgementalism, sarcasm, or apathy is not a godly response.
 
4. The right Christian response to the irresponsible use of force by Israeli soldiers is condemning their excessive use of force and provoking them to respond wisely, which includes seeking repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
 
5. It is not the calling of the church to provide political solutions for Palestinians and Israelis or to side politically with one group against the other, but the church must be the conscience of politicians especially in a context where people are blinded by hate and injustices. The church must challenge all politicians who violate human rights and the international law, who promote hate, injustices, and bloodshed.
 
6. It is wise for the local church to listen to the global church before stating her support for particular decisions. Evangelical Christians need to consider the concerns of Palestinian Christians seriously.
 
7. The situation in Gaza is part of systemic sinful realities. The church must address these realities promoting love, equality, and justice for both Palestinians and Israeli Jews.
 
8. Within the sovereignty of God, both Palestinians and Jews share the same land. The only godly solution for millions of Palestinians and millions of Israeli Jews is to live together in the same land. They must live together in responsible ways that honor human rights and seek to bless neighbors rather than destroy them.
 
9. The church is called to be a peacemaker. We cannot be part of the problem; at the same time we are called to provide ethical guidance in the midst of political morass. The best path forward for Palestinians and Israeli Jews is reconciliation not dissension. The church needs to empower peacemaking not war-making.
 
10. Regardless of our eschatological convictions let us not marginalize the centrality of Christ and his love for both Palestinians and Jews. Let us not forget our responsibility to follow Christ among both nations. Our testimony as Christ followers must not be distorted by our political bias. Our loyalty to Christ and His Kingdom is above every other loyalty.
 
11. All Israelis and all Palestinians have equal rights in living in dignity. The dignity of both nations includes honoring them as individuals as well as nations. Dehumanizing individuals or nations in the name of political or theological explanations is contrary to God’s will.
 
12. Let us ask ourselves, how can we bless Palestinians and Israelis? How can we empower Jews to bless Palestinians and vice versa? This is our calling: to be agents and catalysts of blessing. Christ is the embodiment of God’s blessing. We promote Christ in everything.
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